Innovators Share, Keeping Value Fair, End-of-life Care; Capitol News…

April 26, 2016

The Weekly Buzz: Minnesota Releases a Treasure Trove of Health Care Data    

A treasure trove of information on health conditions, medical services, and costs in Minnesota is now available to researchers, providers and insurers. The Minnesota Department of Health is publishing the first batch of data from its Minnesota All Payer Claims Database this week, and lawmakers hope researchers will mine the information to learn more about variations in health care services and patient outcomes. Click here for the full story.

“More transparency is essential in health care,” says Carolyn Pare, president and CEO of The Action Group. “We appreciate the availability of this data to help inform how our members, which include some of Minnesota’s largest employers, make purchasing decisions.”

NBCH Extends Early Bird Special: High-value Health Care… 

You have until April 29 to get your discounted registration for the National Business Coalition on Health’s Annual Conference: High Value Health: Making the Dream a Reality. Minnesota Health Action Group employer members are welcome to register without a fee (an $850 value!). Join NBCH in celebrating more than 20 years of leadership in empowering employers and their stakeholders to achieve better health, well-being and value in their companies, communities and our country. For further information please click here.

Action Group Leadership Summit Unites Minnesota Employers

Our impressive group of speakers at Friday’s Minnesota Health Action Group 9th Annual Employer Leadership Summit focused on game-changing health care ideas that have become reality, and innovations that hold tremendous promise:

If you would like to view all of the Summit materials, please visit our website. Do you have an idea for next year’s Summit? Please contact us!

From the Capitol

State CapitolThe final leg of the legislative session began this week, as the House and Senate work to finalize their supplemental budget proposals. By the end of this week, it is expected that all of the various appropriation areas will be combined into a comprehensive package that will then need to be negotiated by the two bodies.

The House and Senate health and human service bills look drastically different both in terms of policy scope and financial reach. The House proposal largely focuses on the replacement of MNsure with the federal exchange while spending no new money, and the Senate aims to expand eligibility for public programs like MinnesotaCare and reconfigure MNsure funding by placing a new premium tax of 1.5% on all individual health plans sold market-wide. The Senate bill also spends approximately $122 million in new money.

Pharmacy cost issues play a role in each bill. The House proposes to establish an interactive public website with cost information for the most commonly prescribed drugs in the state. The Senate included changes to the state’s prior authorization laws for prescription drugs and other services. This proposal originally comes from the Minnesota Medical Association, via Senate File 934. Due to the new expenses this would add to the system, The Action Group has opposed this approach in the past.

The Legislature must adjourn by May 23, and a great deal of work remains to uncover compromises. Stay tuned!

Thought for the Week

“Uncertainty creates so much unnecessary stress. Sharing final health care wishes between loved ones is a very intimate and important conversation. When you can say, ‘I love you, and I am grateful that I now know how to take great care of you,’ it’s a very powerful thing.”

Bud Hammes, Ph.D., Director of Medical Humanities and Respecting Choices for Gunderson Health System