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Hospital District News, Community News, Health Care News, & Board Meeting Minutes

Hospital District News

 Director of the MN Office of Rural Health and Primary Care is Guest at the October, 2022 Board Meeting

Zora Radosvich, Director the the MN Department of Health's Office of Rural Health can Primary Care will be the guest at the Hospital District Board meeting on October 25th at 6:45 at the Askov Community Center. She will be overviewing the programs that they have which address the challenges of providing quality rural health care and learning more about the work of the North Pine Area Hospital District. 

This is open to the public and all are welcome to attend.

Minnesotans Struggling to Afford Insulin - Register for Discounted Medication [from Mn Insulin Safety Net Program] 

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The mother of a Minneapolis man who died because he could not afford his Type 1 diabetes medication is asking Minnesotans with an urgent need for insulin to seek assistance through a state program that she helped champion.

In a new video called the “Alec Smith Story,” Nicole Smith-Holt urges anyone struggling to afford their insulin to sign up for the Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program. Her son Alec died in 2017 at the age of 26 from ketoacidosis after rationing his insulin to make it last longer.

“I encourage anyone who has diabetes and struggling to afford the medication to keep advocating for yourself,’” Smith-Holt said. “I don’t want someone in an emergency like Alec was to be turned away at the pharmacy or start rationing their insulin. You have options.”

In 2020, the Minnesota Legislature passed the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act, which Gov. Tim Walz signed into law. The Insulin Safety Net Program is made up of two parts: 1) The urgent need program for eligible Minnesotans to receive a once-per-year 30-day supply of insulin immediately at their pharmacy for no more than a $35 copay; and 2) The continuing need program for eligible Minnesotans to receive up to a year supply of insulin for no more than $50 per 90-day refill.

Since the program began, hundreds of Minnesotans have signed up to receive discounts on their insulin. The registration process is simple and straightforward and MNsure-certified navigators are available to help with the application process for the continuing need program.

In the video, Smith-Holt details her son’s medical history and his struggles with affording medication after he aged out of her insurance coverage. When Alec was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes her family did not have a “true grasp of just how expensive insulin is,” she said. At the time of his death, the bill for Alec’s one-month supply of insulin was around $1,300.

“My hope is that anyone who can take advantage of this program does,” said Smith-Holt. “Even though we lost Alec, it feels good for our family to know that because of his death, thousands of other people will live a long, happy, healthy life.”

The video was produced by MNsure, the state’s health insurance marketplace, as part of its efforts to create public awareness about the program and to encourage eligible Minnesotans to register. Information on eligibility requirements and the application process, commonly asked questions and finding a MNsure-certified navigator is available at

The Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program is implemented by MNsure and the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy.

MNsure is Minnesota's health insurance marketplace where individuals and families can shop, compare and choose health insurance coverage that meets their needs. MNsure is the only place you can apply for financial help to lower the cost of your monthly insurance premium and out-of-pocket costs. Most Minnesotans who enroll through MNsure qualify for financial help.

The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy is the state agency that regulates the practice of pharmacy and the manufacture and distribution of prescription drugs. It exists to promote, preserve, and protect the public health, safety, and welfare by fostering the safe distribution of pharmaceuticals and the provision of quality pharmaceutical care to the citizens of Minnesota.

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Ambulance Service of Essentia Health - Sandstone

Guest speaker to the Hospital District Board meeting, Joe Newton from Essentia Health, reported on the changes and status of their ambulance service. They currently have six locations: Sandstone, Hinckley/Pine City, Moose Lake, Fosston, Detroit Lakes and Deer River. 

The Hospital District contributed $350,000 toward the construction of the new ambulance and administrative facility, which is located on the Hospital District’s Pine Healthcare Campus.

Essentia is working to increase their ability to work with stroke patients and increasing care for sepsis, while in the ambulance. On average they respond to 300 calls per month. Additionally, all deputies carry a supply of Narcan for 0pioid overdoses, which are increasing in Pine County and the entire state.

Eastern Pine County ambulance service had 115 calls in 2020. For this area, a Sandstone or Hinckley ambulance would respond, which requires an average 20 - 25-minute drive time. A helicopter will automatically be dispatched if it is a major trauma, car accident, shooting, etc.

Community News

Meeting Minutes

North Pine Area Hospital
Board Meeting Minutes

Click on any of the following months below to find the full text of the meeting minutes. If you are interested in previous years meeting minutes, please contact Kris Sundberg by clicking on the link below.

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