May is Mental Health Month; Higher prices, lower quality?; Capitol News…

May 3, 2016


The Weekly Buzz: May is Mental Health Month   

The 2016 May is Mental Health Month theme is Life with a Mental Illness. The group is calling on individuals to share what life with a mental illness feels like for them in words, pictures and video by tagging their social media posts with #mentalillnessfeelslike. Posts will be collected and displayed at These resources can help you bring attention to this important issue affecting tens of millions of Americans:

Save the Date for Upcoming Member Meetings! 

Not yet a member, but interested in learning more about The Action Group? Contact Sue Jesseman for a special meeting pass and join us at an upcoming event!

Do Higher Prices Mean Higher Quality in Health Care? 

A new HCCI data brief, “The Price Quality Paradox in Health Care,” finds that higher prices for medical services are not always indicative of higher quality of care. The study compares average state-level prices against quality measures for asthma, diabetes and hypertension care. In all but one instance, higher prices were associated with lower quality, or there was no relationship at all. This recent Kaiser Health News article calls for physicians to have better conversations about health care expenses with their patients.

Did You Know? 
  • Choosing Wisely® offers a large library of no-cost tools designed to advance a national dialogue on avoiding wasteful or unnecessary medical tests, treatments and procedures.
  • The Minnesota Department of Health last week published the first batch of data from its Minnesota All Payer Claims Database, enabling researchers to mine the information to learn more about variations in health care services and patient outcomes.

Medicare Proposal Takes Aim at Diabetes

Under a new plan proposed by the Obama administration, Medicare will pay for certain lifestyle change programs designed to prevent type 2 diabetes among millions of people at high risk for developing the disease.

Federal officials said that Medicare saved $2,650 for each person enrolled in the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) over 15 months, compared with similar beneficiaries not in the program. Read more here.

Guest Blog: Tackling Diabetes in Minnesota: The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is contracting with the Minnesota Health Action Group to engage employers and insurers in four communities to make the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) a covered benefit for employees…

From the Capitol

State CapitolA very quiet week led in the month of May, with most committees shutting down and the activity largely moving to the House and Senate floors. Each body passed its supplemental appropriation bills, which will now have to be resolved by a conference committee.

As you have read here previously, the Senate and House bills are vastly different. Click here to view SF2356; click here to view HF3467. The Health and Human Service provisions begin on Line 449.8 of Senate File 2356, and Line 20.2 of House File 3467.

The conference committee will consist of five members each from the House and Senate, selected by legislative leadership.

The clock continues to count down to May 23.

Thought for the Week

“It’s an odd paradox that a society, which can now speak openly and unabashedly about topics that were once unspeakable, still remains largely silent when it comes to mental illness.”  

Glenn Close