Medica sues Department of Human Services over public health plans

Medica headquarters in Minnetonka

They want a better contract. In the Strib, Christopher Snowbeck says, “Minnetonka-based Medica said it has filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Human Services that alleges competing health plans were offered better deals by the state to serve as HMOs in public health insurance programs. Late last year, Medica said it could not continue as a managed care organization for most in the public programs due to low payment rates … In February, the Department of Human Services (DHS) announced it had found substitute HMOs for those with benefits currently managed by Medica who must switch to a new plan this spring. In the lawsuit, Medica argues that DHS did not comply with state procurement laws when hiring these other vendors … .”

Not many details at this point. From Mara H. Gottfried at the Pioneer Press: “A St. Paul police officer shot someone early Wednesday morning in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood, according to the police department. Information about the person’s condition was not immediately available. Police said the officer was not injured. Police said the shooting occurred in the area of East Seventh and Sinnen streets.”

Says Esme Murphy for WCCO-TV, “Minnesota’s tourism economy is expected to be hit by the ‘Trump Slump.’ That’s what some are calling international visitors afraid to come to the U.S. because of the president’s immigration policies. Tourism experts are predicting 4 million fewer foreign visitors to the U.S. this year with a loss of more than $7 billion dollars. In 2015, the Mall of America alone reported more than 2 million separate international visits. Those visitors spend far more than those from the U.S. — Explore Minnesota says foreign tourists spend an average of $2,000 per trip, while U.S. tourists average $300 dollars per trip.” 

As in work for free for the NFL? Rochelle Olson of the Strib tells us, “Minnesotans who aren’t Hall of Fame quarterbacks can still make a play to get in the action for the 2018 Super Bowl. The Minnesota Host Committee needs 10,000 volunteers to run the event and the process starts Wednesday with online applications. Super Bowl volunteers don’t have the marquee power of a world famous halftime show or glitzy party, but they are the backbone of the event projected to draw 125,000 out-of-towners and bring in more than $400 million to the metro economy.” Do they at least get a selfie with the Commissioner?

Yet another guy who’s seen too many bad movies. FOX 9 says, “A high-speed chase on Interstate 94 started in Minnesota in response to a felony retail theft report, then entered Wisconsin, where the driver and passenger jumped out of the moving car after stop sticks were deployed. Just before 8 p.m. Monday, the Dunn County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the Wisconsin State Patrol of a chase on I-94 that had started in Minnesota and crossed over into Wisconsin, with the suspect vehicle exiting in Menomonie, at which point the pursuit was discontinued. The vehicle was later seen operating without headlights and ran a stop sign at a high rate of speed in front of a deputy. The deputy started a second chase that ended when stop sticks were deployed on Highway 25 south of 850th Avenue in the town of Wheeler. The stop sticks deflated both drivers’ side tires, but while the car was still moving, the driver and passenger jumped out of the vehicle and fled on foot.”

What’s the difference between this guy and your average internet minister?  Says Jean Hopfensperger in the Strib, “In the universe of New Age healers, Mas Sajady is one of Minnesota’s stars, pledging to ‘Change your frequency, change your life.’ In the world of government regulation, Sajady also has emerged as an unlikely lead player — as one of the first such healers facing investigation by the Minnesota Department of Health. Unconventional healing practices, from energy readers to faith healers, typically operate below the state’s radar screen unless a complaint is made. In this case, a former client is claiming Sajady’s supernatural healings are tantamount to practicing medicine, and he should follow state regulations for alternative health care.”

Ok, maybe last night was it. Maybe. At MPR, Paul Huttner says, “Our weather pattern evolves into a more typical early spring pattern over the next 48 hours. I concur with the Twin Cities NWS that this could be the last sub-zero night of the season for most if not all Minnesota locations. … Our overall weather pattern looks blissfully quiet the next week or so. Highs in the 50s look likely Sunday and Monday. The longer term trend is up, with 60 possible again by late month.”

It’s not quite on a par with coughing up his taxes, but it’s something. Don Davis at the Forum News Service reports, “U.S. Sen. Al Franken is asking President Donald Trump to take action to fight bird flu before it reaches Minnesota and other states. Franken, D-Minn., wrote a letter to Trump Tuesday, March 14, after reports that avian influenza has hit poultry producers in Wisconsin and Tennessee. He told Trump that a 2015 bird flu outbreak cost the Minnesota economy nearly $650 million. Turkey and chicken producers experienced deaths of about 9 million birds.”

Today in Second Amendment rights. Brian Bakst at MPR says, “A bill to give off-duty police officers power to carry guns in places where other people can’t awaits final action by the Minnesota Legislature. The proposal, which cleared a Senate committee Tuesday, allows off-duty cops to take firearms into certain venues after going through regular security screening and presenting a valid law enforcement ID. Police unions are pushing the idea, but the bill has raised some alarm, including from the Minnesota Vikings.” What if we just arm everybody in the end zones?

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