Taking Action Express: Thank You Summit Sponsors! Specialty Rx Beacon of Hope; Capitol News

MARCH 7, 2017

Action Group Summit Sponsors Announced!

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.

“Representing loyal favorites from previous years, and exciting new organizations, we are grateful to our Summit sponsors for their invaluable support,” says Deb Krause, Action Group vice president. “Their shared passion for health care, a focus on solutions, and a dedication to serving employers and delivering value are second to none.” Please click below to register and take advantage of our EARLY BIRD SPECIAL, or here to learn more.


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

Public Meetings and Events:

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

Action Group Efforts a Beacon for Managing Specialty Drugs

Following two years of study and a Community Dialogue on reining in the high cost of specialty drugs, The Action Group convened for the first time a multi-stakeholder Guiding Coalition to determine specific action items, deliverables, and a timeline to effect change in Minnesota and nationally.

“Having representatives from health plans, provider organizations, pharmacy benefit managers, specialty pharmacies, and manufacturers at the table means we can all work collaboratively to develop real-world solutions,” says Carolyn Pare, Action Group president and CEO. “We are also pleased to report that other organizations are adopting the framework we developed to gain control over the high cost of specialty drugs. We are all committed to getting the 5 rights, right: Right drug, right price, right place, right patient support, right data.”

(Please click here to view a blog about why getting the 5 rights, right matters, along with a Stakeholder Call to Action and the Community Dialogue presentation.

NEW ARTICLE! “PBMs call for more transparency on drug prices.”)

Specialty Rx Guiding Coalition members are ready to implement real-world solutions to cost and quality challenges


80% by 2018: Fighting Colon Cancer through Screenings

Employers Uniquely Positioned to Break Down Barriers 

Since 2000, March has been designated as Colon Cancer Awareness Month. To drive a measurable increase in screenings and reduce deaths due to colon cancer, the American Cancer Society introduced the “80% by 2018” initiative. It’s a national effort to raise colon cancer screening rates to 80% by 2018.

Health care providers and individuals play a role in improving screening rates, but there is also an important role for employers. Read all about it in this new blog from Deb Krause, Action Group vice president and past chair of the American Cancer Society Minnesota State Leadership Board. In Deb’s blog, you will find many free and helpful resources and advice for raising awareness in the workplace.


February Member Meeting Recap: Care Coordination  

There was a large turnout for the February Action Group member meeting: Care Coordination: Holy Grail, or Within Reach? Beginning with the health plan perspective, three employers followed with case studies about how their leading organizations are innovating to ensure care is coordinated so patients receive safe, appropriate and effective care. Attendees learned how they can focus on practical solutions to drive marketplace transformation. Members may access the entire presentation through the member center on The Action Group’s homepage. Not yet an Action Group member, but want to learn more about the many benefits of membership? Please click here.

Related and Interesting:

April National Alliance Summits: Mental Health; Well-being

Registration is open for the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions’ Summits on mental health and well-being, to be held April 25 and 26 in Denver, CO.

Topics include Moving Mountains on Mental Health, and Shooting for the Moon — Shifting the Focus to People and Profitability.

Aside from offering exceptional learning and networking opportunities, Action Group employer members save $200 on registration because of our National Alliance membership! Click here to learn more and to register.


“Uncertainty” is a word commonly being heard in Capitol health and human services discussions these days. The most recent budget forecast for FY18-19 reported a $1.65 billion surplus for the state, which is generally cause for celebration. However, pending federal decisions around the Affordable Care Act will have a tremendous impact on Minnesota – some documents have shown a potential loss of $1.3 billion, depending how Congress decides to proceed. In the midst of all this, the state legislature also expects to release their budget targets within the next several days, which will help shape the remainder of the legislative session.

A couple pieces of legislation of interest to the Action Group are winding their way through the process as well. The first is House File 1517, which is a proposal brought forward by the Minnesota Medical Association for the purpose of federal conformity with the recent MACRA updates. The bill does reduce the number of measures that could be evaluated, but also creates an advisory group for the process that seeks the input of a health care purchaser. The Department of Health is discussing this proposal with the legislature, as is Minnesota Community Measurement. The most recent version of the bill can be found here.

The other major piece of legislation moving forward is the resurrection of the state’s high-risk insurance pool for individuals. Both the House and Senate have plans to stabilize the individual insurance market, which the Department of Commerce says needs to be achieved by March 31, 2017. How to pay for this new risk pool is proving to be a challenge, as many are looking to the Provider Tax for those funds. Currently scheduled to sunset in December of 2019, that tax may not provide a stable funding source going forward.

The House and Senate bills for the reinsurance pool are below:

“The main goal of care coordination is to meet patients’ needs and preferences in the delivery of high-quality, high-value health care.”

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

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