NEW! Top-rated Digital Diabetes Solutions; Nat’l Healthcare Decisions Day 4/16; Capitol News…

April 5, 2016

The Weekly Buzz: Rating Digital Diabetes Solutions

Did you know that one in three American adults have prediabetes, and 90 percent of them don’t know it? Or that 29.1 million, or 9.3 percent of the population, have type 2 diabetes?

Diabetes will continue to be a top employer concern well into the future. As employers implement a mix of programs and benefit strategies that will help employees prevent the disease – or manage it once they have it – it can be difficult to know what will be most effective. The array of new digital tools makes it even more challenging to settle on offerings that will result in sustainable behavior change. This new guide, “Digital Diabetes Prevention and Management Solutions,” contrasts and compares vendors, enabling employers to make sound decisions based on unbiased reporting. The guide is brought to you by The Action Group’s sister coalition, the Northeast Business Group on Health.

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 (NDPP) a covered benefit for employees. As part of this initiative an employer communications toolkit is available here (click on the NDPP tile on the bottom row).

Register Now for the Employer Leadership Summit!

Registration is open for The Action Group’s 9th Annual Employer Leadership Summit on April 22, 2016. The event was sold out last year, so be sure to register soon! This year’s Summit features innovators from across the health care industry who are successfully turning their vision into action. Among the featured topics will be emerging Minnesota health care companies, how La Crosse, Wisconsin became the nation’s leader in advance care planning, ongoing health care purchasing challenges, and a panel discussion about The Action Group’s unique Care Delivery Learning Networks. For the popular Innovator’s Showcase, we have again invited health care entrepreneurs to present their new business ventures. Please click here to see the full agenda.

There are just a couple of booths left for sponsors. If you or a partner organization would like to sponsor an exhibit, please contact us!


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National Healthcare Decisions Day: April 16, 2016

National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. NHDD is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding health care, and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be. The theme for 2016 is “It Always Seems Too Early, Until It’s Too Late.” All adults can benefit from thinking about what their health care choices would be if they become unable to speak for themselves. For more information, and to access free tools and resources you can share with employees, click here.

Meet Featured Summit Presenter, Rusty Cunningham

Rusty Cunningham, executive editor of the La Crosse Tribune and longtime publisher of the River Valley Media Group in southeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin, will join our panel discussion, “It Takes a Village: Community Collaboration Mobilizes Advance Care Planning Efforts.”

The La Crosse Tribune has been a strong advocate for regional health initiatives, from advance directives to the need for legislation to curb binge drinking and eliminate smoking in bars and restaurants. The newspaper also publishes an updated database of county health restaurant inspections each month, and has dedicated 2016 to a Healthy Living series designed to fight obesity by promoting fitness and healthy eating.

Rusty won the 2015 Wisconsin Newspaper Association awards for best columnist and for editorial writing. He has served newspaper associations and Freedom of Information initiatives in three states as an advocate for open meetings and open records, sharing the 2011 Friend of Newspaper Award in Minnesota for developing legislation to strengthen public access. His publishing group was named Enterprise of the Year by parent company Lee Enterprises in 2011

From the Capitol

State CapitolFollowing a flurry of activity in mid-March, April was ushered in on a strangely subdued note at the Legislature. At this point it is difficult to tell what the end goals are for the House and Senate Health and Human Services (HHS) committees, given there has been almost no coordination with regard to which bills get scheduled in either body. Both chambers have focused largely on political bills that play to their respective bases of support, all under the insinuation that there may very well be no HHS supplemental spending in 2016.

Two items of note from the week: First, Sen. Melissa Wiklund’s bill (Senate File 2897) to sync up Minnesota health record laws with HIPAA standards was voted down in the Senate Judiciary committee, largely due to concerns over the privacy and security of patient data under a new system. Second, Rep. Tara Mack (R – Apple Valley) announced she will not be seeking re-election after this year. Rep. Mack has been chair of the House Health Reform committee for the last two sessions, and was a leader in that caucus on HHS issues.

This next week may pick up somewhat as the Senate begins to hold hearings on Gov. Dayton’s supplemental budget proposal and committees reach the final policy deadline of April 8. We will keep you apprised of any activity of note to Action Group members, but for the moment all sides do not seem very interested in working together.

Thought for the Week

“For many people, it is very hard to start an advance care planning discussion. One of the key problems is finding the ‘right time’ and the ‘right way’ to bring up the topic. All too often, this becomes a perpetual stumbling block because it often feels like the ‘right time’ and the ‘right way’ don’t exist. A solution to this situation is to ‘blame’ National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) for the timing and the way to start the conversation. Let NHDD be the scapegoat.”

NHDD Blog, January 2016