Senator Greg Clausen: Addressing our health care needs

Due to Minnesota’s current workforce shortages, medical reimbursement rates are negatively impacting the home care industry and its clients. I’ve introduced a bipartisan bill to establish a pilot project for telemonitoring services for licensed home health care providers. This legislation would allow health care professionals to remotely monitor health data by using monitoring devices in clients’ homes that transmit data electrically. The health care professionals can use the data to make assessments concerning the patients’ health care needs.

To participate in the pilot project, a person must be eligible for Medical Assistance and not have other insurance. They must also be diagnosed and receiving services for hypertension, cancer, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, or diabetes. The person would have to agree to be monitored at least five times per week to manage their health condition.

With the rising costs of health care and a shortage of health care professionals, legislators must look at creative ways to rein in costs while continuing to provide quality care to Minnesotans. I’m hopeful this pilot project will save money by allowing patients to be monitored remotely rather than making numerous home care visits or trips to the doctor or emergency room. Our two doctors in the Senate, one a Republican and one a Democrat, have signed on to the legislation.

In response to the increase in children’s mental health issues and the lack of people to help serve their needs, I’ve also introduced legislation to include a mental health training program for University of Minnesota Pediatric students.

Anxiety and depression are the most common diagnoses for children, followed by disruptive behaviors and mood regulation problems, which can be symptoms of ADHD. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in 10 children and youth ages 3-17 have received an ADHD diagnosis; approximately 7 percent of youth 3-17 have a diagnosed behavior problem; 7 percent of youth 3-17 have an anxiety diagnosis; and 3 percent of youth 3-17 have a depression diagnosis. Treatment rates vary by the type of problem. Between the ages 3-17, nearly eight in 10 children with depression received treatment; six in 10 children with anxiety received treatment; and more than five in 10 children with behavior disorders received treatment.

My bill establishing a training program for the pediatric doctor’s residency would give all pediatric doctors better training in order to recognize and treat youth mental health issues. The program would provide education on conducting comprehensive clinical mental health assessments for youth, place pediatric residents in multidisciplinary mental health teams, and provide psychiatric consultation to pediatric residents in their primary care community clinic rotation.

Please reach out to me with your comments and suggestions on this issue and any others that I may be able to help you with. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-4120 or by email at sen.greg.clausen@senate.mn. You can also mail letters or pay me a visit in the Minnesota Senate Building, Room 2233, right across the street from the Capitol.

Senator Greg Clausen
Greg Clausen lives in Apple Valley and represents District 57 in the southern Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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