Taking Action Express: Transparency an Ongoing Challenge; Join Us in January! Free employee education resources…

December 3, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 10.41.07 AMThe Weekly Buzz: Health Care Cost and Quality Information Proves Hard to Come By…Again

Government watchdog agency, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, recently tested the availability of health care cost and quality data in several areas across the country, including Minnesota. “We were trying to put on the face of a consumer,” says Linda Kohn who directs the GAO’s health care team. “The takeaway is that it is pretty hard to get this (basic cost and quality) information.” Read more here.

The Minnesota Health Action Group continues to advocate for transparency in health care and to foster collaboration and innovation between business, health plans, health care providers, and political leaders. Read about how transparency is the cornerstone of The Action Group’s work in this new blog from Carolyn Pare.

FairviewLogoThe Importance of Care Systems to Action Group Membership

Care systems represent a unique segment of our membership because, not only are they some of the largest employers (and, therefore, health care purchasers) in the state, they are also health care service providers. They come to our meetings with great curiosity about what their fellow members —- the people who write the checks for health care —- really want. A new addition to the “Storytelling” page on our website features our newest member, Fairview Health Services.

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 10.43.43 AMEmployee Education Toolkit Now Available From The Leapfrog Group

Employers and other purchasers pay an average of $8,000 per hospital admission for errors, injuries, accidents and infections. But that number can be significantly reduced —-  and purchasers can save lives in the process. The hidden surcharge calculator helps you see how much you spend on hospital errors; the toolkit materials help you communicate with your employees and apply your leverage with health plans and hospitals.

PrintSpecial Open Action Group Meeting in January

The Action Group’s first meeting of the year will be set aside to reflect on the accomplishments and key findings of 2014, and to set forth our plans to continue advancing toward our goals in 2015. Current members are encouraged to bring friends or colleagues who are contemplating membership in 2015. If you are not yet a member and would like to receive an invitation, please contact us at info@mnhealthactiongroup.org. There is no cost to attend, and we will be serving a hot breakfast.

herologo_blue-01EEOC Lawsuits Challenge Employer Wellness Programs

The Action Group’s final member meeting of 2014 on December 16 will feature special guest speaker Jerry Noyce, president and CEO of Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO). He will discuss successful wellness incentive design and recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) lawsuits.

For the third time in recent months, the EEOC has launched legal action against a private employer, claiming discrimination on the part of the company’s wellness program. A memorandum was filed in Federal District Court in Minnesota on October 27, 2014, asking for a temporary restraining order against Honeywell, alleging that its sponsored wellness programs violate both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

Thought for the Week

“Honeywell wants its employees to be well-informed about their health status not only because it promotes their wellbeing, but also because we don’t believe it’s fair to the employees who do work to lead healthier lifestyles to subsidize the health care premiums for those who do not.”

From a Honeywell email to employees