Minnesota Health Care Companies Poised to Benefit From Economic Stimulus Plan Submitted by: SlickRockWeb Inc.
Minneapolis, MN (OPENPRESS) April 13, 2009 -- Minnesota has long been a leader in the world of heath care. From the Mayo Clinic to the University of Minnesota's medical school to Medtronic, innovative technologies, philosophies, and minds have been a hallmark of the land of ten thousand lakes for decades. So while much of the country remains up in arms about wall street bailouts and golden parachutes, Minnesotans should revel in the fact that the less often mentioned portions of President Obama's stimulus package, the money allocated for health care, will be creating jobs in their neighborhoods and continuing a statewide tradition of excellent health care for its residents. As recently as 2006, Minnesota was ranked the healthiest state in the nation by the non-profit United Health Foundation and has been in the top five for the past decade.
To maintain this tradition it should be no surprise that Minnesota has a rich history of innovative thinking in the area of health care and health care technologies. Take for example, the Mayo Clinic's groundbreaking "group practice" model established in the early 1900s at a clinic in Rochester Minnesota. The founding minds, Drs William Mayo and Charles Mayo, had the nerve to pay all their doctors a fixed rate regardless of patient volume with the intent of boosting the amount of time a doctor could spend with his or her patients. In a 1910 commencement address to graduates of Rush Medical College Dr. William Mayo said, "The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered." Leading health care analysts from around the country agree that this model is the most capable of delivering high-quality, cost-effective care.
Minnesota based medical institutions and companies like the Mayo Clinic and Medtronic have not received any bailout funds and won't be needing any. After all, Medtronic got its start building pace-makers in a garage. It's a safe bet that they have an idea on how to operate during tough economic times. Medtronic isn't alone in this capacity; companies within the state of Minnesota have made it a national leader in manufactured medical devices since 1949. A 2008 study found that Minnesota had 455 firms combined in the electromedical apparatus manufacturing and medical equipment and supplies manufacturing industries. These companies, including Medtronic, and combined with the Mayo Clinic employ over 60,000 Minnesotans. Employment growth in the medical devices sector between the years 2001 - 2007 has averaged +4.1% annually in Minnesota, easily outpacing the annual job growth rate for all private sector jobs in the Unitied States at +0.5% over this same period.
In contrast to the wall street bailouts, the economic stimulus plan will be investing billions of dollars into Medicaid and into the creation of more efficient health care plans for millions of Americans. For Minnesotans, that means continued top tier medical care and improved access to the life saving devices courtesy of Medtronic and an acceleration of hospitals and medical clinics moving into the paperless digital era. It also means saving more lives, lowering the costs of health care and ensuring the economic lifeblood of Minnesota based health care companies stays strong.
Minnesota companies that will perhaps benefit the most from Obama's plan are the ones you may not have heard of, companies like LSS Data Systems.
Nineteen billion dollars have been set aside for the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act which was incorporated into the broader economic stimulus plan. In a nutshell, the plan accelerates the implementation of converting patients' records into digital form so doctors and hospitals can access them instantly. Information like a patient's demographics, medical history, medicine and allergy lists and laboratory test results would be stored and encrypted in digital form. It also aims to improve the information technology infrastructure within the healthcare industry. The proponents of the system point to the speed at which emergency care could be given, the amount of needless mistakes avoided, and the money and resources saved in eliminating paper filing, duplication, and administrative expenses. The nay-sayers claim an electronic system would mean an increased security risk and present hospitals and clinics with increased costs for implementation and continual upgrades.
But no matter what anyone says, LSS Data Systems - a Minnesota based company - has been quietly providing healthcare information technologies and Electronic Health Records (EHR) to hospitals and doctors for twenty-five years. In fact LSS Data systems is one of only a few medical software companies in the Midwest to achieve the coveted CCHIT certification on its EHR technology. The certified EHR software produced by LSS targets physician practices and clinics and its flagship product offers a fully integrated medical and practice management software solution which allows physician practices and hospitals to seamlessly and securely share clinical, demographic, and financial data. It is almost hard to believe that life saving EHR technology has been around since the 1980s, yet only 1 in 7 hospitals makes use of it today.
But while 1 in 7 is a number the rest of the country should get up in arms about, it is a number that may produce a windfall for Minnesotans and Minnesota companies. For every one hospital or clinic that already uses EHR, the other six are now being incentivized to get into the game. And with this many hospitals and clinics soon to be looking for businesses like LSS Data Systems, it appears Minnesotans have claim to a job market that might truly be recession proof.
So while the rest of the country continues to editorialize wall street and their golden parachutes, Minnesotans can sit back and watch a portion of the stimulus package perform exactly the way it was meant to by: stimulating business, producing new innovations, and improving health care for all Americans. After all, it's doubtful a group of selfless, non-commissioned doctors from a small town in southeastern Minnesota are going to make headlines giving themselves billion dollar bonuses any time soon. They wouldn't want to jeopardize achievements like being ranked the healthiest state in the nation.
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