Taking Action Express: Fox in Rx Henhouse; Nov. is Diabetes Month!; Choosing Wisely Good News for All…

OCTOBER 18, 2016

Drug Coupons: Helping a Few at the Expense of All

Coupon offerings are supposed to herald money-saving windfalls. But, while seemingly generous drug maker coupons are widely available, they actually increase total health care spending in a number of ways. “Those costs can then boomerang back to patients [and payers] in the form of higher insurance premiums.” Read the full story here.

While the negative effect of these coupons has long been suspected, two new papers are the first to measure the effect. The first was published in the New England Journal of Medicine Wednesday; the second, from the National Bureau of Economic Research, will be available this week.

Related and Interesting:


Don’t Miss Out! Add These to Your Calendar:b14b60ce-2391-4e2f-ab7d-489cb07bd8df


You’re Invited! November Member Meeting: Hot Trends in Preventing and Treating Diabetes

Diabetes remains the costliest traditional therapy class for payers for the fifth consecutive year. Plans spent an average of $77.60 per member, per year, on diabetes medications in 2015, a 14% increase over 2014, driven equally by increases in use and cost of medications in the class. And, with 27.8% of adults with diabetes currently undiagnosed, and a rich pipeline of new therapies, diabetes will remain a major contributor to drug spending in the years to come.

In support of American Diabetes Month, we will examine this costly epidemic at our November member meeting to determine how we can work together to prevent diabetes when possible, and treat effectively when necessary.

November 15, 2016
8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. (Networking begins at 7:30 a.m.)

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

Please RSVP to Sue Jesseman (sjesseman@mnhealthactiongroup.org)

If you are interested in becoming an Action Group member and attending the meeting, please see “NOT YET A MEMBER?” below or contact Sue.

MN Department of Health Needs Your Input by October 24!

The Minnesota Department of Health, by legislative mandate, is seeking public input on patient impact and costs associated with requirements related to patient consent for release of health records for the purposes of treatment, payment, and health care operations. The complete Request for Information (RFI) can be found here. Individuals, health care providers, payers and related organizations are encouraged to respond. The deadline is 7 p.m. on Monday, October 24, 2016.

“The Action Group has been supporting and promoting the importance of personal health records and improved interoperability for over a decade,” says Carolyn Pare, Action Group president and CEO. “This RFI is a great opportunity for our members to provide input to the State about the misalignment between the Minnesota Health Records Act and HIPAA, which leads to difficulties in exchanging patient information for treatment needs.”

New Action Group Blog: Excellence in Health Care can be a Reality for all Minnesotans


“Unlike other states, Minnesota is fortunate to be the home of Minnesota Bridges to Excellence (MNBTE), a unique private and public collaboration that focuses on improving health care – and outcomes – for people with diabetes, vascular disease and depression. The program, developed by The Action Group in 2006, has been so successful at improving the health of people across our great state that the Minnesota Department of Health partnered with The Action Group to administer a state-led pay-for-performance program called the Minnesota Quality Incentive Payment System (QIPS).” Read the full blog here.

Medical Spending is Up in MN; Clinic Costs Vary Widely

mncm_resized2_mncm-org_Medical spending in Minnesota climbed 5.6 percent in 2015, to $474 per person, according to the third annual Total Cost of Care report by Minnesota Community Measurement (MNCM), with costs varying dramatically from one clinic to another.

The wide ranges have turned up in previous reports from MNCM, but the report released Wednesday is significant because it shows trends over time – and what types of medical services are driving up costs. About 70 percent of Minnesota clinics saw their costs go up. Click here for details. The Star Tribune, Duluth News Tribune, and Mankato Free Press also picked up the story.

Action Group Supports Choosing Wisely

The Minnesota Health Action Group has proven to be an important, active and vocal supporter of Choosing Wisely, an initiative of the ABIM Foundation that promotes patient-physician conversations about unnecessary medical tests and procedures.

Consumer Reports has stepped up to reinforce efforts in this arena, including the rollout of a new health care-themed site and a social media campaign. You’ll find many invaluable, diverse and free employee communication resources that have been designed to increase health literacy.

Have you completed your Advance Care Directive?

Advanced Care Planning

New advance planning blogs now available online!

The Action Group has prepared a free Advance Care Planning Employee Communications Toolkit.

To view the Advance Care Planning Statewide Call to Action, click here.

Especially for members!
Helpful Resources Available Through Our
Member Center

No Free Lunch After All…

“It has famously been said that ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch.’ Drug coupons are no exception to this rule.”