Brandon Stahl and Glenn Howatt of the Strib file a report on what is at the very least a screening problem among Minnesota nurses: “As many as 107 nurses in Minnesota will be barred from providing direct care to patients after the state Department of Human Services (DHS) learned that they had criminal records that disqualified them from that privilege. The agency acted after the Star Tribune presented it with the names of 294 actively licensed nurses who have convictions, ranging from criminal sexual conduct to assault to fraud, that by law would appear to disqualify them from working with patients. The agency agreed to review the cases, and found that about a third had not been disqualified. DHS Inspector General Jerry Kerber said due to gaps in its background check system, the agency was unaware of the nurses’ criminal histories.”
That rare time when a hunter is glad to see a conservation officer coming toward him … The AP reports: “Three duck hunters in central Minnesota have been rescued after a conservation officer spotted them struggling in freezing water. Conservation Officer Rick Reller was checking waterfowl hunters this week on Swartout Lake in Wright County. He says he saw three duck hunters getting ready to leave the small island where they were hunting. He decided to wait for them to check their hunting licenses. After wondering what was taking so long he used his binoculars to look out on the lake. He saw their boat was swamped and they were in the water. None was wearing a life jacket. Reller and a lakeshore owner rushed out on a boat and brought them to shore.”
The marketplace seems to be gravitating toward public plans. The Strib’s Kevin Diaz says: “Amid a rocky national rollout for President Obama’s health care law, enrollments in publicly subsidized plans in Minnesota have significantly outpaced private insurance purchases so far on the state’s new insurance exchange. The early trend, which has been mirrored nationally, is feeding a debate about the viability of health care reforms that depend on a major influx of new and healthy customers to keep premiums in check. But state officials and industry analysts say it is little surprise that, in the early going at least, those eligible for free or subsidized public programs would outnumber premium-paying customers shopping on the private insurance market.”
Meanwhile, a facet of the larger controversy that hasn’t set off the outrage sirens nearly as much … Dave Wahlberg of the Wisconsin State Journal reports: “Health care advocates are asking Gov. Scott Walker to explain what he will do with 77,000 adults being shifted off Medicaid at the end of the year if those people are not able to get coverage by then on the new health insurance exchange. Walker said in February that adults on Medicaid, or BadgerCare, who make more than the poverty level will have to switch to insurance on the federal exchange Jan. 1. In late September, the state notified 77,000 people, most of them parents, that they might be affected. But letters letting people know for sure won’t be sent until Nov. 23, when the state expects to be ready to use new federal criteria to determine eligibility.” Just send them all to the Emergency Room.
Nutritionists are thrilled, but … Mike Hughlett of the Strib writes: “Completely banishing trans fats will be a challenge for Minnesota’s food companies, but like much of the industry they’ve made significant progress over the past decade. General Mills, Hormel and other firms hit the labs hard as science groups and regulators — notably the Food and Drug Administration — have made clear their disdain for trans fats. The companies have made considerable progress. A General Mills spokeswoman said more than 90 percent of the Golden Valley company’s retail products are now labeled as zero grams trans fat.”
At MPR, Mark Zdechlik checks out the first-class status of GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden’s campaign: “If being the Republican candidate nominee for U.S. Senate next year has anything to do with the size of a candidate’s bank account and campaign headquarters, businessman Mike McFadden would have it wrapped up. McFadden joined the race to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken in May. He has already raised almost $1.5 million and his campaign headquarters in Eagan sprawl over 6,000 square feet of upper-end office space. … On the other side of the Twin Cities in Chaska is the much smaller campaign office of Ortman, who has turned to an experienced party insider. Her campaign manager Andy Parrish was U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s chief of staff in Washington and helped orchestrate Bachmann’s presidential campaign.” Does he actually put that on his resume?
Now this is what I call “bad pub” … . Alex Friedrich at MPR reports: “My editor, a St. Olaf College alumnus, is going to kill me for this. The Daily Beast has ranked the school #15 on its list of colleges with the worst return on investment — in other words, what you earn after graduation relative to what you’ve spent on a degree. Here are the stats presented:
6-Year Grad Rate: 84.9%
Average Net Price: $26,276
Average Starting Salary: $39,200
Average Midcareer Salary: $77,500.”
Clearly a case of too many philosophy majors.
I have to wonder how this plays in France? Richard Chin of the PiPress says: “A St. Paul woman has received a 25-day sentence and a $150 fine for running over a Macalester College exchange student from France while the woman was in a crosswalk at Grand and Hamline avenues in St. Paul. Cleo Thiberge, 19, had arrived in the United States the day before the Aug. 29, 2012, accident. She died three days later from injuries suffered after she was pinned face-down beneath a tire of the SUV driven by Danielle Jeanne Keller, 28. Keller was charged with careless driving, a misdemeanor, and on Oct. 28 she was convicted after entering an Alford plea in which she did not admit guilt but agreed that there was enough evidence to convict her.”
Also in the PiPress, Mia Kuompilova has a story on the recurring discussion of “mainstreaming” special-needs kids.:“[T]he changes in St. Paul — Minnesota’s largest special-education program — appear unprecedented. District leaders say the learning centers had become increasingly isolated within their host schools: classrooms where predominantly black youngsters fell behind academically. Reversing a trend of segregating students with special needs is a ‘moral imperative,’, said Special Education Director Elizabeth Keenan. … The St. Paul teachers union and advocacy groups for children with special needs have fielded calls from some educators and families struggling with the changes. Organizations such as the PACER Center and the Minnesota chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness say they are troubled by what they see as a one-size-fits-all approach to thrusting students into the mainstream.”