Taking Action Express Week 12: A quick look at what’s new

April 15, 2014

The Weekly Buzz: First Report of Doctor’s Payments Offers Insights Into Care Patterns

“The federal government spent a lot of money in 2012 on specialty eye care at 7760 France Av. S., Suite 310—- $13 million to be exact.” This lead from last Thursday’s Star Tribune (as a follow up to an April 9 New York Times article) provides “gossip for the curious,” but health care analysts say it holds greater potential to inform the public about wide variations in health care costs and practice patterns.

You can now find a doctor or other medical professional among the more than 800,000 health care providers that received payments in 2012 from Medicare Part B.

“You can bet we will be looking at it and drawing some conclusions and talking to our members about it,” said Carolyn Pare, president and CEO of the Minnesota Health Action Group. “There is a level of transparency here that we have never been able to achieve.”

Improving Patient Safety: Why Employers Should Care


The cost and productivity impact of avoidable harm occurring in our nation’s hospitals make a compelling business case for employer action. There are about 40 million discharges from U.S. hospitals every year, at a national cost approaching $900 billion. Even a small percentage of cases involving harm affects very large numbers of patients and results in staggering costs.

Given the urgent need to protect patients and the lack of significant progress of the health care community in improving quality and safety, the Minnesota Health Action Group promotes and supports the work of the Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety (MAPS).

Whether you’re just getting started on employee education, or are in the advanced stages of using payment policies to support a culture of safety, MAPS offers strategic guidance to assure “safe care everywhere.”

The Action Group is hosting a member meeting on April 24, from 8 a.m.-10 a.m., featuring Marie Dotseth, Executive Director of MAPS. She will share the organization’s latest work in preventing medical errors during one of the most potentially harmful legs of the health care journey, which is care transitions (when patients move from one care setting to another).

Health Care Then and Now…

Health care has changed drastically since the 1960s Mad Men era…but just how far have we come? This clever article illustrates some fascinating evolutionary trends…for better AND worse.



News from the State Capitol: Legislature Acts on Claims Data Provisions

Minnesota_State_Capitol_5The Action Group continuously monitors developments at the Capitol, representing the collective voice of the people who write the checks for health care, ensuring that patients get the care they need at the right time, in the right place, for the right price.

House File 2656, which passed off the House floor last week, makes three significant changes to how health care services are analyzed. First, it effectively shutters the current provider peer grouping system that has been in place since 2008. Second, it creates new parameters for what types of data, including quality measures, will be tracked in a newly formed All Payer Claims Database (APCD). Finally, the Department of Health is directed to create a work group to consult on the development and use of the APCD. The Action Group will be as involved as possible with that group as it is created and begins work. The Senate and Governor Dayton still need to act affirmatively on the bill, which is expected.

It will be quiet for the next several days as the legislature observes its traditional Easter/Passover recess. When they reconvene on April 22, it is expected that they will move quickly to finalize their work on the supplemental budget bill and a capital bonding bill. Some controversial provisions, such as expansion of scope for APRNs, are still in play and awaiting further action. The legislature must constitutionally adjourn for 2014 by May 19.

Thought for the Week

“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”

– Roger Staubach