March 28, 2014:
We had a great meeting yesterday at the St Cloud Library that included several new Central Minnesota Circle of Health participants from St Bens/SJU, the St Cloud VAH, clinics, pharmacies and some community members including Chuck and Janine Provinzino. We are moving along towards achieving non-profit status of our own as a 501(c)3. Currently, we use Minnesota Medical Foundation as our fiscal agent, but this costs us 5% of all our expenses as a fee for this service.
We discussed several of the sub-issues that Medication Safety entails and we are getting closer to consensus as to which ones to focus our campaign on. The issue of opioid prescribing problems was discussed at length. Our April 22, 2014 Kick-off/Spring Forum will concentrate on this issue. The pharmacists, nurses and physicians are very interested in this timely topic, but we feel that our April 22 event should also highlight special public health concerns of this issue that should be of interest to all members or our health community as we bring this problem into the light of public discussion and presentations. Old drug disposal, both prescribed and over-the-counter will be another main issue for us. We will ask a subcommittee to focus on the complex application and planning required to put on events where the public can drop off and properly dispose of their old, not-needed meds. St Cloud State will host one of these old med drop-off events on April 24 and we will join in support of this event and maybe learn about how to do it efficiently and effectively. We also discussed accidental ingestion of meds by children necessitating ER visits and admissions. This will also be an important sub-issue for us. We also discussed antibiotic overuse and improper use, environmental issues of disposal, and promoting the universal use of drug/allergy lists by patients and medical service sites. Our campaign could develop handy med list cards with or without our logo so issuers could print their own logo on them for distribution to their patients. “Know Your Meds” would be a great poster to create for our campaign. We will see if the colleges’ graphics students might be interested in this and other poster/info sheet ideas for development.
We talked quite a bit about the organization, structure, operations and character of the Circle of Health as a community health council. Our vision is that we meet regularly in public to showcase presentations on the sub-issues, have discussion, then draft more community members on the fly to enhance the effectiveness and reach of our campaign messages. We could include testimonials of patients, healthcare workers and others to bring our messages closer to home. We will develop posters, information sheets and other campaign materials that we could distribute at health fairs, public presentations and at clinical care sites that include clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, and other points of care. Participants could engage as deeply as they care to, focus on sub-issues or tasks of their choice and have fun while doing it without any major commitment of time or schedule.
I hope to expand the Circle of Health to involve all of our local school nurses, home care nurses and health workers, emergency room clinicians and leadership, other hospital workers, clinic workers and other public health workers on the front lines. But, our real challenge will be figuring out how best to engage our non-medical community activists to participate. Our next meeting will be Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 11:45 AM at the St Cloud Public Library, Mississippi Room. Please save the date, plan to attend ready to share your ideas and bring a colleague who might want to participate. Our special thanks to Stuart Goldschen of Pen ‘n Pixels for photo documentation of our meetings.