HCMC is an Air Aware Employer

air-aware-badge-300-134Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) is the first healthcare organization to participate in the Air Aware Employer program, a project between the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). As an Air Aware Employer, HCMC will send out Air Quality Index alerts through our company communications system to let employees know when the air quality in the region has dropped to harmful levels.  During an Air Alert, HCMC will encourage team members to take simple steps to protect personal health and wellness and reduce the number and duration of bad air days.

Poor air quality negatively impacts all residents and businesses in the region.  According to a new report published by the MDH and the MPCA, in 2008 air pollution contributed to 2000 deaths,  400 hospitalizations and 600 emergency room visits in the Twin Cities. Unhealthy air also negatively impacts area employers with higher absenteeism, reduced work productivity and more extensive and expensive regulations.

Simple choices, such as taking transit, carpooling or bicycling to work not only offer cost savings and health benefits – they can also make a difference in our region’s air quality.  That’s why HCMC offers commuter benefits to its employees like Metropass transit pass subsidy, payroll deduction for transit passes, bicycle storage, showers and lockers, and ZAP Twin Cities. To learn more about regional commuter programs and services, visit moveminneapolis.org.

Cold weather increases risk for carbon monoxide poisoning

Poison HelpWith home-heating season near, the Minnesota Poison Control System and the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division remind Minnesotans that the risk of dangerous exposures to carbon monoxide (CO) increases — but these exposures can be prevented.

Approximately 500 people die each year in the United States due to unintentional CO poisoning. Another 150,000 people end up in the emergency room. Children are especially vulnerable. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 14 Minnesotans died of carbon monoxide poisoning in 2014.

Sources of Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas which can leak from faulty furnaces, water heaters or gas stoves. Other sources include a running car engine in an attached garage or a gas-powered generator operating indoors or outside close to dwellings. Outdoor generators should be placed more than 20 feet from your home, doors and windows.

What are the Symptoms?
Carbon monoxide prevents effective delivery of oxygen throughout the body in the bloodstream. At lower levels, carbon monoxide can cause flu-like symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue

At higher levels, or with prolonged exposure, it can cause chest pain, confusion, disorientation, impaired vision and coordination, brain damage, coma and death.

iStock_000070642173_LargeHow Can You Protect Your Family?
Install CO detectors in your home. Minnesota law requires  all single family, apartment and multifamily dwellings have a UL-listed CO alarm within 10 feet of each bedroom.

Replace old CO detectors in your home. As a general rule, CO detectors need replacing every five years.  Follow manufacturer recommendations for more specific replacement information.

If the CO alarm sounds and anyone is feeling symptoms of CO poisoning, leave the house immediately. Call the Poison Center, fire department, local emergency medical services or local utility company.

For more information about CO poisoning, contact the Minnesota Poison Control System anytime at 1-800-222-1222 or visit us on the web at www.mnpoison.org. The State Fire Marshal Division has more information at http://ow.ly/Tb2O3

 Fire Marshal

 

Positive Care Center gets top scores in MN Survey

The Positive Care Center at Hennepin County Medical Center was recently 104787781recognized for providing an exceptional patient experience in the 2015 Patient Experience of Care Survey.

Conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health and MN Community Measurement, the survey evaluated 765 primary care and specialty clinics using feedback from 200,500 patients. The Positive Care Center was one of the top 15 clinics for two out of four patient experience measures.

Dr. Nicholas Vogenthaler
Dr. Nicholas Vogenthaler

Dr. Nick Vogenthaler, the clinic’s medical director, was recently quoted in a Star Tribune article about the survey.

“A smile goes a long way,” he said. Read the entire article at http://www.startribune.com/ratings-reveal-minnesota-clinics-with-best-communication-access/323035851/

The Positive Care Center is staffed by a multi-disciplinary team committed to providing quality, comprehensive health and psychosocial services to those living with HIV. The program provides education, serves as a community and family resource, and contributes extensively to the advancement of HIV-related knowledge.

Positive Care Center Staff
Positive Care Center Staff