Stella Whitney-West

Recent Articles

National, local controversy greets opening of new state health exchange

Critics say Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox ad campaign misfires with communities of color
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

MNsure, the state’s health insurance exchange program, debuted the signup process on October 1. Officials during an October 4 conference call with reporters, including the MSR, estimated that 5,000 accounts were opened during the first week. “We think it’s been going very well,” remarked MNsure Executive Director April Todd-Malmlov. She added that many people did “anonymous shopping” but did not disclose specific numbers. “Minnesota is unique,” said Todd-Malmlov. Continue Reading →

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New approach to health care uses holistic model

 
Focus on wellness and prevention is the healthcare wave of the future 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

NorthPoint Health and Wellness, Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health, Hennepin County Medical Center and Metropolitan Health Plan are partners in Hennepin Health, a local accountable care organization (ACO) pilot program that began last January. ACOs are alternate healthcare models, where groups of partners such as hospitals, clinics and physicians voluntary join together to serve a specific population. Its ultimate goal is to improve health care and reduce costs. The Hennepin Health model serves low-income single adults ages 21-64 without dependents living with them, with incomes at or below 75 percent of poverty. It started with 4,884 enrollees: Nearly 70 percent are people of color, and 60 percent either have some level of chemical dependency, mental health needs, chronic pain or unstable housing. Continue Reading →

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Medicaid expansion: more insured at state-budget savings

ACA advocates predict uninsured Blacks will drop from 20 to eight percent
 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The Greater United Way held a “community conversation” December 4 at the Wilder Foundation in St. Paul on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how it can help low-income uninsured Minnesotans. Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson and NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center CEO Stella Whitney-West, HealthPartners Government and Community Relations Vice President Donna Zimmerman and Jonathan Watson, Minnesota Association of Community Health Programs associate director spoke to an audience mainly composed of local health professionals. One-half of NorthPoint’s clientele are on Medicaid, the federal health program for low-income individuals and families. Thirty-seven percent are uninsured and 80 percent are from communities of color, Whitney-West pointed out. Continue Reading →

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Constitutional challenge repelled, healthcare reform continues

Proponents grapple with ‘mountains of misinformation’ 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) earlier this year released new data indicating that nearly four million Blacks will gain health insurance coverage by 2016 because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which last month the U.S. Supreme Court ruled constitutional. The Supreme Court challenge did not interrupt the government’s ongoing action to put the provisions of the ACA into practice. “We at the department have never [stopped] implementing the law,” explained Health and Human Services (HHS) Intergovernmental and External Affairs Director Anton Gunn in a phone interview with MSR. Since 2010, the HHS has implemented such provisions as uninsured Americans with pre-existing health conditions gaining access to coverage, prohibitions against children being denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions, the elimination of lifetime limits and coverage of preventive health services. “But now [after the decision] we know that the American people have greater security and greater protection knowing that the Affordable Care Act is making health care more accessible and better quality for them,” said Gunn. Minneapolis barber Bernard Walters depends on MinnesotaCare, a publicly subsidized program for state residents who do not have access to other affordable healthcare coverage, because “that is the cheapest.” He has had a couple of major surgeries and gets annual check-ups. Continue Reading →

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Chasing the tornado money

Fitz3.50

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

and 

Jerry Freeman

Senior Editor

 

Almost immediately after the tornado struck North Minneapolis in May 2011, the Minneapolis Foundation established its Minnesota Helps Fund and raised $1,756,060 to assist Northside residents. Many other groups and organizations furthered the cause with food drives and fundraising events. On July 14, MSR began a series of stories called “Chasing the Tornado Money” with the following subhead: “Community individuals, local corporations and foundations have contributed well over a million dollars in donations, grants and matching funds to assist North Minneapolis residents affected by the May 22 tornado. Responding to questions from readers about where all these dollars are going, the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder decided to provide a community service by reporting, in the interest of transparency, on just where the funds have gone and how they have been used.”

One year and several “Chasing the Tornado Money” stories later, the MSR interviews three individuals representing three major contributors to the recovery effort — the foundation, the participating community organizations, and the Northside Community Response Team — on how they now view the work completed and the relief provided to storm victims through funds totaling more than $2 million.  

The Foundation

“Our fundraising efforts were really concentrated on the first year [of the recovery],” reports Minneapolis Foundation Grantmaking and Special Projects Director Jo-Anne Stately. Continue Reading →

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