Taking Action Express: Summit Registration Extension; EHRs on the Hot Seat; Capitol News…

April 14, 2015

BN-HU976_HEALTH_M_20150409204407The Weekly Buzz: “Obama Administration Report Slams Digital Health Records”

The Obama administration publicly maligned vendors of electronic health records (EHRs) for making it costly and cumbersome to share patient information to improve quality and cut costs. Click here to see a new Wall St. Journal article about the report. The Action Group began addressing this important topic in 2008, issuing a Health Care Purchaser Declaration encouraging all health information “data holders” to join us in increasing the efficiency, cost effectiveness, and value of personal health information management. We will continue to press for EHRs that enable every Minnesotan, regardless of health status, insurance or employment, to have ready access to secure personal health information.

2015summiticon-01Last Chance to Register for April 17 Summit!

You won’t want to miss a full day of inspiring presentations and conversations on April 17, 2015! Registration for The Action Group’s 8th Annual Employer Leadership Summit has been extended to noon on April 15. We are nearing capacity and space is limited! Click here to see the agenda. Action Group members attend at a discounted rate! Not yet a member? Click here to view a brief video and to learn how to join.



Countdown to the Summit
Meet Brian Beutner!

Brian Beutner, J.D., is the Chair of the Board of Directors of MNsure, Minnesota’s public health insurance exchange. He will be presenting, “Pathways to a Functional Health Care Marketplace: Learning From the Exchange Experience.” Mr. Beutner is also an advisor to start-ups and their founders. He has served as CEO of mPay Gateway, and spent seven years with UnitedHealth Group working in various capacities. Mr. Beutner has been an adjunct professor at Hamline University Law School, and is currently on the Hamline University School of Law Health Law Institute Advisory Board.



hepcMedicare Spent $4.5 Billion on New Hepatitis C Drugs in 2014: You Can Effect Change

Medicare’s spending on drugs to treat hepatitis C soared more than 15 fold from 2013 to 2014 as breakthrough drugs flooded the market. While the drugs cure the disease in patients who are compliant with treatment protocols, taxpayers are footing the bill. Read more about it here. The Action Group’s Specialty Pharmacy Care Delivery Learning Network kicked off last October, and has been granted an extension of six months. Phase II will begin in June. All employer members are invited to join Phase II. If you were not a part of Phase I, we will be offering a Specialty Pharmacy Boot Camp to get you up to speed. For more information, please contact Carolyn Pare (952-896-5185) or Linda Davis (952-484-7970).

Help Wanted: NDPP Project Coordinator; Hennepin County Benefits Manager

Did You Know?

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

Minnesota Health Action Group. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is contracting with The Action Group to engage employers and insurers in four funded communities to make the National Diabetes Prevention Program a covered benefit for employees. To support us in this work, we are seeking a temporary, part-time Project Coordinator to create the employer section of the NDPP toolkit. Click here to see the full job description. Click here to see a guest blog about the NDPP project by the Minnesota Department of Health’s Gretchen Taylor.

Hennepin County. Hennepin County is seeking a Human Resources manager with proven ability to use creativity and innovation to build on the quality benefit programs and initiatives that are integral to the core values of the organization. Duties involve planning and directing the design, implementation, communication and administration of employee benefits programs that exceed $200 million in annual expenditures. Click here to learn more.

Minnesota_State_Capitol_5From the Capitol

In their first week back from Spring Break, legislators immediately dove into the process of hearing finance proposals for possible inclusion in the larger budget bills. These larger omnibus bills will be put together over the next 7-10 days, using the previously announced budget targets as boundaries.

Some form of the Minnesota Medical Association’s prior authorization legislation will be included in the Senate Health Omnibus bill, but probably not the House’s. This sets up a situation where the final decision will be made by a bicameral conference committee charged with reconciling the bills’ differences. The Minnesota Council of Health Plans is working on a compromise proposal, while the pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) remain opposed to the entirety of the prior authorization bill. Action Group President and CEO, Carolyn Pare, sent letters to lawmakers urging them to consider the merits of prior authorization and asking them to intercede on behalf of all Minnesota purchasers.

Another item The Action Group will be looking for is any inclusion of an All Payer Claims Database (APCD) provision. You can read the current version of the language here. To view The Action Group’s letter urging lawmakers to support expanding use of the APCD, click here.

The next several weeks should be very busy – stay tuned!

Thought for the Week

“The most-discussed of the new hepatitis C drugs, Sovaldi, which costs $84,000 for a 12-week course of treatment, accounted for more than $3 billion of Medicare spending. Spending on another drug, Harvoni, hit $670 million, even though it only came on the market only in October. Bills for a third drug, Olysio, often taken in conjunction with Sovaldi, reached $821 million.”

Washington Post
March 29, 2015