Taking Action Express: Are ACOs the answer?; The Stigma of Mental Illness; High Cost of Specialty Drugs…

August 19, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 9.05.23 AMThe Weekly Buzz: The Potential Promise of Accountable Care Organizations

Accountable care organizations (ACOs) promise better alignment of health care provider incentives and patient outcomes. But can they revolutionize employer-sponsored health care? These new articles show early indicators that ACOs may just be part of the cure for what ails our health care system:

“ACOs aren’t about limiting care,” says Carolyn Pare, president and CEO of The Action Group, in the article ACOs make In-roads with Employers. “They’re about limiting unnecessary treatment that could cause harm and they’re focused on delivering high-quality, efficient care.”

The Action Group is hosting an invitation-only breakfast meeting for certain employer-members and prospective members on September 17 to open the discussion about how ACOs are evolving locally and nationally. If you are considering becoming an Action Group member, please visit our website for more information, send us an email atinfo@mnhealthactiongroup.orgor call (952) 896-5186.


Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 9.46.25 PMIs Your Organization Helping Stamp Out the Stigma of Mental Illness?

One depression sufferer described her condition as “having a funeral in my brain.” A poignant comment posted on a local news website last week said this about the death of Robin Williams: “We were laughing so hard, we didn’t notice he was dying.” “A better understanding of mental illness hasn’t reduced the stigma around it,” says Jason Millman, a Washington Post health care reporter.

Available to all, the Help and Healing Toolkit: Depression Resources for Care and Recovery was created through a collaborative effort by The Action Group, the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI), and MN Community Measurement. It is designed to help employers help employees and their family members who are dealing with depression.

The Action Group has also sponsored the Minnesota Bridges to Excellence program since 2006, using clinical measures developed by the Minnesota-based Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI) to reward clinics that are delivering optimal care to patients with depression, diabetes and vascular disease.

We invite you to read this recent guest blog by Kris Soegaard, chief operating officer of The Action Group. She highlights the many resources that are available to members and non-members.


248Addressing the High Cost of Specialty Medications

Specialty pharmacy costs are prevalent in the media again due to the introduction of Sovaldi for Hepatitis C, which costs over $1,000/day and over $84,000/patient. Costs for specialty medications are projected to quadruple between 2012 and 20201 with over 900 new drugs in the pipeline2.

This recent poll, featured in the Morning Consult, reflects the fact that 57 percent of respondents say they are “very concerned” that they would not be able to afford high-priced specialty drugs should they or their family need them in the future.

The Action Group is forming a Learning Network to help participants understand all they can about new specialty pharmacy developments and management tactics. Employer-members are invited to attend aroundtable discussion on September 24, from 8 a.m.-9:30 a.m., to determine how we will proceed with the Learning Network and the Specialty Pharmacy Employer Purchaser’s Guide.

1 CVS Caremark Insights 2013
2 Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Medicines in development: biologics.


BBYBest Buy Seeking a Senior Benefits Analyst: Associate Wellness Manager

Best Buy, an Action Group member, is seeking a Senior Benefits Analyst and an Associate (junior) Wellness Manager. The Senior Benefits Analyst will analyze market data, create and maintain a standardized benefit and recognition report, respond to ad hoc report and research, administer benefit compliance programs, maintain policy updates, support HR communications in planning reward events, and more. The Associate Wellness Manager is a newly created position that offers the opportunity to create healthier and more engaged employees by developing and executing wellness strategies throughout the organization. Click on either link, above, for more information.


Thought for the Week

“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.”

Elizabeth Wurtzel,
Author of “Prozac Nation”