Taking Action Express: 5 Rights for Specialty Rx; Must-attend Events; Employee Education Tools and Resources

APRIL 4, 2017

A New Vision for the Specialty Drug Marketplace

The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions (National Alliance) has launched a new vision to align the private sector in support of a high-value specialty drug marketplace. Minnesota employers and The Action Group played a key role in developing the framework, in collaboration with the National Alliance and several other purchaser-led member coalitions. Now, the information is being shared with purchaser coalitions across the country.

“After two years of intensive study, Action Group members developed this framework to offer a common ground for all stakeholders,” said Carolyn Pare, CEO of The Action Group, developer of the initial Five Rights. “Offering a road map for the Right Drug, Right Price, Right Place, Right Support and Right Data, this framework provides insights for each stakeholder to do their part to deliver on that promise.”

While the framework is consistent at a national level, the specific implementation tactics will reflect the unique dynamics and needs of each local market. In Minnesota, The Action Group has formed a multi-stakeholder Specialty Drug Guiding Coalition to guide implementation of the “Five Rights” framework, ensure accountability, and deliver value. The Guiding Coalition kicked off in February and will meet next in April.

Find the full details of the national initiative here.

Don’t Miss Out! Add These to Your Calendar:

Member Only Meetings:

  • April 27, 2017, 8 a.m.-9:30 a.m.: Empowering Employees to be Consumers
  • July 26, 2017: Health Care Data as a Community Asset in Minnesota (All Payer Claims Database)
  • September 21, 2017: Employee Well-being: A Business Imperative
  • November 16, 2017: Best Practices for Addressing Cancer in the Workplace
  • December 15, 2017: Highlights of the Mental Health Learning Network, plus 2017 Review and 2018 Preview

Public Meetings and Events:

Please click here to view all 2017 events and member meetings.

Mental Health Learning Network Kicks Off

The Action Group’s Mental Health Learning and Action Network kicked off on March 22, with special guest speakers, Sue Abderholden, executive director of the National Alliance of Mental Illness Minnesota (NAMI Minnesota), and Dr. Ezra Golberstein, Associate Professor, Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota, sharing their unique perspectives.

Network participants will spend the next year learning about the complexities of care delivery, quality, pricing, and contracting, and developing action steps to improve care and lower costs.

For more information:

“The economic impact of mental illness will be more than cancer, diabetes and respiratory ailments put together”  

Director, U.S. National Institute of Mental Health

Action Group Employer Benefits Survey Results are In!

The Minnesota Health Action Group’s Annual Employer Benefits Survey captures a vital snapshot of trends in the Minnesota employee benefits marketplace, and provides a tool for Action Group members and other Survey participants to benchmark their plans. Now in its seventh year, the 2017 Survey had record participation with 85 public and private employers participating, representing over a quarter-million Minnesotans and approximately one million employees nationally. Participating employers gathered on March 30, to review survey findings, discuss insights, and share perspectives with each other.

“With health care costs continuously on the rise and uncertainty surrounding the new presidential administration, employers are looking for ways to get the most out of their benefit plan designs, while controlling health care spending and improving health outcomes for employees. Understanding what’s working and being able to ‘compare notes’ with other employers through the Survey can help benefit managers and business leaders offer effective and attractive benefit programs.”  

Jon Schloemer, Benefits Manager, Mills Fleet Farm

The Survey was shaped by employers, for employers. 100% of employers providing feedback agreed that “The survey covers topics that are important to me and my organization.” A comprehensive report of findings and detailed answers was provided to organizations that participated in the Survey, which was open to members and non-members. Survey highlights will be released publicly later this month. Employers willing to commit to 2018 Survey participation will receive a complimentary copy of the 2017 Survey results. Interested employers may contact Sue Jesseman at sjesseman@mnhealthactiongroup.org.

Action Group Summit: The Time is NOW! Putting Affordable Back into Health Care
Early Bird Special Ends this Month!

With support from our valued sponsors, The Action Group will be hosting this year’s 10th Annual Employer Leadership Summit on May 19, “The Time is NOW: Putting Affordable Back into Health Care.”

To address this urgent issue, local and national thought leaders and some of our most innovative employers will be sharing best practices in implementing changes that improve access to high-quality care, while lowering or better managing costs.

“We are very excited about our all-star lineup of speakers and sponsors this year,” says Deb Krause, Action Group vice president. “Their shared passion for health care, and a dedication to finding answers to some of our most challenging cost and quality issues, is sure to inspire attendees. Most importantly, employers will walk away with insights and tools to make a difference at their organization.”

Please click below to register and take advantage of our EARLY BIRD SPECIAL (available only until April 21), or here to learn more.

April National Alliance Summits: Mental Health; Well-being

The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions’ Summits on mental health and well-being will be held April 25 and 26 in Denver, CO. Aside from offering exceptional learning and networking opportunities, Action Group employer members save $200 on registration through our National Alliance membership! Click here to learn more and to register.

April Member Meeting: Empowering Employees to be Health Care Consumers

There are more employee engagement and communication tools and resources than ever before, yet most are delivered with a “one-size-fits-all” approach, causing a fragmented experience.

Please join us for The Action Group’s April member meeting, where we’ll hear from a number of members who are taking the guesswork out of effectively reaching employees with key messages.

We’re also bringing back the popular “Table Talk” to give you an opportunity to hear from others, ask questions, share experiences, and engage in discussion.

April 27, 2017
8 a.m.-9:30 a.m.
(Networking begins at 7:30)

Hilton Airport/MOA Hotel
3800 American Boulevard E.
Bloomington, MN

Please RSVP to Sue Jesseman

Legislative Update

Committee deadlines for individual bills have passed, which means legislators are now focused on assembling and passing omnibus budget bills for the FY18-19 biennium. The House bill cuts $600 million from the HHS budget, while the Senate reduces spending by $335 million. The House and Senate will pass their Health and Human Services bills off their respective floors by the end of this week, and then any differences between the bills will have to be resolved in a conference committee. The Legislative Easter/Passover recess is scheduled for April 8th – 18th, so conference committee work may not begin in earnest until the middle of the month.

Both bills include items of interest for The Action Group, such as language related to quality reporting, palliative care, and opioid addiction. You will find links and line citations to those sections below:  

Senate File 800:

Article 4, Section 3, Line 157.11: The commissioner of health is tasked with creating a framework that identifies important elements for assessing quality of care. The legislation requires that stakeholders be consulted in this process, including health care purchasers.

Article 4, Section 22, Line 183.20-188.23: The commissioner of human services is directed to evaluate performance and quality reporting metrics related to public program enrollees, and expand that system to Integrated Health Partnerships.

Article 5, Line 205.30: This article of the bill deals with changes to the individual and small group insurance market.

Article 10, Section 20, Line 364.21: This language establishes a Palliative Care Advisory Council, recognizing the growing importance of these issues.

House File 945:

Article 1, Sections 44 & 45, Lines 71.24-74.2: These sections lay out new proposals for outcome-based payments in MA and new hospital reporting requirements around outcomes and financial incentives.

Article 3, Section 1, Line 144.26: The House also creates a Palliative Care Advisory Council

Article 7, Line 279.5: This article deals with a number of provisions aimed at dealing with opiate abuse issues.

The Legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on May 22nd, and to date Governor Dayton has not expressed much interest in signing any of the omnibus bills in their current form.

Stay tuned…

“The trend toward consumerism has advanced far beyond where it was just a few years ago, and the health care industry is responding with outreach and initiatives intended to help patients in their quest for value.”

Gregory Freeman from How Real is Health Care Consumerism?”

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