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Reinventing care for poor means relying less on ER

Minneapolis Star Tribune, March 15, 2010

There are two daunting tasks facing Minnesota hospitals now that Gov. Tim Pawlenty and legislators have struck a deal to continue state-funded healthcare for the state's poorest and sickest residents, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: First, create a new system to provide comprehensive medical care for 32,000 adults, many of them homeless and chronically ill, add social work and psychological counseling, do it on a budget slashed from $219 million to $91 million—and roll it out in 12 weeks. Second, convince skeptical users of General Assistance Medical Care that the best care starts in a low-cost medical clinic, not an expensive hospital emergency room.