As the former* manager of Health Solutions for the State of Minnesota, Beth Lundholm’s duties range from managing vendors, to overseeing wellness programs, to handling case management issues with health plans.
The first thing Beth did when she joined the State three years ago was conduct an audit of programs and vendors to determine what was and wasn’t working well. One of the biggest challenges, she discovered, was analyzing reports from three different health plans in apples-to-apples fashion. She was searching for program-specific — not vendor-specific — results.
That’s when Beth tapped into The Action Group’s integrated approach to assessing cost and quality measures She also became active in the coalition’s Learning Networks on overuse, high cost, and variability of medical interventions for certain conditions. Because the State has a relatively high median age, Beth found the Learning Network on Back Pain and Surgery especially helpful.
“The ‘Purchaser Guide on Back Pain and Surgery’ has been invaluable to me,” Beth says. “I can’t be an expert on everything, and this gives me the platform I need to speak intelligently about the topic, and to hold all of our health plans to the same standards on behalf of our employees.”
The Purchaser Guides make “gold standard” recommendations that help ensure State of Minnesota employees are receiving the best possible level of care that results in the best possible outcomes, according to Beth.
Beth frequently revisits page 10 in the Purchaser Guide, which summarizes standards and expectations, to see whether the State is making progress in improving health for employees who are considering, or have had, back surgery.
“Being part of the Learning Networks, and having a hand in shaping Purchaser Guide content, has been a great experience” says Beth. “It’s a rare opportunity to be at the table with my peers and with health plans and care providers. The open forum allows us to ask hard questions to ensure purchasers are getting the most value for their health care dollars.”