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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dean Urdahl (R)

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FLU HOTLINE IS A HIT

Thursday, October 22, 2009
Neighbor- Early reports indicate Minnesota's new flu hotline is a huge hit. The phone service was launched Wednesday and switchboard traffic has been heavy. That’s good news since the idea is to reduce the amount of traffic in clinics and hospitals. This is the first influenza triage line in the country providing statewide reach and the option of prescribing antiviral drugs under standing orders from a physician. Here’s an overview of the system, which is through the Minnesota Dept. of Health: Minnesotans with flu symptoms can call the MN FluLine toll-free at 1-866-259-4655 for information and treatment options. Professionals are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Interpreters are available for those with limited English skills. Callers with flu symptoms will be connected with a participating nurse, or a nurse at a triage line operated by their own provider network or health plan. The nurses will evaluate the health concerns of callers and discuss treatment options, using consistent criteria to determine which treatment option is most appropriate for each individual. Possible treatment options can include rest and fluids at home, a prescription for an antiviral medication, or medical evaluation in a clinic or hospital. More information about the flu is at www.mdhflu.com. The Web site offers a wide range of information and resources, including an interactive flu shot clinic finder. Wishing you good health, Dean
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