As we have experienced this past week, healthcare continues to be at the center of the national political debate. I have told our New Ulm Medical Center team regardless of whether health reform is led by the public or private sector it will happen and is underway across the industry. While most of the public focus is on the insurance coverage expansion, considerable changes are happening within hospitals and clinics as we all strive to improve the value delivered by our healthcare system.
Change in Services
At New Ulm Medical Center we opened our new Birth Center this past summer and our team will welcome about 340 new babies this year. We continue evaluating ways to enhance our services for mom, baby and family and have signed a new pediatrics physician who will join our team in September 2014.
In August, Dr. Natalia Kramarevsky started providing medical and surgical eye care at NUMC and we will have a grand opening for this new service when the clinic opens in January. In addition there will be a new Allina Health pharmacy within the clinic to improve access and integration through an enhanced physician and pharmacist relationship and the use of our electronic health record.
A pillar of national health reform was the creation of federal and state healthcare insurance exchanges. Minnesota is one of 16 states to operate its own exchange called MNsure. While Allina Health does not have its own health insurance plan, we have been actively preparing for this new era of purchasing health insurance. Local insurance brokers will be key to helping consumers purchase insurance and in the future New Ulm Medical Center will also have staff available to assist people with questions and enrollment. We believe health coverage is critical to achieving better health because it minimizes barriers to accessing preventive and routine care that if neglected can lead to poor health and higher costs long term. Allina Health has also partnered with Blue Cross to design a health plan product called BluePrint that emphasizes health improvement and was designed with input from our doctors and patients. BluePrint will offer people enhanced access to physicians, better coverage for chronic illness care, care management and wellness support all with the hope to lower costs and improve health.
Across our communities, we continue to witness health improvement. I have heard countless stories of people getting physically active, improving nutrition, and losing considerable weight. The Heart of New Ulm has been the catalyst for many, but increasingly other organizations and individuals are the ones now driving the culture change across the community. I expect efforts will continue to promote a healthy lifestyle and I'd encourage you to sign up for the Lose It to Win It on the Heart of New Ulm website. In the future we will try to enhance partnerships to create an environment and community that supports healthy lifestyles in an innovative way. This is exciting nationally recognized work that is health reform at its best. If successful, collectively we will enjoy an enhanced quality and length of life and create a community where people and businesses thrive.
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