Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

DNR advises checking status of campgrounds and boat ramps

Sun, 05/05/2013 - 10:42am

Before venturing out to campgrounds, trails and public water accesses, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) advises people to check online or call ahead to avoid surprises.

“Winter weather is always a challenge to public water access,” said Nancy Stewart, DNR public access program coordinator. “Because of the late ice out this year, DNR crews have been unable to inspect and repair launch ramps or put the docks in at the DNR-operated public water access sites. We will get them ready as soon as possible, but we are at the mercy of Mother Nature right now.”

Meanwhile, at Minnesota state parks the cold weather has kept water shut off and RV dump stations closed at many campgrounds.

“Winter conditions persist at Gooseberry Falls State Park and many other parks around the Northland,” said Park Manager Audrey Butts. “We’ve had some folks arrive with camping reservations without knowing in advance what to expect – which has been unplowed roads and a foot of snow in their site.”

Cook County Senior Center hosts presentation on assisted living

Sat, 05/04/2013 - 9:42am

Spectrum Health, the parent company of the Carefree assisted living facility in Silver Bay, is exploring the possibility of building a new facility here in Grand Marais. Spectrum and Carefree representatives will be holding an informational meeting at the Cook County Senior Center at 12:45 p.m., Tuesday, May 7. This will be an open meeting and everyone interested, is welcomed and encouraged to attend.
The Cook County Senior Center took a tour of the Carefree Living facility in Silver Bay and found that it is very new and comfortable with many different living and level of care options. Some of the options are: single rooms, double rooms for couples, memory care and short-term care. Short-term care is great for people who for some reason may be unable to stay home alone for short periods. They can stay at the Carefree facility for around $100 per day, which includes meals. Other services available for residents include: dressing, bathing, medication, laundry, and transferring assistance.
If you would care to join the Senior Center for lunch at the Senior Center prior to the meeting, please call in your reservation by 9:30 a.m. that day.
Spectrum Health, the parent company of the Carefree assisted living facility in Silver Bay, is exploring the possibility of building a new facility here in Grand Marais. Spectrum and Carefree representatives will be holding an informational meeting at the Cook County Senior Center at 12:45 p.m., Tuesday, May 7. This will be an open meeting and everyone interested, is welcomed and encouraged to attend.

Weekend News Roundup for May 4

Sat, 05/04/2013 - 9:17am

Each weekend WTIP news produces a round up of the news stories they’ve been following this week. The stalemate between Blue Cross and North Shore Hospital is working its way to a resolution. Great Lakes shipping is being affected by lack of dredging. No surprise, fishing is big business and worker minimum wage levels are on track to increase.…all in this week’s news.

Program: 

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Hospital-Blue Cross stalemate moves toward resolve

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 5:28am

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota has altered its plans to change its payment methodology.  Lori Nelson, Blue Cross Vice President, contacted Cook County North Shore Hospital administrator Kimber Wraalstad yesterday. Wraalstad told WTIP the adjustments will apply to all rural critical access hospitals.

Blue Cross had originally scheduled major payment changes to smaller hospitals on May 1. Implementation of the new system has now been moved to January 1. Individual hospitals have negotiated contracts with Blue Cross for how they are reimbursed and at what rates. The insurer had proposed major changes to those contracts.

Wraalstad said Blue Cross will assist hospitals in obtaining the 3M Grouper software and pay for ½ of the software costs for one year. The softwear provides a coding mechanism hospitals use to bill Blue Cross for reimbursements. The Minnesota Hospital Association maintained the May 1 change over was too soon to accommodate adopting the complex coding system.

In addition, Wraalstad said “Blue Cross will develop some type of process or ‘safety net’ for critical access hospitals with insufficient operating margins to cover the cost of Blue Cross commercial members.”
She added at this time, neither Blue Cross nor the hospital will be proceeding with termination as an Institutional Service Provider. Wraalstad had received a service termination letter from Blue Cross late last week.

On Monday, the Department of Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger and Attorney General Lori Swanson, met individually with Blue Cross executives to discuss the issue.

Wraalstad said, “We are appreciative that Michael Guyette, Blue Cross CEO, and his Executive Management team are willing to participate in negotiations so that the community members and visitors to Cook County will continue to have access to services at Cook County North Shore Hospital and Care Center.”

Hospital and Blue Cross in reimbursement stand-off

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 3:47am

Blue Cross is proposing changes in how they pay small hospitals and how much. It could result in a 12.2 percent cut to Cook County North Shore Hospital. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with hospital administrator Kimber Wraalstad about the impact on them and their patients.

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Move It in May starts today

Wed, 05/01/2013 - 11:32am
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Ready to move it with your neighbors all the way down to New Orleans?  WTIP volunteer Tracy Benson spoke with Kristin Wharton and Hartley Newell-Acero on Wednesday’s AM Community Calendar.  

More information at sawtoothmountainclinic.org/events

(Click on A.M. Calendar link below to hear interview)

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