Hennepin County Ends Agreement with North Memorial for Patients Needing Financial Help
The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners has ended a $48 million deal with North Memorial Health to help cover the costs of patients on government programs.
“We cannot be a blank check for private entities,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Kevin Anderson. He represents Hennepin County District 7, which includes the communities of Maple Grove, Rogers, Champlin, and parts of Plymouth. “I really hope that we can find a way forward to formalize some kind of agreement between our organizations so that we can provide responsible care and be responsible with taxpayer monies.”
The board gave the Hennepin County administration authority to negotiate the agreement back in May.
In it, Hennepin County agreed to provide North Memorial with funding to support the treatment of patients on Medicare and Medicaid, as well as residents utilizing county services such as food or housing support.
According to county documents, North Memorial aimed to provide “coordinating care between the county and North Memorial to obtain better outcomes for county residents, increase efficiencies, reduce hospital bed stays and reduce disparities.”
North Memorial Health Hospital, located at 3300 Oakdale Ave. N. in Robbinsdale, has one of the two Level I trauma centers in Hennepin County.
As an organization, about 20,000 visits to North Memorial a year involve Medicare patients.
Board Terminates Agreement
The agreement was scheduled to run from May 2023 until Dec. 31, 2024.
However, in a 4-1 vote on Jan. 2, the county board terminated the agreement early.
Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Lunde cast the lone vote against terminating the agreement. He’s a former mayor of Brooklyn Park and represents much of the northwestern suburbs.
“The people who are suffering in my district, who don’t go down to Hennepin Healthcare or [Hennepin County Medical Center] for care are still suffering,” Lunde said. “And I believe that when the money is removed for the agreement that North Memorial will do what businesses do — they have to right-size their operations. It’ll be the people who can least afford it who will pay the price. And I believe they tend to not have a voice, and so I’m going to give them that voice today. I believe strongly that the county needs to support people no matter where they are in the county.”