Grant from The Toy Foundation helps comfort kids in HCMC’s Emergency Department


Since last year, children being seen at HCMC’s Emergency Department in the heart of downtown Minneapolis have been enjoying new toys thanks to a grant from The Toy Foundation, a charitable organization that works with the toy industry to support play programs for children. HCMC was chosen as one of the recipients of a grants totaling more than $215,000 that were distributed to children’s hospitals for innovative play projects designed to help hospitalized children heal.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the health and well-being of millions of children resulting in a rise in emergency room visits and hospitalizations for mental, emotional, and behavioral health conditions. To help children’s hospitals, especially those serving disadvantaged communities, address this crisis through the therapeutic power of play, The Toy Foundation and Children’s Hospital Association partnered to create “Grants for Play Projects.”

“It’s unbelievable how distraction elements can make a difference in the lives of children coming to the emergency department for care,” explains Child Life Program Coordinator Alyson Weiss.  “We are so grateful for this generous gift that just keeps on giving.”

Hennepin Healthcare is a nationally recognized system of care that includes HCMC, a Level I Adult Trauma Center and Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center with the largest emergency department in Minnesota, where 5,000 to 8,000 children are cared for every year. This donation also impacts the additional children of adult patients or siblings of pediatric patients who find themselves in HCMC’s waiting rooms or exam rooms.

The toys purchased with the $25,00 grant from The Toy Foundation helped to make the environment in the pediatric area of the emergency department more friendly and welcoming. Wall game units, bubble tubes, and toys and elements to keep a toy cart sorted by age stocked were some of the items purchased with the grant.

“Whether kids are coming in with a broken arm or are feeling crummy, these toys help them think about something else while they are being assessed and treated,” said Weiss. “Over the past year, we’ve also seen more kids having mental health issues along with whatever else they are struggling with, so these toys can create conversation pieces and make a connection and a difference for patients, providers, and families.”

HCMC is a Level I Pediatric Trauma Center and public teaching hospital located in downtown Minneapolis offering a full spectrum of inpatient and outpatient pediatric care.

Hennepin Healthcare Awarded Top Quality Honor by America’s Essential Hospitals

Lynn 1America’s Essential Hospitals, which represents more than 300 hospitals that care for low-income and other marginalized people, awarded Hennepin Healthcare the 2021 Gage Award for Quality Improvement for work to reduce readmission rates for those experiencing homelessness. This population is often unable to prioritize medical care due to competing priorities of daily survival and frequently has higher rates of emergency department and inpatient utilization. Studies report those experiencing homelessness are four times more likely to be hospitalized and at greater risk for readmissions and prolonged hospital stays. The association presented the award June 24 at its virtual annual conference.

Hennepin Healthcare’s efforts to reduce readmission rates was based on an analysis showing that housing instability was a major contributing factor to 30-day readmissions, affecting 75 percent of patient charts reviewed. Hennepin Healthcare partnered with Hennepin Health, a county-based accountable care organization (ACO), to proactively identify and respond to social determinants of health to reduce readmissions in the ACO population experiencing homelessness. As a result of this work, readmissions went down by 3.7 percent for the global ACO population over a 1 year period, and 12.4% for the target population that connected to services. Continue reading “Hennepin Healthcare Awarded Top Quality Honor by America’s Essential Hospitals”