Let’s Take Action on Behalf of Minnesotans–Blog by Ken Horstman, Senior Director of Total Compensation, University of Minnesota, Action Group Chairman of the Board

Given the current climate of uncertainty in the marketplace, it has never been more important for employers from diverse backgrounds and business sectors to use their collective voice to ensure the affordability and accessibility of health care in our communities and workplaces. And, as a member-led coalition, The Action Group offers unique and ready opportunities for every member to contribute toward improving the health care system for their own employees — and for all Minnesotans.

In my new role as chairman of the board for The Action Group, I’m looking forward to focusing on growing Action Group membership and calling upon all members to become fully engaged in our high-value initiatives to ensure that our strength and positive influence continues to grow at state and national levels. To paraphrase: “Action Group coalition life is not a spectator sport.” We can find avenues to give everyone a chance to contribute, whether in a leadership or contributor role, in ways that provide personal and professional satisfaction. Here are just a few ideas:

I have been an Action Group member for 15 years, and have seen the value of uniting as a health care purchasing collective time and again. In a recent example, following two years of studying the high cost of specialty drugs and a Community Dialogue, we rolled out the concept of getting the 5 Rights Right: Right drug, right price, right place, right support, right data. The Action Group has now convened a multi-stakeholder Guiding Coalition to determine specific action items to effect change in Minnesota and nationally. In response, we’re already seeing many vendors setting specific goals to address challenges related to the rising cost of specialty drugs.

Additionally, our Specialty Drug Learning and Action Network has gained national recognition and support from several employer organizations and their members. Organizations such as the Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR), the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions (formerly the National Business Coalition on Health or NBCH), and the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) have agreed to support each other and us in pursuing the “5 Rights” at local and national levels.

In the coming year, I’m looking forward to seeing current members take part in this member-led coalition, and welcoming new members who will help us set the stage for the future. Let’s roll up our sleeves and do together what none us can do alone.

Ken Horstman is Senior Director of Total Compensation, University of Minnesota, and Action Group Chairman of the Board