Taking Action Express: Rx Prior Authorization; Summit Early Bird Special Ends This Week…

March 17, 2015

248The Weekly Buzz: Taking Action at the Capitol: Prior Authorization

Prior authorization is one of the most effective tools in managing appropriate use of complex and expensive prescription drugs. A bill has been introduced that would have a dramatic effect on how prescription drugs are dispensed in the state (see “From the Capitol,” below). Pharmacy benefit managers, health plans, and purchasers are very concerned that without a proven screening process for drug utilization in place, costs for employers and the state will rapidly escalate.

In response, Action Group President and CEO, Carolyn Pare, sent letters to lawmakers describing the looming specialty pharmacy crisis facing purchasers and the merits of prior authorization, asking our government officials to intercede on behalf of all Minnesota employers. See Carolyn’s letter here; see the full legislative proposal here.

PSAW2015_for-websiteAs National Hospital Ratings Systems Proliferate, Confusion Grows

The title of the lead patient engagement story in the March 2015 issue of Health Affairs is troubling: “National Hospital Ratings Systems Share Few Common Scores and May Generate Confusion Instead of Clarity.”  This new guest blog by Marie Dotseth of MAPS explores the findings, and offers a call to action for Minnesota’s health care leaders. “We need to make sense of the incomprehensible so consumers actually stand a chance of using this information to make informed decisions,” Marie says.

wellness-01Providing Clarity on Employee Wellness Programs

Lawmakers have proposed a bill that would allow wellness programs to offer financial incentives linked to participation, include spouses, and give employees up to 180 days to request and complete an alternative wellness plan. The Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act was filed to answer issues that have led to legal action against companies on the grounds their wellness plans violated the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Learn more here. Or read this blog on the topic by Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) President and CEO, Jerry Noyce.


2015summiticon-01It’s Spring! Time to Register for the 8th Annual Employer Leadership Summit: Renew, Refresh, Reinvigorate

We hope you will join us for a full day of inspiring presentations and conversations on April 17, 2015. We will feature national and international health care and benefits thought leaders, the Innovator’s Showcase, employer roundtable, interactive polling, networking opportunities, sponsored booths, and lively discussions. Click here to see the agenda.

Would you like to participate as a Summit sponsor? Sponsorship gives you the opportunity to share your messages with key decision-makers from around the region. Click here to learn more.

Early Bird Special Ends This Week!

Minnesota Health Action Group Members: $99
($199 after March 20)

Non-members: $199
($299 after March 20)

Hotel rooms: $184 (non-refundable rates are available online for $159)
($209 after March 20)


187Member Meeting for 2015 Employer Benefits Survey Participants: March 27

We are very pleased to report that 41 organizations participated in this year’s Employer Benefits Survey, up from 31 in 2014. Action Group members who took the survey will receive the full results packet at a March 27 meeting. Non-members who completed the survey receive an expanded executive summary of the results in early April.

March 27, 2015
7:30 a.m.-10 a.m.

Hilton Airport/MOA Hotel
3800 American Boulevard E.
Bloomington, MN

Please RSVP to Sue Jesseman, or 952-896-5186

Annual Conference 2015 page rHRComplimentary Registration for Action Group Members: NBCH 20th Annual Conference

This year’s NBCH Annual Conference, Achieving Health Care Value: No Purchaser is an Island, will be held in Dallas, TX, November 16-18, 2015. Action Group employer members are welcome to register without a fee, which is normally $850 for non-members and $500 for members. Click here to learn more and to register.

Minnesota_State_Capitol_5From the Capitol

Two items of note as the first deadline week moves ahead at the Capitol:

First, the legislation is making drastic changes to prior authorization procedures (House File 1060/Senate File 934), was passed by the Senate Health & Human Services policy committee last week. This week, it will be considered by the Senate Commerce committee. So far the bill has not been heard in the House, and would have to pass all the relevant policy committees by March 27, 2015, to remain viable this legislative session.

Second, legislation related to the development and use of the All Payer Claims Database (Senate File 1818) is scheduled to be heard on the Senate side as well this week. While the state Department of Health has been somewhat apprehensive to push too many pieces of legislation related to this issue area, hearing SF1818 will allow for a more public discussion on the issues. Specific language for SF1818 can be found here.

We will keep you posted about any new developments on these issues as the legislative session continues.

Thought for the Week

“Employers and public purchasers are extremely concerned about the unpredictable and expanding use of specialty drugs. Prior authorization is one of very few management tools available to increase the clinical safety and value of these very expensive and complex drugs.”

Carolyn Pare
President and CEO, Minnesota Health Action Group