Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Health makeover for New Ulm

This story by Josephine Marcotty in the Minneapolis Star Tribune tells of a great experiment in the town of New Ulm, MN. I love the lead:

The citizens of New Ulm, Minn., like to joke about their three major food groups -- beer, brats and butter with a little cheese thrown in for good measure.

The idea is to see if the whole community can focus on good diet, exercise, and other healthy living and make a difference in their rate of heart disease. Don Berwick from IHI is quoted:

"It's working on the things that cause illness upstream rather than waiting for something to go wrong and fixing it later."

The leadership for this is coming from Allina Hospitals and Clinics, which provide health care to more than 90 percent of New Ulm's 15,000 citizens. When this kind of effort is discussed in other areas, it often does not happen because insurance companies see so much churn in their membership that they fear they will not reap the financial benefits.

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