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QCDR Webinars Provide MIPS Information on Your Schedule

MN Community Measurement’s recorded webinars allow you to gain useful insight at a time and location convenient to you and your schedule.

MNCM was asked by both the MediSota and Minnesota Rural Health Cooperative alliances to present a webinar on the MIPS program and specifically MNCM’s Qualified Clinical Data Registry on January 11. The webinar will answer questions and reveal similar information that was previously discussed in MNCM’s prior two public QCDR Webinars. View the previous MNCM webinars under the “learn more” section of the QPP/MIPS page at this link.

MIPS submissions are due to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on March 31! Please act now if you are interested in working with MNCM on this important submission.

Contact Tony Weldon at for registration and other information.


MNCM Seeks Medical Groups for COPD Measure Pilot

MN Community Measurement (MNCM) is seeking volunteers to participate in the pilot testing of a new measure for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—Controlling the Impact of COPD on Health Status.

Pilot testing focuses on the development and testing of a patient reported outcome (PRO) performance measure.

Family medicine, internal medicine, geriatric medicine and pulmonology practices that care for patients with COPD are encouraged to participate in the pilot.

Eligible medical groups will be compensated for their pilot participation.

Please see for more details.


Cycle C Snapshot Results Available

As part of ongoing efforts to communicate health care performance results in a timely and user-friendly way, MNCM has created a “snapshot” from the 2017 Cycle C measure reporting period. Cycle A and Cycle B snapshots were published in the fall of 2017.

This snapshot is a summary of the Cycle C information that will be published in the Health Care Quality Report, which is anticipated to be released in early 2018. Measures in the Cycle C Snapshot include Optimal Asthma Control – Adults, Optimal Asthma Control – Children, Colorectal Cancer Screening and Maternity Care: Cesarean Section Rate.

Click here for the Cycle C Measures Snapshot link.

This information can be used to aid decision making associated with quality improvement efforts.

In 2017 (Dates of service July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017), the statewide rate for Optimal Asthma Control – Adults was 49 percent and 57 percent for Optimal Asthma Control – Children. The statewide rate for Colorectal Cancer Screening was 73 percent. For the Maternity Care: Cesarean Section Rate measure, where a lower rate can indicate better quality care, the statewide rate was 23 percent.

The Cycle C Snapshot includes links to measure results on, a table of the top medical groups by performance on Cycle C measures and information on where to access helpful provider and patient tools.

MNCN appreciate the significant contributions of clinics, medical groups, health plans, hospitals and other professional organizations that provide data to MN Community Measurement. Achieving our mission to accelerate the improvement of health by publicly reporting health care information relies on this collaborative, multi-stakeholder effort. MNCM strives to continue to be the trusted source for performance measurement, data sharing and public reporting locally and nationally.


Zimmerman Joins MN Community Measurement Board

MN Community Measurement is pleased to announce Marie Zimmerman has joined the Board of Directors.

Zimmerman has devoted more than a decade to public-sector health care in Minnesota, spearheading critical reforms and innovations that have been watched and emulated nationally. Appointed Minnesota’s Medicaid Director in 2014, Marie oversees the strategic policy direction and the core business functions of Medicaid and the Basic Health Program (BHP), called MinnesotaCare. The combined budgets of Medicaid and MinnesotaCare topped $11.5 billion in 2016 and provide health coverage to one in five Minnesotans, delivering health care, behavioral health services and long-term services and supports to more than one million people.

During Zimmerman’s tenure, the state has saved more than $1.5 billion through managed care reform and purchasing innovations. Savings include $213 million related to improved health outcomes for Medicaid enrollees through an accountable care model called Integrated Health Partnerships; a collaborative, patient-focused approach to delivering care while lowering cost. In addition, Zimmerman managed a successful Basic Health Program that provides affordable and comprehensive coverage for lower-income Minnesotans who do not qualify for Medicaid. Prior to her service as Medicaid Director, she acted as health care policy director for the Minnesota Department of Human Services, where she led early efforts to reform health care purchasing for Medicaid, moving the state toward a pay-for-value model.

Zimmerman is a recipient of the Women in Health Care Leadership Award from Women’s Health Leadership TRUST. She serves on the boards of the National Academy for State Health Policy and the National Association of Medicaid Directors. She holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

Link to MN Community Measurement Board of Directors.


Christianson Joins MN Community Measurement Board

MN Community Measurement is pleased to announce Jon Christianson has joined the Board of Directors. Christianson received his PhD in economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is on the faculty of the Division of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota and has held the James A. Hamilton Chair in Health Policy and Management since 1998. Professor Christianson has authored ten books and more than 200 journal articles and book chapters. He has received the Annual Research Award of the National Institute for Health Care Management and chaired AcademyHealth’s annual research meeting.

Professor Christianson’s recent research has focused on measurement and reporting of provider performance, physician payment arrangements and health care purchasers. He regularly teaches graduate courses on the health care system and on health care purchasers and health insurers. From 1998-2000, Professor Christianson served on the Institute of Medicine committee that produced the report To Err Is Human. More recently, he was a member of the IOM’s Geographic Adjustment Factors in Medicare Payment Committee and served six years on the IOM’s Board on Health Care Services which oversees all IOM health service projects. He currently is Vice-Chair of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, which advises Congress on Medicare.

Link to MN Community Measurement Board of Directors.


MNCM Seeking Medical Group Testing Participants for COPD Measure Development

Indicate Interest by 02/28/2018

MN Community Measurement (MNCM) is seeking volunteers to participate in the pilot testing of a new measure for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—Controlling the Impact of COPD on Health Status. Pilot testing focuses on the development and testing of a patient reported outcome (PRO) performance measure.

The measure was developed by a MNCM-convened, multi-stakeholder COPD Measure Development Workgroup, which completed the development of measure specifications in November 2016.

Measure Description:

The percentage of patients aged 50 – 80 years whose self-reported impact of COPD on their health status was low, stable or improved, as determined by the COPD Assessment Test (CAT) or Clinical COPD Questionnaire (CCQ). For more details, view Controlling the Impact of COPD on Health Status Measure and Field Specifications.

Family medicine, internal medicine, geriatric medicine and pulmonology practices that care for patients with COPD are encouraged to participate in the pilot. There are many benefits to participating in a pilot project, including but not limited to: implementation of PRO tools into clinical workflows and electronic record systems, providing feedback for the modification of measure specifications, the ability to have baseline data prior to wide-spread implementation, and the opportunity to gain experience in the measurement activity. Eligible medical groups will be compensated for the pilot– up to $2,000 after execution of contract, and up to $8,000 after successful data submission.

In order to have a representative and informative pilot, we need groups to volunteer to participate! Pilot dates of service start April 1, 2018.

Participation is voluntary, and all results used to analyze the measure’s performance and feasibility will be shared with pilot participants, blinded and not publicly reported.

If you are interested in potentially serving as a test site, please complete this brief survey.  We will review the survey responses to help us select eligible practices.

If you have questions, please contact Tony Weldon at or 612-454-4810. We look forward to working with you!

About this Project

MNCM is leading this measure development project with support from the National Quality Forum (NQF) Measure Incubator™. GlaxoSmithKline, a global leader in respiratory disease, is collaborating with the Measure Incubator as the sponsor of the project. See the NQF website to learn more about the Measure Incubator’s current work.


Minnesota Earns “A” Grade for Quality Measurement Transparency

Minnesota is one of only three states that earned an “A” grade for transparency of physician quality measures in a recent report by Altarum’s Center for Payment Innovation and Catalyst for Payment Reform. Along with Washington and California, Minnesota earned an “A” grade for quality transparency that is based on the following criteria: independent and impartial; data are freely available; data are timely; data are available on large numbers of providers; quality measures used are meaningful; and information is easily found and understood by consumers.

The report also ranks states on price transparency, based on whether the state has a law requiring price transparency. Two states (Maine and New Hampshire) earned an “A” on this ranking. Although Minnesota does not have a law requiring a price transparency website, the pricing information that MNCM makes available through is comparable to what is being published through those state-mandated websites.


7 Side Effects of Cancer Treatment, and How to Cope with Them

Related News: from

More than 1.5 million men and women were diagnosed with some form of cancer in 2010, the National Cancer Institute estimates. The treatment options for most of them probably included chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. But the treatments often produce side effects including nausea, pain and fatigue. For patients, such side effects can take over daily life. They can make patients uncomfortable at best and miserable at worst sometimes affecting their ability to stick to their treatments, or making treatments less effective than they could be. Read more here.


New Report Highlights Minnesota Health Care Cost Trends and Variation, with Overall Modest Increase in Cost Last Year

The total cost of medical care increased 3.4 percent from 2015 to 2016 for commercially-insured patients according to a new report released by MN Community Measurement (MNCM).

The report shows an increase in average costs for commercially-insured patients per month from $474 in 2015 to $490 in 2016. Growth in 2016 was lower than the previous year (5.6 percent), but higher than the 3.1 percent growth recorded in 2014.

“Although cost growth in 2016 was moderate compared to historical averages, affordability continues to be a major concern. This problem affects just about everyone, and it is one that we must work together to solve,” said Julie Sonier, MNCM President.

“This report is one way that MN Community Measurement is bringing the power of data, measurement and transparency to the health care affordability discussion here in Minnesota,” said Sonier.

The 2017 Cost and Utilization Report provides the most current comparable and validated cost of health care information, at a level of detail that provides a unique view of health care cost and the drivers of cost in Minnesota.

Report Highlights

The report includes several types of information on health care costs: average costs for 118 common medical procedures; the average total cost of care (TCOC); information on resource use and prices to provide insight and context for understanding variations or differences in total cost; and data on variations in utilization for specific types of services. These data are published at the statewide, regional and medical group levels.

Examples of findings in the 2017 Cost & Utilization Report include:

  • Costs for common medical procedures: There is substantial variation across medical groups in the amounts that they are paid for the same procedure. For example, the amount that providers are paid for an ankle X-ray averages $72, but ranges from $26 to $201. Similarly, the average payment for reading an eye chart was $6 in 2016, but ranged from $4 to $46 across different medical groups.
  • Total Cost of Care: Across the 122 medical groups included in this report, TCOC averaged $490 in 2016, with a range of $386 to $977 per patient per month on a risk adjusted basis. TCOC for men is lower than TCOC for women and lower for children than adults.
  • Resource use and price: Across medical groups, the analysis finds about a 70 percent variation in resource use and 90 percent variation in price, after accounting for patient risk.
  • Utilization of services: Analysis of emergency room use shows a three-fold difference in use after adjusting for patient illness.

“Better understanding of how much variation we have in our medical care system and what factors contribute to the variation is a starting point for strategies to make health care more affordable,” said Sonier. “The measures in this report provide unique insight for comparing and taking actions to manage and reduce health care costs.”

The report uses data from 2016 health insurance claims of more than 1.5 million commercially-insured patients (i.e. those with private health insurance, both individual and employer-sponsored) enrolled with four Minnesota health plans: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners, Medica and PreferredOne.

In addition to this report, MNCM publishes total cost of care and the average cost of 118 common medical procedures by medical group level on its consumer-oriented website,

View the current and previous MNCM cost of care reports here.




The role of measurement in overcoming health disparities, with insight from MN Community Measurement (MNCM), was the featured topic during the November 6, 2017 edition of Community Health Dialogues, a radio program on KMOJ FM.

Julie Sonier, President of MNCM, was joined by Gaye Adams Massey Co-Chair of the MNCM Health Equity Advisory Council (HEAC) and Anne Snowden Director of Performance Measurement & Reporting at MNCM.

Want to hear the Community Health Dialogues program again? Click here to listen to the entire conversation.

The weekly radio program is hosted by Clarence Jones. Jones participated at the MNCM Annual Seminar 2017 and spoke about the Clippers ‘N Curls program to reduce incidents of heart attack and stroke in the African American population. Jones invited MNCM to continue the panel discussion, titled In Pursuit of Health Equity, from the seminar, onto the air waves and directly with KMOJ listeners.

“There are so many things that impact good health,” said Adams Massey. She shared her insight as both the co-chair of the HEAC and also as CEO of the YWCA of Saint Paul.

The discussion touched on the importance of collecting health data in efforts to reduce health disparities. Definitions of health equity were shared, as well as the methods used to collect quality measurement data and the usefulness of this information in helping providers and patients to overcome barriers.

“This data is about getting Minnesota healthier,” said Sonier. MNCM works to not only collect the data, added Sonier, but also to disseminate it so that the public and health care professionals can better understand the result and take action based on the results.

The three panelists invited listeners to think of health broadly, more than doctors and nurses. The data, they added, is a tool to help come up with solutions to health disparities.

Sonier ended the program with an invitation for KMOJ listeners to visit and to think of other ways that MNCM could work with community groups to reduce health disparities though quality measurement data.

In addition to the weekly radio program, Jones is outreach director of Southside Community Health Services and Q Health Connections which works with community partners to offer free, weekly blood pressure screenings.