Friday, August 3, 2007

Regional Care - A Love Letter to Minneapolis

A Love Letter to Minneapolis

August 2, 2007

Dear Minneapolis:

When the 35W bridge fell, my heart sank. We raised our two sons near there. I practiced near there. My hospital was near there. I frequented the Minneapolis Club near there. I saw Twins games near there. I could see the IDS tower and the University of Minnesota campus from there. The 35W bridge connected Minneapolis and St. Paul, the two beating urban hearts of Minnesota.

The bridge lies at the very heart of Minnesota health care. Two great teaching centers, the Hennepin County Medical Center and the University of Minnesota Medical School and Hospitals are nearby. Routine open-heart surgery, enabled by Lillihei’s bypass machine, started at the U. The U’s medical school and hospital administrator school have produced many national health leaders. It is not by chance that Minnesota has been the nation’s healthiest state for many years, or that it has the nation’s lowest rate of uninsured. You have a gift for organizing to do the right thing.

You’re a great city with a big heart, and you’re the heart of a great state. You’ve learned how to mix and match health care special interests, business and politics for the greater good. You’ve mastered the art of building large and effective health care organizations. Your leading businesses contribute 5% of their profits to the arts. You’re a city with a heart – a heart temporarily severed.

Don’t worry. You’ll be OK, Minneapolis. The physical infrastructure linking your great centers of education and commerce may be down for a time, but your bridge to the future, your social infrastructure, remains intact. You’ll be fine, and those of us who lived and thrived there will always love you for what you are.


Richard L. Reece, MD

Old Saybrook, Connecticut

Minneapolis resident from 1965 to 1990

Editor, Minnesota Medicine, 1975-1990

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