All posts in Press Releases

New Report Shows Health Care Disparities Persist, Changes Deliver Improved Health Outcomes to Some

Adults and children enrolled in Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare receive certain cancer screenings, immunization and care for asthma, depression and diabetes less frequently than Minnesotans who have private or employer-based health insurance, according to a report published by MN Community Measurement (MNCM) with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). A difference between populations, or groups of people, in either access to care or health outcomes indicates that there is disparity.

The 2016 Health Care Disparities Report shows public program enrollees were 19 percent less likely to receive colorectal cancer screening; 16 percent less likely to be screened for breast cancer; 15 percent less likely to receive optimal diabetes care; 12 percent less likely to achieve childhood immunization status and children age 5-17 were 12 percent less likely to receive optimal asthma control when compared to those with private health insurance.

“This report highlights that there is still significant room for improvement to reduce health care disparities,” said Jim Chase, MNCM President.

The 2016 Health Care Disparities Report provides health care performance rates for patients enrolled in Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) including Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare. Patients enrolled in MHCP represent a population considered at-risk and include a high number of persons of color, American Indians, persons with disabilities and elderly adults. By using MHCP enrollment as a proxy for socioeconomic status, this report evaluates health care disparities that exist as a result of socioeconomic status.

The 2016 Health Care Disparities Report link: mncm.org/health-care-disparities-report

Improved Health Outcomes

Despite the gaps, Minnesota patients have seen improved health outcomes in most areas measured since the first Health Care Disparities Report was issued ten years ago.

The statewide average for public program enrollees receiving childhood immunization is now 71 percent and has increased 22 percent since first reported in 2007. The statewide average for public program enrollees receiving appropriate testing for pharyngitis, commonly called sore throat, is now 90 percent and has increased 18 percent since first reported in 2007.

Five measures showed statistically significant improvement between 2015 and 2016, including Optimal Asthma Control for Children; Childhood Immunization Status; Colorectal Cancer Screening; Appropriate Testing for Children with Pharyngitis and Appropriate Treatment for Children with Upper Respiratory Infections.

Above Average Medical Groups

All 12 measures in the report are examined at a statewide and medical group level. Medical groups with rates greater than the state average for MHCP patients are noted as above average. For example, Fairview Health Services is listed above average on nine separate measures.

“Fairview is committed to quality health care for all,” said Valerie Overton, DNP, FNP-BC, Vice President Quality and Innovation at Fairview. “We have a two-pronged approach to reducing disparities. The first is to ensure highly reliable processes that deliver quality to every patient with every interaction. The second is to continue our journey to fully understand various populations and individuals. We are using this understanding to customize care approaches when needed to deliver great health care outcomes for all our patients.”

 

“Both the journey to ensure highly reliable processes and to thoroughly understand our various populations takes time and growth for us as an organization,” added Overton. “MN Community Measurement has been a great partner by bringing clarity on health disparities through this report.”

Report Context

In 2016, more than 900,000 Minnesotans received health care coverage through Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare programs overseen by DHS.

Due to the at-risk nature of the MHCP patient population, the Minnesota State Legislature directed DHS in 2005 to establish a performance reporting and quality improvement system for medical groups and clinics providing health care services to patients enrolled in the managed care component of MHCP. The inaugural Health Care Disparities Report was released in 2007, evaluating care provided in 2006, and was the first in the nation to include local level information that was actionable for medical groups and clinics.

This report supplies objective data and brings accountability to medical groups and clinics, allowing them to reflect on their own results and identify areas for improvement within their systems.

“Our mission is to drive substantial health care improvement and reduce gaps in care more quickly for Minnesota’s most vulnerable patients,” said Chase. “Measures help us understand where we are, and where we want to be.”

About Us: MN Community Measurement is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health by publicly reporting health care information. A trusted source of health care data and public reporting on quality, cost and patient experience since 2003, MNCM works with medical groups, health plans, employers, consumers and state agencies to spur quality improvement, reduce health care costs and maximize value. Learn more at MNCM.org.

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Julie Sonier named new President of MN Community Measurement

MN Community Measurement (MNCM) today announced that Julie Sonier has been named President of MNCM. Sonier is only the second person to lead MNCM and will succeed current MNCM President Jim Chase who announced in October 2016 that he would step down in 2017.

“Julie Sonier is very familiar with our work, having served on the Board, and she comes to MN Community Measurement with a wealth of strong relationships and immense respect within the community,” said MNCM Board Chair Tim Hernandez, MD. “Julie will lead MN Community Measurement into its next decade and bring new vitality to our efforts to accelerate the improvement of health at an important time of change in our health care system. We are excited about having Julie join us, and at the same time we will miss Jim.”

Sonier is scheduled to begin May 1. Chase will continue to serve MNCM through April 28.

“I look forward to this opportunity to deliver and demonstrate value to our partners and the community,” said Sonier. “MN Community Measurement is one of the best examples nationally of the power of collaboration among stakeholders from across the health care spectrum to achieve results that none could achieve alone.”

Sonier brings nearly 20 years of experience working to improve health care in Minnesota. She has in-depth knowledge of the health care financing and delivery systems, as well as the state and federal policy landscapes and their associated challenges and opportunities. She has a reputation as a knowledgeable, trustworthy, creative and thoughtful leader in Minnesota’s health policy community.

Prior to MNCM, Sonier served as Director of Minnesota’s State Employee Group Insurance Program, where she worked with labor unions, health plans, other employers, state agencies, state policymakers and others on initiatives to improve health and health care through the design of insurance benefits and value-based health care purchasing. She served as lead staff for Governor Tim Pawlenty’s Health Care Transformation Task Force in 2007-2008 which brought together stakeholders from across the health policy community in Minnesota to develop nation-leading initiatives aimed at improving health care cost, quality and access. She has served as Deputy Director of the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota and as State Health Economist/Health Economics Program Director for the Minnesota Department of Health. Sonier has a MPA in economics and public policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in Princeton, NJ and a BA in economics from Amherst College in Amherst, MA.

MNCM started as a pilot project in 2003 to share diabetes care outcomes at medical groups across the state. In 2004, MNCM released its first public quality report. The report provided information about care in areas such as asthma, diabetes, breast and cervical cancer and well child visits. In 2006, MNCM became the first in the nation to use electronic medical records to collect health care quality measures from clinics across the state.

“MN Community Measurement is in a strong and respected position because of the leadership of Jim Chase for more than a decade,” said Dr. Hernandez.

During his tenure at MNCM Chase has led numerous initiatives, including development of more than 70 measures used by health plans, medical groups, consumer organizations and policy makers across the state. MNCM collects information on quality and patient experience from more than 1,500 clinics, 500 medical groups and 135 hospitals and reports on health care quality, cost, health equity, and health care disparities through its public reporting website MNHealthScores.org. MNCM has led the country in use of patient reported outcome measures. The National Quality Forum, considered the gold standard for health care measurement in the United States, has endorsed nine MNCM measures for conditions including knee replacement, spine surgery and care for diabetes, depression, asthma and heart and arteries.

“MN Community Measurement has a solid foundation to continue to lead towards better value in health care especially as organizations move towards greater transparency around quality and cost,” said Dr. Hernandez.

About Us: MN Community Measurement is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health by publicly reporting health care information. A trusted source of health care data and public reporting on quality, cost and patient experience since 2003, MNCM works with medical groups, health plans, employers, consumers and state agencies to spur quality improvement, reduce health care costs and maximize value. Learn more at MNCM.org.

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Health Care Quality Report Shows Increases in Teen Mental Health Screening and Immunizations for Adolescents

Health Care Quality Report Shows Increases in Teen Mental Health Screening and Immunizations for Adolescents

The number of Minnesota teens receiving a mental health screening increased between 2015 and 2016. Likewise, the number of Minnesota adolescents receiving recommended immunizations also increased from the previous year. These findings, and results of more than 30 individual clinical quality measures, are part of a new report published March 2 by MN Community Measurement (MNCM).

The annual MNCM Health Care Quality Report, now in its 13th edition, compares clinic, medical group and hospital performance on clinical measures related to preventive and chronic care, hospital care and health information technology. An objective of the Health Care Quality Report is to provide reliable information to support medical group quality improvement. An equally important objective is greater health care transparency by sharing results with the public at-large.

The report is at www.mncm.org/health-care-quality-report

“This report provides valid and reliable information to help consumers make informed decisions about their health care,” said Jim Chase, MNCM President. “This report also contains actionable, reliable and comparable information for providers to use in their efforts to improve patient care and outcomes.”

Examples of Health Care Quality Report results:

  • The statewide screening rate for Teen Mental Health Screening increased from 40 percent in 2015 to 64 percent in 2016. This is a 24 percentage point increase in adolescent patients receiving mental health and/or depression screening at a well-child visit. This means that 64 out of 100 youth ages 12 through 17 were screened for depression and other mental health conditions at their well child exams. The Teen Mental Health Screening measure notes how many patients age 12 through 17 were screened for social, emotional and behavioral disorders by their primary care provider at a well-child visit.
  • The statewide rate for Immunizations for Adolescents increased from 75 percent in 2015 to 85 percent in 2016. This is a 10 percentage point increase in adolescents receiving immunization. This means 85 of 100 adolescents had their meningococcal and either Tdap or Td vaccines by their 13th birthday. This measure is calculated both on a statewide basis as noted above, and also an average of all medical groups reporting. The rate of Immunizations for Adolescents by all reporting medical groups, and reported on MNHealthScores.org, is 87 percent. The Immunizations for Adolescents measure shows how well Minnesota health care providers performed in keeping adolescents current on meningococcal (meningitis) and either Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) or Td (tetanus and diphtheria) vaccines.

“These results show that when Minnesota providers focus on a particular area, there can be a substantial positive impact,” said Chase.

Additional Health Care Quality Report key results

Two clinical measures showed noticeable improvement in their statewide rates:

  • Pediatric Preventive Care: Overweight Counseling – The statewide rate increased from 85 percent in 2015 to 89 percent in 2016.
  • Optimal Asthma Control – Adults – The statewide rate increased from 52 percent in 2015 to 55 percent in 2016.

Thirteen other clinical measures showed some small improvements in their statewide rates. Measures with increases or noted improvement include Childhood Immunization Status (Combo 3); Chlamydia Screening in Women; Appropriate Testing for Children with Pharyngitis; Appropriate Treatment for Children with Upper Respiratory Infections; Colorectal Cancer Screening; Breast Cancer Screening; Use of Spirometry Testing in the Assessment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; Follow-up Care for Children Prescribed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Medication; Total Knee Replacement pre-op and post-op; Spinal Surgery Discectomy/Laminotomy Functional Status; Spinal Surgery Discectomy/Laminotomy pre-op and post-op; Spinal Surgery Lumbar Fusion pre-op and post-op and Maternity Care: C-Section Rate.

Six medical groups achieved rates that were above average for a cluster of primary care measures. Julie Gerndt, MD, is Chief Medical Officer at Mankato Clinic and was not surprised that Mankato Clinic was among the high performing medical groups across Minnesota.

“We expected to do well based on the commitment we made as an organization several years ago to redesign our care model for better patient outcomes,” said Dr. Gerndt. “That work is paying off.”

Park Nicollet Health, HealthPartners Clinics, Mankato Clinic, Stillwater Medical Group, Fairview Health Services and Allina Health each achieved above-average rates on at least half of the primary care clinical measures.

“These results validate that if you keep working at this over time and make it a priority, you can have an impact,” said Dr. Gerndt.

The Health Care Quality Report is organized for ease of use to both the clinician and the public at-large. The report contains easy to read tables for specific conditions or procedures, grouped by large and moderate improvement, increase or decrease. Trends are noted where a trend exists. More than 300 medical groups and 1,600 clinics are registered to submit data to MNCM. The annual Health Care Quality Report is a compilation of all measures publicly reported by MNCM during the year. Individual medical group results are also available year-round at MNHealthScores.org.

About Us

MN Community Measurement is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health by publicly reporting health care information. A trusted source of health care data and public reporting on quality, cost and patient experience since 2003, MNCM works with medical groups, health plans, employers, consumers and state agencies to spur quality improvement, reduce health care costs and maximize value. Learn more at MNCM.org.

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Equity Report Shows Continued Gaps in Health Care for Many Minnesotans

For many Minnesotans, good health can be elusive, especially for people of color and new immigrants. Health care outcomes vary widely based on where a person lives, their race, preferred language or country of origin, according to a new report from MN Community Measurement (MNCM).

The 2016 Health Equity of Care Report pinpoints distinct differences in health care between numerous patient populations and geographic regions across Minnesota. Results in the 2016 Health Equity of Care Report clearly show that some racial, ethnic, language and country of origin groups have consistently poorer health care outcomes than other groups. The report also shows how those rates vary by medical group across the state and gives examples of what groups are doing to improve outcomes for their patients.

“Minnesota is one of the healthiest states in the nation, at the same time we have some clear and persistent inequities in health status,” said Jim Chase, MNCM President. “Patients from specific geographic regions and populations, including those in Greater Minnesota, people of color, people who identify as Hispanic, immigrants and people who do not speak proficient English are less likely to receive preventive screenings and more likely to suffer from negative health outcomes.”

The third annual Health Equity of Care Report released by MNCM provides a new benchmark in understanding health inequity in Minnesota. The report is at http://mncm.org/health-equity-of-care-report/

The report’s major findings include:

  • White patients generally had better health care outcomes across most measures and most geographic areas.
  • Patients in Greater Minnesota overall had poorer health outcomes than patients in the 13-county Metro area.
  • Patients born in Asian countries tend to have better outcomes across multiple quality measures and geographic regions than patients in other country of origin groups.
  • Generally, patients from large medical groups in the Metro area had higher rates of optimal care.
  • Across measures and geographic areas, American Indian or Alaska Native and Black or African American patients generally had the lowest health outcomes both statewide and regionally.
  • Hispanic patients generally had poorer health care outcomes than non-Hispanic patients across all quality measures and most geographic regions.
  • Patients born in Laos, Somalia and Mexico generally had poorer outcomes than other groups.
  • Patients who preferred speaking Hmong, Somali and Spanish generally had lower screening and care rates compared to other preferred language groups.

Despite the somewhat stark results, examples of success exist and several such examples are featured in the 2016 Health Equity of Care Report. South Lake Pediatrics is highlighted in the report as one such example for their positive results for numerous populations for the Optimal Asthma Control for Children measure.

“We are very proud of our asthma work,” said Laura Saliterman MD, with South Lake Pediatrics. “A great deal of effort has gone into our asthma program and it has produced great results for our patients.”

The 2016 Health Equity of Care Report contains information collected from patients seen for appointments at medical groups throughout Minnesota, and evaluates health care quality in seven areas. Results for the seven health care quality measures were segmented by race, Hispanic ethnicity, preferred language and country of origin. These measures are further reported at statewide, regional and medical group levels. The seven measures are: Adolescent Mental Health and/or Depression Screening, Adolescent Overweight Counseling, Colorectal Cancer Screening, Optimal Asthma Control for Adults, Optimal Asthma Control for Children, Optimal Diabetes Care and Optimal Vascular Care. The Adolescent Mental Health and/or Depression Screening and Adolescent Overweight Counseling measures are new in the 2016 Health Equity of Care Report.

“To reduce and eliminate the barriers to health equity, we must understand where they exist and their scope,” said Chase.

Background

This report is unique because medical groups across the state report the data in a standardized format, which allows MNCM to compare results across medical groups and regions.

MNCM released The Handbook on the Collection of Race/Ethnicity/Language Data in Medical Groups in 2008. This handbook defined and standardized the information that is to be collected from patients by clinics and medical groups, as well as set best practices for collection and reporting. Since then, Minnesota providers have steadily improved their collection and reporting of race, ethnicity, language and country of origin (REL) data. In 2016, nearly all Minnesota providers submitted REL data to MNCM and most did so using best practices. Only data from medical groups who have successfully demonstrated to MNCM that they follow these best practices is included in the Health Equity of Care Report.

Understanding why the gaps exist from one group to another and what can be done to reduce the barriers to optimal health are the reasons behind the MNCM effort to collect and report this information. Specific questions of why, and what is being done, according to Chase, are questions best answered by the state’s medical groups and others health equity advocates.

“We share this report with the community so that advocates, policymakers, public health professionals, communities of color and medical groups can take the necessary steps toward addressing the unique health concerns of their patients, stakeholders and constituents,” said Chase.

About Us

MN Community Measurement is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health by publicly reporting health care information. A trusted source of health care data and public reporting on quality, cost and patient experience since 2003, MNCM works with medical groups, health plans, employers, consumers and state agencies to spur quality improvement, reduce health care costs and maximize value. Learn more at MNCM.org.

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New report seeks to better understand the cost of care at Minnesota medical groups

New report seeks to better understand the cost of care at Minnesota medical groups

A new report from MN Community Measurement (MNCM) highlights the significant variation of costs across medical groups in Minnesota and examines the drivers that impact and influence health care costs.

“The continued rise of health care costs and the burden this places on families, businesses and the community makes it critical for medical groups and the community to work together,” said Jim Chase, MNCM President. “This is our endeavor in this new report.”

The 2016 Cost & Utilization Report features analysis and comparative data on medical group performance in Total Cost of Care (TCOC), which includes all costs associated with treating commercially-insured patients, including professional, facility inpatient and outpatient, pharmacy, lab, radiology, behavioral health and ancillary costs. MNCM posted total cost results in the fall on MNHealthScores.org. New in this report is information that breaks out the total cost into price and utilization.

This report shows the variation or difference in total cost by medical group. Further, the report shows how much of the variation was due to the amount medical groups were paid relative to others and how much was due to the utilization or use of services. The report also contains more detailed utilization measures such as the rate of admissions, emergency room visits, office visits and pharmacy use, using the same patients and time period as TCOC.

For example, the 2016 Cost & Utilization Report shows that depending on where you go for care:

  • A strep test can range from $8 to $101
  • Total Cost of Care can range from $365 to $914 per month on a risk adjusted basis
  • Amount of resource use for a patient ranges from 22 percent below average to 33percent above average, after accounting for patient risk
  • Emergency room use (utilization of ER as a health care service) ranges from 37 percent less than expected to 104 percent more than expected, after accounting for patient illness

A goal of the 2016 Cost & Utilization Report is to help medical groups better identify opportunities to reduce costs for their patients. The report helps evaluate the categories of care that are driving the majority of providers’ costs and the medical groups can then take actions to reduce their costs and provide more efficient care. The report helps consumers make informed decisions on where to receive care. Further, the report can be used by health plans, employers, and policy makers, all of whom have a stake in addressing the challenges of rising health care costs.

The 2016 Cost & Utilization Report includes a suite of measures which encompasses 119 separate measures of cost and utilization to give a comprehensive view of the drivers of health care costs.

The 2016 Cost & Utilization Report provides insight into individual procedure costs (Average Cost per Procedure chapter), statewide and regional views into total cost of care (TCOC chapter), along with newly published perspective on the resources used (Resource Use and Price Index chapter) and the utilization of health care (Utilization Ratios chapter). When possible, this report displays information on these measures statewide, regionally, and by medical group for ease of analysis.

Reviewed and considered as a whole or individually by chapter, these measures provide unique insight into tracking, comparing and taking actions to manage and reduce health care costs.

The results of these measures are based on 2015 health insurance claims of more than 1.5 million commercially-insured patients enrolled with four Minnesota health plans: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners, Medica and PreferredOne.

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

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New Data Shows MN Hospitals On Par With, Or Better Than, National Averages

MN Community Measurement (MNCM) today announced the availability of new results for five hospital-based health care quality measures. This information can be used to compare hospitals within Minnesota with state and national averages. The results are available at MNCM’s public reporting website MNHealthScores.org.

“These measures are relevant for patients seeking health care and also have value for hospitals as they strive to improve their quality of care,” said Jim Chase, MNCM President. “Hospitals have been submitting outcome data for years, and it’s important to draw attention to what they are reporting and to put it into context for patients.”

Three of the measures are based on mortality or death rates that occur within 30 days following hospitalizations for heart attack (acute myocardial infarction), heart failure and pneumonia. For these measures, lower rates of death are better. On all three measures, the statewide average was the same or lower than the national average. These results show that Minnesota hospitals had average or better than average performance compared to hospitals in other parts of the nation.

National Average/Minnesota Average

Heart attack      14.1%/13.5%
Heart failure      12.1%/12.1%
Pneumonia         16.3%/15.9%

For the heart attack measure, Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester performed significantly better (lower), at 11.6 percent, than the national average of 14.1 percent. Mayo Clinic Hospital was the only Minnesota hospital different than the national average. All other Minnesota hospitals were similar to the national average for the heart attack measure.

For the heart failure measure, Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester performed significantly better (lower), at 9.4 percent, than the national average of 12.1 percent. Mayo Clinic Hospital was the only Minnesota hospital different than the national average. All other Minnesota hospitals were similar to the national average for the heart failure measure.

For the pneumonia measure, Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital (13 percent) and Mayo Clinic Hospital (12.3 percent) performed significantly better (lower) than the national average of 16.3 percent. Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital and Mayo Clinic Hospital were the only two Minnesota hospitals different than the national average. All other Minnesota hospitals were similar to the national average for the pneumonia measure.

The remaining two measures are composites, meaning they combine two or more components of care and wrap them into one comparable result. This is a common way health care is analyzed nationally and in Minnesota.

Readmission Reduction Program (RRP) results
The RRP measure is a hospital’s readmission ratio. The goal is to avoid readmissions for the same condition within 30 days of discharge from the hospital. Two examples include pneumonia and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. A ratio of less than 1.0 means there were fewer readmissions across conditions than the national average. A ratio greater than 1.0 means there were more readmissions than the national average. For this measure, lower readmission ratios are better.

The statewide readmission average is .97 or 3 percent below the national average. Four hospitals performed significantly better than the statewide average in readmissions: Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester, Lakeview Memorial Hospital in Stillwater, Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato and HealthEast Woodwinds Hospital in Woodbury.

Emergency Department Transfer Communication (EDTC) results
One element of hospital quality can be seen in how hospitals communicate when transferring patients. The EDTC measure was developed to track communications and facilitate care coordination. It measures the percentage of patients with complete medical record documentation communicated to another healthcare facility prior to the patient being transferred. For this measure, higher results are better.

One hospital, Essentia Health in Fosston, scored 100 percent on this measure. The statewide EDTC average was 62 percent. This means that 62 percent of patients transferred from hospital emergency departments to another health care facility had the required documentation forwarded within 60 minutes of leaving the hospital.

Thirteen Minnesota hospitals performed significantly better than the statewide EDTC average, including: Bigfork Valley Hospital in Bigfork, CentraCare Health in Sauk Centre, CHI St Gabriel’s Health in Little Falls, CHI St Joseph’s Health in Park Rapids, Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby, Essentia Health in Fosston, Mayo Clinic Health System in Cannon Falls, Pipestone County Medical Center in Pipestone, Redwood Area Hospital in Redwood Falls, Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin, Sanford Jackson Medical Center, Sanford Tracy Medical Center and Windom Area Hospital in Windom.

Hospital-based health care quality measures are available at MNCM’s public reporting website MNHealthScores.org.

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Total Cost of Care Results Released: Total Cost Increased Nearly 6 Percent from Previous Year

New information published by MN Community Measurement (MNCM) allows consumers to compare the cost of care at medical groups across the state. The total cost of medical care in Minnesota increased 5.6 percent from 2014 to 2015 for commercially-insured patients, according to the latest data released by MNCM. View complete results for 2014 and 2015 in the 2016 Cost & Utilization Report 

“This increase is more than the previous year and greater than the average increase in people’s income in Minnesota,” said Jim Chase, MNCM President.

The MNCM data shows an increase for commercially-insured patients per month from $449 in 2014 to $474 in 2015. The increase was 3.2 percent between 2013 and 2014.

This is the third release of overall total cost of care (TCOC) information by MNCM. The first TCOC report occurred in 2014 and reported a TCOC in 2013 of $435 per commercially-insured patient per month. The data is available at MNCM’s public reporting website MNHealthScores.org.

“This data not only informs consumers,” said Chase, “the availability of these results provide useful information for our community about what is driving cost increases by medical group and by region.”

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Health Equity Report Expands to Include Patient Experience, Medical Group Quality Results

Health Equity Report Expands to Include Patient Experience, Medical Group Quality Results

February 10, 2016 – It’s well known that significant disparities exist in health care outcomes in Minnesota; however, first time analysis indicates significant disparities exist across patient experiences of care as well, according to the 2015 Health Equity of Care Report.

The second-year report, which was released today by MN Community Measurement (MNCM), deepens our understanding of health care disparities in Minnesota with the addition of two major features: four patient experience measures segmented by race and Hispanic ethnicity; and comparable medical group reporting of the five quality measures included in last year’s report.

The report’s major findings include:

  • Significant inequities in health care outcomes based on race, Hispanic ethnicity, preferred language and country of origin persist throughout Minnesota.
  • Disparities are particularly distinct among patients who are American Indian or Alaskan Native; Black or African American; Hispanic; and/or were born in or prefer to speak the native languages of Laos, Somalia and Mexico.
  • Generally, racial and ethnic groups with better health outcomes rated their care experiences better as well. However, Asian patients generally had high quality outcomes but rated their experiences of care the lowest of any racial group.
  • Patients in Greater Minnesota overall had poorer health care outcomes than Metro-area patients.
  • Large, Metro-area medical groups tended to have higher quality outcomes across the majority of race, Hispanic ethnicity, preferred language and country of origin patient categories than medical groups in Greater Minnesota or of smaller size.

“Successfully addressing health inequities on a large scale requires consistent, actionable data that offers a window into the disparities,” said Jim Chase, MNCM President. “This report shows there are places in our community that are achieving better health care outcomes for all patients and we need to learn from providers who are having success.”

Report Overview

The Health Equity of Care Report offers a glimpse into disparities experienced by communities of color, immigrant communities and rural residents of Minnesota. It contains information collected from patients seen for appointments at medical groups throughout Minnesota, and evaluates health care quality in five areas and patient experience of care in four areas.

The results for five health care quality measures were segmented by race, Hispanic ethnicity, preferred language and country of origin. These are reported at statewide, regional and medical group levels. The measures are: Colorectal Cancer Screening; Optimal Asthma Control – Adults; Optimal Asthma Control – Children; Optimal Diabetes Care; and Optimal Vascular Care.

The results of four Patient Experience of Care domains were segmented by race and Hispanic ethnicity, and are reported at statewide and regional levels. The domains are: Access to Care; Helpful and Courteous Staff; Provider Communication; and Provider Rating.

“This information helps identify what health care disparities exist in Minnesota,” Chase said, “however; it does not explain why they exist, which is why sharing it with our community is critical to truly addressing inequities.”

Report Findings

For the first time, the Health Equity of Care Report includes clinical quality measure results segmented by race, Hispanic ethnicity, preferred language and country of origin reported by medical group.

Allina Health Clinics and Allina Specialties; HealthPartners Clinics; Park Nicollet Health Services; and Fairview Health Services generally had the highest rates across multiple quality measures and patient populations.

Reporting this information at the medical group level is a significant milestone because it brings the results to the level where accountability for patient outcomes lies in the health care system. Provider groups compare themselves to their peers and then evaluate the barriers faced by specific patient populations when seeking care at their practice. The report contains perspectives on health equity from six different organizations on how they are using this information to get better outcomes for patients.

We caution against jumping to conclusions about specific medical groups based on the information in this report. Rather, we encourage its use by medical groups and community organizations to work collectively to address the disparities that are identified.

Other report findings include:

  • White and Asian patients generally had the highest rates of optimal care, while American Indian or Alaskan Native and Black or African American patients generally had the lowest rates. This is consistent with the findings of our 2014 report.
  • Hispanics tended to have lower health care outcomes than non-Hispanics; however, this was not consistent across all regions. In particular, Hispanic patients had higher rates than non-Hispanics in some regions for Optimal Vascular Care and Optimal Asthma Control – Children.
  • Patients born in Laos, Somalia and Mexico and/or who preferred speaking Hmong, Somali and Spanish generally had the poorest health outcomes compared to other country of origin and preferred language groups.
  • Rates varied considerably across geographic areas of Minnesota. The East Metro region generally had higher rates across multiple measures and multiple patient populations than other regions. The Northwest and Southwest regions tended to have the lowest rates across measures and patient groups.
  • Patients in Greater Minnesota overall had poorer health outcomes than patients in the 13-county Metro area; in particular, White patients in Greater Minnesota had lower rates than many other racial groups.
  • The Southeast region generally had the highest Patient Experience of Care rates, while the Northwest region generally had the lowest.
    Background

MNCM released The Handbook on the Collection of Race/Ethnicity/Language Data in Medical Groups in 2008. This defined and standardized the information that should be collected from patients by clinics and medical groups, as well as set best practices for collection and reporting. Since then, Minnesota providers have steadily improved their collection and reporting of race, ethnicity, language and country of origin data.

In 2015, nearly all Minnesota providers submitted REL data to MNCM and three-quarters did so using best practices. Most providers that have not passed MNCM’s best practices audit are already collecting data from patients using best practices and are taking steps to address technical hurdles related to capturing and reporting the data in their electronic health records. Only data from medical groups who have successfully demonstrated to MNCM that they follow these best practices is included in the Health Equity of Care Report.

This report is unique because medical groups across the state collect and report the data in a standardized format, which allows MNCM to compare results across medical groups and regions.

“Our health care community is to be commended for its dogged pursuit of and support for the standard collection and reporting of REL data. We collect more data on health disparities than any other state, allowing us to target inequities more effectively,” Chase said.

About Us

MN Community Measurement is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health by publicly reporting health care information. A trusted source of health care data and public reporting on quality, cost and patient experience since 2003, MNCM works with medical groups, health plans, employers, consumers and state agencies to spur quality improvement, reduce health care costs and maximize value. Learn more at MNCM.org.

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New Measures Evaluate Rates of Obesity Counseling for Kids, Depression Screening for Teens

New Measures Evaluate Rates of Obesity Counseling for Kids, Depression Screening for Teens

October 29, 2015The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and MN Community Measurement (MNCM) released first-time results from two new clinic measures that found most clinics are successfully providing lifestyle counseling to obese children, but less than half are screening adolescents for depression.

When clinicians did screen for depression, they found 9.7 percent – or 4,300 of 43,400 young people screened – had indications of a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety or attention disorders.

The new data also indicates that 28.6 percent (98,000) of three to 17 year olds who had a well child exam last year were overweight or obese. Of those, 85 percent were counseled about nutrition and physical activity by their provider. This percentage of overweight and obese children in Minnesota clinics is slightly lower than the national rate of 31.8 percent, according to the CDC National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which used a different protocol than Minnesota’s effort but was conducted in clinics in 2011-2012 among children 2 to 19 years of age.

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Total Cost of Medical Care in Minnesota Increased 3 Percent Last Year

Total Cost of Medical Care in Minnesota Increased 3 Percent Last Year

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The total cost of medical care in Minnesota increased by 3 percent over the past year for commercially-insured patients, while the average price of the most common tests, procedures and services provided in clinics increased by 6 percent, according to a new report published by MN Community Measurement.

“Prices for clinic services are rising faster than the overall cost of care,” explained Jim Chase, MNCM President, “suggesting that medical groups are controlling the amount of care being provided or using less expensive services.”

The overall total cost of care (TCOC) per commercially-insured patient per month was $449 in 2014, a $14, or 3.2 percent, increase over the previous year.

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Survey: Patients pleased with medical providers, but want easier access

Survey: Patients pleased with medical providers, but want easier access

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Nearly 80 percent of Minnesota’s patients give their health care providers a top rating of 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale but only about 60 percent of patients said they experienced a top level of access to care.

The results of the 2015 Patient Experience of Care Survey were released today by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and MN Community Measurement (MNCM). This is the second time that Minnesota has conducted the nation’s largest statewide patient experience survey. The survey included 200,500 patients at 765 clinics in Minnesota and neighboring communities who had appointments between September 1 and November 30, 2014. This year’s survey suggests patient opinion hasn’t changed much since the first survey in 2013.

“The survey indicates that patients are generally pleased with the care they receive but would like more convenience and timely access,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “Positive patient experience is a key element of high-quality medical care, and these survey findings help inform continued efforts to ensure that patients have access to care and the communication with providers they need to be healthy.”

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Chase Elected Vice Chairman of NQF Board of Directors

Jim Chase_MNCMJim Chase, president of the Minneapolis-based Minnesota Community Measurement, has been elected Vice Chairman of the National Quality Forum (NQF) Board of Directors. The two-year term will begin in November. Chase joined the NQF Board in January 2014.

NQF is a non-profit, non-partisan, public service organization that reviews, endorses and recommends use of standardized health care performance measures. NQF also advises Medicare on measures to include in their value-based purchasing programs with physicians.

“It’s an honor to represent the Minnesota health care community at a national level,” Chase said. “Minnesota has expertise developing and using high value measures, particularly patient-reported outcome measures. As NQF looks at the challenging issues of developing and aligning high-value measures across the country, Minnesota’s expertise is extremely valuable.”

Chase has been the president of MN Community Measurement since 2004. He has a master’s degree in Health Administration from the University of Minnesota and served for eight years as Director of Health Purchasing at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. He has held roles at multiple health plans and provider organizations throughout Minnesota. He is the past chair of the Network of Regional Healthcare Improvement and currently serves on the Boards of Directors of the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement and Apple Tree Dental.

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