LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER for Jan. 20 Meeting; Patient Involvement Changes Lives; KARE11 Seeks Interviewees; Health Care Financing Task Force News…

January 19, 2016

Last Chance to Register: January 20 Member Meeting for Members and Prospective Members

187Happy New Year! The holidays are behind us and it’s time to build on our successes and plan new initiatives for 2016. Beginning with a hot breakfast, this first member meeting of 2016 will focus on the accomplishments and key findings of 2015, and set forth our plans for advancing toward 2016 goals. We encourage you to bring a friend or colleague who might be contemplating membership to this “open” meeting.

Special Opportunity:

Members who bring a friend or colleague will be eligible for a gift card drawing!


January 20, 2016
8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. (Networking begins at 7:45)


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


Please RSVP to Sue Jesseman, or 952-896-5186
We hope to see you on January 20!

Choosing Wisely™ Patient Action Stories Making a Difference

CR-Logo-healthy-choices)Action Group Communications Director, Jean Hanvik, was one of the first patients interviewed and featured in the Choosing Wisely Patients’ Stories platform.

Last week, the Washington Post published an article titled “Should You Worry About the Radiation from CT Scans?” featuring Jean’s story. It was also picked up by other media outlets such as and followed up on Monday by a letter to the editor from Daniel Wolfson of the ABIM Foundation.

“Personal stories are so important in helping put a face on Choosing Wisely and easing conversations between doctors and patients,” says Dominic Lorusso, director, Health Partnership, at Consumer Reports. “These stories present an understandable call-to-action for consumers who often defer exclusively to the advice of their physicians. To ensure appropriate treatment and to avoid unnecessary and possible unsafe testing, patients need to be part of the conversation.” For more inspiration, check out Jean’s original story or her Action Group blog.


1421206367_checklistAction Group Annual Employer Benefits Survey for Members and Non-members Coming Soon!

The Action Group will soon be conducting its sixth annual online Health Benefits Survey to encourage peer-to-peer information sharing, illustrate how Minnesota employers compare against other Minnesota employers, as well as national benchmarks, and share best practices. It will be open to members and non-members and will be conducted between February 8 and February 24, 2016. Watch this space for details!

KARE11 Seeks Specialty Rx Learning Network Participants

kare11This December KARE11 story describes the “dirty little secret” in the prescription drug business: PBMs that are essentially “playing a shell game” by quietly raising unreported drug costs instead of lowering them. Reporter Jay Olstad is working on a follow-up story that will air in February. He would like to meet with an employer who has been a Specialty Pharmacy Care Delivery Learning Network participant about their experiences with rising drug prices.

This is an outstanding opportunity to draw additional attention to the financial peril employers are facing due to untenable prescription drug costs. If you are interested and able to participate in an interview with Olstad, The Action Group will work directly with you and your public and media relations contact(s) to ensure you are well prepared. To learn more, contact Carolyn Pare, 952-896-5185.

Health Care Financing Task Force Update

mn-health-care-task-forceThe Health Care Financing Task Force met to finalize their recommendations package to the 2016 legislature last Friday. Full details of the package can be found here.

The final report contains dozens of suggestions on how to improve access to insurance coverage, sustain continuity of coverage, and deal with coverage costs. The highest profile recommendations include repealing the provider tax sunset currently in statute to fund care for low-income populations and to expand eligibility for MinnesotaCare to 275 percent of the federal poverty limit. MNsure was discussed in great detail, but the group decided to stay the course with the current structure and re-evaluate after 2016.

The final report was approved by a vote of 20-5-3. The “nay” votes came from the more conservative members of the panel, including Republican legislators and the Center for the American Experiment. Representatives of health plans abstained from voting, claiming that while there were some provisions they supported it was not sufficient to gain an “aye” vote.

Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network News: White Paper Just Released

The Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network (HCP LAN) is accelerating the health care system’s transition to alternative payment models by combining the innovation, power and reach of the public and private sectors.

Last Tuesday’s release of the HCP LAN Alternative Payment Model (APM) Framework White Paper defines payment model categories and establishes a common framework and a set of conventions for measuring progress in the adoption of APMs, which are methods of rewarding health care providers based on the quality and coordination of the care they provide.

You may access the HCP LAN and the new White Paper here.

Join Us for the 9th Annual Employer Leadership Summit  

Save the date for The Action Group’s 9th Annual Employer Leadership Summit on April 22, 2016. This event is open to all and was sold out in 2015. We will feature national and international health care and benefits thought leaders, the Innovator’s Showcase, interactive polling, networking opportunities, sponsored booths, and lively discussions. If you or a partner organization would like to sponsor an exhibit, please contact us!

Position Opening: Minnesota Health Action Group Vice President

The full time vice president of The Action Group reports directly to the president and CEO. The primary responsibility is to manage Minnesota Bridges to Excellence, The Action Group’s pay-for-performance program. In addition, the vice president has responsibility for developing and managing The Action Group’s annual budget, managing the Annual Employer Benefits Survey, and collaborating in the planning, design and facilitation of community dialogues and member meetings. Working with the president and CEO, the vice president will ensure the organization’s operations run efficiently and will serve as back up to president and CEO as required. Complete job description available upon request. Inquiries, cover letters, and resumes may be directed to Carolyn Pare.

Thought for the Week

“We have this view that we only really use imaging when it’s really necessary, which is no longer the case. The truth is, now it’s ubiquitous. And many of these tests don’t need to be done.”

Rebecca Smith-Bindman, professor of radiology, epidemiology and obstetrics and gynecology,  University of California at San Francisco