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Minnesota VA study questioning opioid effectiveness gains steam

REUTERS/George Frey

Addictive and no more effective. The Star Tribune’s Jeremy Olson reports: “An influential study on opioid painkillers by the Minneapolis VA has gained a national platform, where its findings regarding the effectiveness of these potentially addictive drugs versus alternatives are likely to shape federal and state policy on use of prescription drugs. … The study’s headline finding remains the same as when Dr. Erin Krebs presented it last spring at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center: Setting aside their potential side effects and problems, opioid painkillers are no more effective at the long-term treatment of chronic pain in the back, hip or knee than safer alternatives.

Discrimination suit against Guthrie. MPR reports: “A former employee of the Guthrie has filed discrimination charges against the Minneapolis theater company. … Molly Diers worked in the Guthrie’s scene shop for 13 years. She and another carpenter quit in January. … Both said that the department created a hostile work environment and that Guthrie management wasn’t doing enough to fix the situation.”

Discrimination suit against UMD. MPR’s Dan Kraker reports: “Shannon Miller was one of the most successful women’s hockey coaches in the history of college athletics. … She was the first women’s hockey coach at the University of Minnesota Duluth, and in 16 years, won five national championships, and reached 300 wins faster than any other coach in Division I women’s hockey history. … Despite that success, UMD told Miller at the end of 2014 that the university would not renew her contract, a move that garnered national attention at the time amid a wider debate over gender equity issues in college sports, especially among women’s coaches. … In a federal lawsuit that goes to trial this week, Miller claims the working environment at UMD was sexist, and says she received hate mail, but that UMD did nothing in response to her complaints.

Sounds really bad. The Star Tribune’s Chris Serres reports: “The state agency responsible for protecting vulnerable Minnesotans in senior care facilities has failed to meet its responsibilities and suffers from a ‘dysfunctional office culture,’ the Legislative Auditor has found. … In a scathing report issued early Tuesday, the Office of the Minnesota Legislative Auditor said it found deep and chronic failures in the way the state Health Department’s Office of Health Facility Complaints (OHFC) investigates allegations of abuse and communicates with the public. … The audit found that OHFC lacks an effective case management system, which has contributed to lost files and poor decisions regarding the allocation of resources; does a poor job managing data; and does not inform vulnerable adults or their relatives whether providers have reported suspected maltreatment, among other findings.”

In other news…

Don’t tell the shareholders:UnitedHealthcare to pass drug rebates on to some customers” [MPR]

Big move:Minneapolis’ Market Bar-B-Que moving from Loring Park due to redevelopment” [City Pages]

They like us:Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport named Best Airport in North America for second consecutive year” [Star Tribune]

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