Taking Action Express: Consistent Health Metrics Proposed; PCSK9 High-cost Dilemma; Register! MNBTE Cocktail Reception

June 30, 2015

Weekly Buzz: IOM Vital Signs

In  VITAL SIGNS: Core Metrics for Health and Health Care Progress, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) proposes a streamlined set of 15 standardized mea­sures. This set of measures could provide consistent benchmarks for health progress across the nation and improve system performance in the highest-priority areas.

“Through our work at The Action Group, we have seen outcomes significantly improve through the benefit of increased signal strength and support in creating clear performance objectives,” says Carolyn Pare, president and CEO of The Action Group. “I hope our members will join us for the July 15 Minnesota Bridges to Excellence recognition event (see below) to toast those providers who are working so hard to improve patient care, and to discover how we are making a big difference in Minnesota.”

Save the Date! All Members Invited to Minnesota Bridges to Excellence Recognition Event July 15

The Minnesota Bridges to Excellence (MNBTE) program advances care delivery and outcomes by rewarding clinics for meeting or exceeding a strict set of care standards for patients with diabetes, depression, and vascular disease. These conditions are known to be primary drivers of health care costs. Each year, we host a cocktail reception to celebrate the successes of those clinics providing superior care. To learn more about MNBTE, click here. To register or to learn more about the recognition event, click here.

The PCSK9 Dilemma: Will High Costs Mean Restricted Access?  

FDA advisory panels earlier this month recommended approving two drugs that may significantly lower cholesterol (learn more here). But experts warn the potential high cost could limit their access and raise more concerns about skyrocketing prescription costs. In fact, a new report projects PCSK9 inhibitors could cost the U.S. health system up to $23 billion annually.

In response to Action Group Specialty Pharmacy Learning Network participant requests, we are offering guidance on how to manage the PCSK9 dilemma for registered Learning Network participants. We will be helping participating Learning Network employers plan for the management of these very specific cholesterol management drugs before prescribing begins.

Did you Know?

Action Group members may post job openings in fyi and Express at no cost. Simply send your request to Sue Jesseman.

Help Wanted: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MN

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. Blue Cross is seeking a senior benefits analyst who will be responsible for the design of cost-effective financial benefit plans, programs and policies to drive attraction and retention of employees and executives in support of Blue Cross’ strategic plan. This position also ensures plan compliance with all federal, state and local regulations. Click here to see the full job description.

Action Group Staff Attends NDPP Kick-off Meeting

The Action Group will be engaging employers and insurers in four funded communities to help them build and create tools to prevent diabetes, optimizing the success of the National Diabetes Prevention Program. Hosted by the Minnesota Department of Health, the official kick-off meeting was held on June 23, in Otsego, MN.

“I enjoyed having a chance to meet the representatives from each community to learn more about their concerns, questions and initiatives,” says Nayila Yaro, The Action Group’s NDPP project coordinator. “It was eye-opening to me to see how diverse Minnesota has become, especially in our rural communities.”

In fact, the group from Southern Minnesota (Des Moines Valley-Nobles) is challenged by the fact that residents from 45 countries speak over 55 languages. The City of Minneapolis, Healthy Northland, and Western Minnesota (PartnerSHIP 4 Health) round out the group. Together, they will be looking for unique workplace strategies to engage employees, and ways to work more closely with employers to add the NDPP as a covered benefit.

Thought for the Week

“While these new (PCSK9) drugs offer hope to those who aren’t able to effectively manage their cholesterol with existing therapy, they need to be affordable. Contributing to the high cost is the fact that these drugs are considered maintenance medicines, so people would expect to take them for many years.”

Patrick Gleason, director of health outcomes for Prime Therapeutics