The Governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty recently reported on the progress that was made in healthcare reform in the state’s 2008 legislative session. In addition, the state has established a high speed Broadband Task Force to identify the areas in the state that lack the infrastructure to support broadband services. The task force will develop a comprehensive plan to achieve statewide broadband goals.
Some of the health reform measures and accomplishments as a result of the 2008 legislative session include:
- Minnesota consumers are able to access information on web sites concerning healthcare prices and quality information
- The state is going to be require all healthcare providers to use e-prescribing
- Patient-centered health care homes will be developed to provide comprehensive primary care. Medical homes will help patients coordinate care, especially for chronic diseases
- Work is progressing towards healthcare payment reform based on financial incentives and more market competition among healthcare providers and health plans is encouraged
- The uninsured in the state who are eligible for a pre-tax medical account and purchase insurance in the private market will be eligible for a new 20% insurance premium tax credit
- There is an additional $500,000 to meet current County Veterans Service Office grant requests to improve benefits, and programs
- There is $720,000 a year allotted to continue the operation of LinkVet, the toll free customer service line to provide veterans with information referrals on handling an immediate crisis situation and how to find psychological counseling 24/7.
- LinkVet case workers will now be available to coordinate benefits and the needs of veterans, military members, and their families
- Courts must not inquire about a defendant’s military status and history at sentencing. If a defendant convicted of a crime is a veteran and has been diagnosed with a mental illness, the court may consider local treatment options