The Minnesota Department of Health has announced that people with possible flu symptoms can call the Minnesota FluLine (MN FluLine) at 1-866-259-4655 for information and treatment options. Professionals will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People with limited English skills will be connected with an interpreter. There is no charge for the call.
Callers with flu symptoms will be connected with a participating nurse at MN FluLine, 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.
FluLine was developed in response to the first global influenza pandemic in over 40 years. Officials are concerned that the pandemic could overwhelm the health care system, and they believe that FluLine can reduce some of the demands on the system.
FluLine is also expected to help decrease the spread of the flu. By providing assistance over the phone, the new service is expected to limit the number of potentially infectious people who gather in emergency rooms, urgent care centers and clinics.
“We have been concerned that this flu season could place a huge burden on our health care system,” said Dr. Sanne Magnan, Minnesota Commissioner of Health. “By providing support and treatment options to people over the phone, we hope this new service will allow our health care providers and facilities to focus on those people who most need their attention.”
MN FluLine is the first influenza triage line in the country providing statewide reach and the option of prescribing anti-virals drugs under standing orders from a physician. It is a unique public-private partnership involving the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Minnesota Hospital Association, the Minnesota Council of Health Plans, health care providers, local health departments, and the Children’s Physician Network (CPN). CPN is responsible for the actual operation of FluLine. The service was developed with input and advice from a number of other partners, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).