Taking Action Express: Rx Affordability Crisis; May 28 Policy Briefing; Nat’l Safety Month; Capitol News Round Up…

May 26, 2015

The Weekly Buzz: New Poll Shows Drug Affordability Addles Americans

In this just-released poll by Morning Consult, we learn that the overwhelming majority of Americans is deeply concerned about rising drug costs. As insurers are increasingly asking patients to pay a growing share of prescription drug costs, patient concerns are heightening.


112Save the Date! Minnesota Bridges to Excellence Recognition Event July 15

The Minnesota Bridges to Excellence (MNBTE) program advances both 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. This year, we will gather on July 15 to celebrate the successes of those clinics providing superior care. To learn more about MNBTE and the recognition event, click here. The rewarded clinics and medical groups will be informed in mid-June. Registration will open in June.

228May 28 NBCH Policy Briefing on EEOC Proposed Wellness Regulations 

Join the National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH) for a MAY 28 webcast event from 1 p.m.-2 p.m. (CST), highlighting the most important features of the recent EEOC proposed wellness regulations, and providing an opportunity for coalitions and employers to provide input for inclusion in the NBCH Comment Letter, to be submitted by June 19. Click here to register.

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

Help Wanted: University of MN Benefits Financial Analyst

The University of Minnesota manages its own self-insured health care program for employees and dependents and is currently seeking a financial professional with experience in health programs to act as the primary resource on all financial aspects of the University’s benefits programs. Additional analytic experience in the areas of general business, human resources, and HRMS (PeopleSoft preferred) is a strong consideration. Click here to see the full job description.

June is National Safety Month!

Observed annually in June, National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road, and in our homes and communities. Each week in June, we will feature issues related to patient quality and safety in our newsletters. Click here to read a guest blog by Marie Dotseth, Executive Director of the Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety (MAPS). Here she discusses the Minnesota Adverse Health Events Report and how the MAPS “You, Your Own Best Medicine” campaign empowers patients to actively manage their own health care.

In pharmacy news this week, Dr. Amit Vashist personalizes how fragmented care is driving up medical costs. “I thought it was sufficient that we had provided the right medication. By the time the hospital pharmacist informed me of the cost, there were already $110,000 in charges.” Read more here

Last Chance to Join the Specialty Pharmacy Care Delivery Learning Network Phase II   

The Action Group’s Specialty Pharmacy Care Delivery Learning Network is being extended for another six months. Even if you were not a part of Phase I, if you are an employer-member, you are invited to join Phase II. We will be offering a Specialty Pharmacy Boot Camp to get you up to speed on everything we learned during Phase I.

For more information, please contact Carolyn Pare (952-896-5185) or Linda Davis (952-484-7970). The Phase I Specialty Pharmacy Purchaser’s Guide is now available to members through the Member Center at mnhealthactiongroup.org.

Minnesota_State_Capitol_5From the State Capitol

Governor Dayton signed Senate File 1458, the Health and Human Services omnibus bill, on May 22. Below you will find a list of the provisions included that are of interest to Action Group members and followers, along with line numbers showing where you can find those sections in the full bill, found here.

  • Health Information Exchange (Line 283.10): Technical clarifications are made on the definitions and proper uses of the state Health Information Exchange (HIE).
  • All Payer Claims Database (APCD) (Line 297.10): Based on the recommendations of an agency-led task force, this language establishes new parameters for official use of the evolving APCD. Information must be available to the public by March 1, 2016.
  • MDH Disease Impacts (Line 298.33): Beginning next year and for 10 years thereafter, the Department of Health must report on the projected cost impact of several diseases including diabetes, dementia, tobacco use, and conditions that require long-term care.
  • MDH Quality Measures (Line 350.20): Beginning January 1, 2016, the commissioner of health must stratify certain quality measures by race, ethnicity, preferred language, and country of origin.
  • Financial Audits of Health Management Organizations (Line 433.30): The Department of Human Services is granted authority to conduct ad hoc audits of managed care plans and county-based purchasers. Additionally, language is cleaned up regarding the legislative auditor’s independent audits of managed care plans via a third party.
  • Task Force on Health Care Financing (Line 456.30): Governor Dayton will convene a task force to look at the long term financial sustainability of MNsure, medical assistance, MinnesotaCare, and individuals purchasing coverage on their own.
  • Health Disparity Payment Enhancement (Line 459.5): The Department of Human Services (DHS) will develop a methodology to pay a higher payment rate for services given to populations that experience significant health disparities and report back to the legislature by February 1, 2016.
  • Small Business Health Care Tax Credit (Line 465.21): DHS and MNsure leaders are directed to develop a proposal to allow small employers the ability to receive tax credits when employee premiums are covered for either SHOP marketplace plans or within MNSure.

Thought for the Week

“When I think of the challenge of eradicating or alleviating disease through drugs, I think this doesn’t work unless the patient actually gets the innovation. That’s the defect we should focus on.”

Dr. Peter Bach, physician and policy expert