Taking Action Express: Linking Mental and Physical Health; 86M with Prediabetes…and More!

AUGUST 23, 2017

Too Many Meds? America’s Love Affair with Prescription Medication

More than half of American adults now regularly take prescription drugs — four on average — according to a new nationally representative Consumer Reports Survey. Much of that medication is lifesaving or at least life-improving. But a lot is not.

In fact, an estimated $200 billion per year is spent in the U.S. on the unnecessary and improper use of medication, for the drugs themselves, and for related medical costs, according to a new study from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Read the full text here.

The Action Group’s Specialty Drug Guiding Coalition is a multi-stakeholder group, whose members are working together to determine specific action items, deliverables and a multi-year timeline to effect change in Minnesota and nationally.


September Member Meeting Addresses Employee Well-being

Today, 85 percent of employers have implemented wellness programs. But according to PwC, less than one in five believe their programs are effective at reducing health care costs, improving performance and productivity, or enhancing employee engagement, attraction or loyalty.

At our September member meeting, we will facilitate the sharing of ideas about what works, and discuss how we can individually and collectively advance employee well-being.

Mike Anderson, Director – Global HR Vendor Strategy and Total Rewards Programs at 3M, will provide an overview of the company’s approach to wellness and disease management, sharing insights about 3M’s strategy, tactics and results. We will also orchestrate a fun, fast-paced information-sharing session where members will actively engage in small group discussions about a variety of topics.



September 21, 2017
8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. (Networking begins at 7:30)


Hilton Airport/MOA Hotel
3800 American Boulevard East
Bloomington, MN


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

Not yet a member, but considering membership? Please join us at a member meeting by contacting Sue Jesseman for a complimentary meeting pass!

Use of Antidepressants Jumps Sharply

The number of Americans who say they’ve taken an antidepressant over the past month rose by 65 percent over just 15 years, a new government study finds.

While this can be taken as a positive sign that mental health stigma may be lifting, there is also concern about prescribing standards and added waste in the health care system.”Action Group Mental Health Learning Network members are identifying opportunities to improve access to care, and to reduce the stigma often associated with mental illness,” says Deb Krause, Action Group vice president. “As part of that, we’re learning how important it is to make sure drugs used to treat mental illness are used in the right way for the right people.”

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month! For free tools and resources to share with your employees, click here.

Mental Health News:

Employers and Insurers Can Help Stop Diabetes in its Tracks

With over 25% of Americans age 65+ now living with type 2 diabetes, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be expanding its diabetes prevention pilot to provide coverage to all eligible, at-risk beneficiaries who are age 65 and older in 2018. For the first time, CMS will be reimbursing for diabetes prevention based on the evidence-based Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). (View the August 16 CMS presentation about Medicare DPP here.)

“This move to cover diabetes prevention is important to employers because, often, as goes CMS, so goes the commercial insurance market,” says Carolyn Pare, Action Group president and CEO. “Many busy clinicians haven’t been performing the simple blood test to diagnose prediabetes because of the lack of coverage for care. With reimbursement incentives, the hope is to prevent or delay the onset of symptoms to improve quality of life and reduce costs.”

Type 2 diabetes is by no means affecting only the senior population. One in three American adults — or about 86 million people — have prediabetes, and 90 percent of them don’t know it. Without intervention, up to 30 percent in this group will develop type 2 diabetes within five years, leading to significant cost and quality of life challenges.

The Minnesota Department of Health is collaborating with The Action Group to engage employers and insurers statewide to make the National Diabetes Prevention Program a covered benefit for employees. This proven lifestyle change program can cut the risk of diabetes in half. To view and use the Centers for Disease Controls’ newly updated Diabetes Prevention Impact Toolkit, designed for states, employers, and insurers, please click here.

September Choosing Wisely Employee Communications

Complimentary September Choosing Wisely employee communications (click on 2017 MN Campaign in the left column) from The Action Group and Consumer Reports are ready! These complimentary employee communications help improve patient/provider conversations and reduce health care system waste.

As fall weather sets in, it’s a sure bet that cold and flu season is ahead. The new Choosing Wisely content will help your employees understand when antibiotics are and aren’t needed.

And in breaking news, a recent analysis fails to find evidence to support the notion that patients who do not take the full course of prescribed antibiotics will put themselves and others at risk for antibiotic resistance. Click here to read how prescribing antibiotics just got even more complicated.

Choosing Wisely content is available at no cost to all Minnesota employers. Action Group members have access to the entire 12 months of content by logging into the Member Center on the homepage.

Member Only Meetings:
Not yet a member and see something of interest? Contact us for a complimentary meeting pass (excludes Summit):
  • 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:


“”People have become increasingly stressed and depressed in our society. Social media continues to paradoxically cause people to be more isolated and out of touch with their feelings.”
Dr. Seth Mandel, psychiatry director, Huntington Hospital

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