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MN Community Measurement Joins Effort to Reduce Health Care Spending

Project instrumental in lowering health care costs in communities

Twin Cities-based MN Community Measurement (MNCM), has joined forces with the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) and four other regional health improvement collaboratives (RHICs) across the country in a seminal study examining health care costs. The study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will identify drivers of regional health care costs and develop strategies to reduce health care spending and improve health care quality at the community level.

“We know that the cost of care in Minnesota is lower than in many other states,” explained Jim Chase, President of MNCM.  “This will be the first time that we have standardized information to compare the cost of care by physician group for multiple payers across several communities.  As a result, we hope to better understand the differences in these costs; what drives these differences; and how to reduce costs while improving patient care.”

This pilot project will be conducted over an 18-month period and will use a nationally endorsed, standardized measure of cost and resource use that was developed in Minnesota. The five partnering RHICs will use these measures to create benchmarks for health care costs; identify the best ways to share information with the public; and include focused efforts with physicians to help them adopt practices that will reduce costs while maintaining the quality of care.

Chase noted that regional collaboratives such as MN Community Measurement are uniquely positioned to work with local physicians, patients and other stakeholders to use this data to improve care.  “The Accountable Care Act has reinforced that we all share in the high cost of health care, so it is important for us to learn how the best Minnesota physician groups are managing cost and share that knowledge with other regions,” he said.

The four other RHICs selected to participate in the study are Maine Health Management Coalition Foundation (MHMC-F); Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC) located in Colorado; Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation; and the Midwest Health Initiative (MHI) located in the St. Louis region.

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About MN Community Measurement
MN Community Measurement is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health by publicly reporting health care information. A trusted source of health care quality measurement and public reporting since 2003, MNCM works with health plans, providers, employers, consumers and state agencies to spur quality improvement, reduce health care costs and maximize value. Data on patient experience, quality health care and cost can be found at

About NRHI
The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement is a national organization representing regional multi-stakeholder groups working towards achieving the Triple Aim of better health, better care, and reduced costs through continuous improvement.  NRHI and all of its members are non-profit organizations, separate from state government, working directly with physicians, hospitals, health plans, and patients using data to improve health care.

About Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change. For more than 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. Follow the Foundation on Twitter  or on Facebook.


Local Health Care Leader Elected to National NQF Board of Directors

Minneapolis, Minn. (Nov. 7, 2013) Jim Chase, president of Twin Cities-based MN Community Measurement (MNCM), has been elected to serve on The National Quality Forum (NQF) Board of Directors for a three-year term. NQF is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public service organization that reviews, endorses, and recommends use of standardized healthcare performance measures. NQF also advises Medicare on measures to include in their value-based purchasing programs with physicians.

“It is an honor to be part of this important aspect of health reform at a national level,” said Chase. “Based on our experience in Minnesota in developing robust quality measures, I am eager to contribute to NQF’s efforts to standardize measures nationally and get them used to improve care.”

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

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 has worked for Minnesota Department of Human Services, health plans, and provider organizations in the state. Chase is the past chair of the Network of Regional Healthcare Improvement, a group of leading regional health initiatives working to improve the quality and value of health in their communities. He also serves on the boards of the Institute of Clinical Systems Improvement and Apple Tree Dental.

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Health Systems Change RFP Announcement

ClearWay MinnesotaSM is currently seeking proposals from Minnesota health systems to enhance their ability to address tobacco use. The focus of this funding opportunity is to advance health systems change to ensure that tobacco dependence treatment is fully integrated into the continuum of health care delivery.

  • Letters of Intent are due Friday, October 18, 2013, by 4:30 p.m. Central Time
  • Qualified applicants will be invited to submit a full application. Full applications are due Wednesday, December 4, 2013, by 4:30 p.m. Central Time
  • Questions about this funding opportunity can be directed to Dean Moritz, ClearWay Minnesota Cessation Manager, at or 952-767-1412.

    We encourage qualified organizations to consider applying or to share this announcement with other individuals or organizations that may be interested in this opportunity.

    Thank you.
    Dean Moritz, Ph.D.
    Cessation Manager
    ClearWay MinnesotaSM


    Minnesota conducts nation’s largest statewide patient experience survey

    Results from the more than 230,000 patient-completed surveys on patient experience of care—known as the Clinician and Group Surveys – Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CG-CAHPS®) — from 651 clinics are now available for consumers to use along with other information on the cost and quality of health care providers. The data is collected as part of Minnesota’s Statewide Quality Reporting and Measurement System and is the most comprehensive look at patient experience on a statewide basis in the country. Minnesota’s 2008 health reform law set up this system which requires clinics to report their performance on a standard set of quality measures. MDH partners with MN Community Measurement to collect the data, and MN Community Measurement reports results on Clinics can also use survey results to see where they are performing well, and identify areas for improvement.

    Download the CG-CAHPS® patient experience press release.




    Minnesota’s Aligning Forces for Quality team receives $1 million to improve quality, value of health care statewide

    Minneapolis, MN (May 16, 2013) – Minnesota’s Aligning Forces for Quality team, an alliance of nonprofit organizations focused on improving health care, announced that it has been awarded a grant of $1 million over the next two years for the final phase of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) initiative, a national effort to lift the quality and value of health care in communities across America.

    The statewide group, convened by MN Community Measurement, is one of 16 organizations across the country designated as an AF4Q community, and has been participating in the initiative since 2006.

    The Aligning Forces for Quality program was originally launched by the Foundation in 2006 and remains the largest effort of its kind ever undertaken by a U.S. philanthropy. Through the program, this group works to improve health care in Minnesota by engaging patients in their care, publicly reporting on the quality of care provided by local physicians and hospitals, implementing quality improvement programs in doctors’ offices and hospitals, and exploring new payment methods to promote high-quality care.

    In the fourth and final phase of AF4Q, the Minnesota team will accelerate its work, leveraging progress in these focus areas and striving for sustainable progress in meeting the goals of a reformed health care system: better value, greater transparency, and improved care coordination.

    “This grant allows us to continue to collaborate with community leaders, patients, doctors, nurses, employers, and insurers so everyone in Minnesota can receive the right care at the right time.” said Jim Chase, President of MN Community Measurement. “We are committed to finding new ways to improve our health care system so we can have a healthier community.”

    In the next two years, the Minnesota group will expand on the cutting-edge changes already under way to achieve sustainable improvements in the quality of health care local hospitals and doctors deliver, while continuing to focus on developing and testing models of paying for health care that encourage high-quality care and use dollars more wisely.

    “The final phase of this program is not so much an end as a beginning,” said Anne F. Weiss, MPP, team director and senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Our goal is not just lasting change in these 16 communities, but also to provide models of reform for the rest of the country to follow.”

    AF4Q has contributed to a number of statewide initiatives, including helping to support the RARE campaign to reduce hospital readmissions, advancing work in health information technology and efforts to measure the total cost of care in Minnesota. The alliance, drawing on work of many in Minnesota, met several key goals in the previous round of funding, including:

    • Increasing the number of patients achieving optimal care for asthma
    • Increasing the number of patients achieving optimal care for diabetes
    • Saving more than $34 million in the past two years through better management of diabetes and asthma

    Future initiatives include:

    • Partnering through the RARE campaign to reduce hospital readmissions for patients with mental illness
    • Increasing awareness and understanding of value-based care and total cost of care measurement
    • Educating patients and providers on patient care and care transitions
    • Engaging people in health information technology
    • Reducing disparities in diabetes management

    AF4Q is designed to drive quality improvement by aligning key players in communities, and brings an unprecedented commitment of resources, expertise, and training to turn proven practices into real results. Minnesota’s continued participation brings direct financial support and technical assistance and training from national experts, coordinated by the Center for Health Care Quality at The George Washington University, the national AF4Q program office.

    Additional grant recipients include:

    • Albuquerque Coalition for Healthcare Quality – Albuquerque, N.M.
    • Alliance for Health – Grand Rapids, Mich.
    • Better Health Greater      Cleveland – Cleveland
    • California Center for Rural Policy – Arcata, Calif.
    • Greater Detroit Area Health Council – Detroit
    • Health Improvement Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati – Cincinnati
    • Healthy Memphis Common Table – Memphis, Tenn.
    • Healthy York County Coalition – York, Pa.
    • Kansas City Quality Improvement Consortium – Kansas City, Mo.
    • Maine Aligning Forces for Quality – Augusta, Maine
    • Massachusetts Health Quality Partners – Boston
    • Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation – Portland, Ore.
    • Puget Sound Health Alliance – Seattle
    • P2 Collaborative of Western New York – Buffalo, N.Y.
    • Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality – Madison, Wis.

    For more information about the Minnesota Aligning Forces for Quality team and its work, visit


    New Online Resource Supports Recovering from Depression

    A new online resource, called the Help and Healing toolkit, brings together easy-to-use depression tools and information for patients and health care providers – helping individuals better understand and manage their care and treatment goals. The materials – including patient and provider talking points, treatment planning, self-management techniques, and information to help providers measure treatment outcomes – were developed by a working group of clinicians and related experts, including patient advocates and employer representatives.

    Help and Healing is the result of a collaborative effort between MN Community Measurement, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care through public reporting and measurement, and the Minnesota Health Action Group, a non-profit coalition of public and private employers looking to improve the value of the health care system in Minnesota, by focusing on higher quality, lower cost and better health outcomes for all.
    Download a PDF of Help and Healing Press Release 1.14.13.


    Consumer Reports Teams with Minnesota Groups to Rate More than 500 Doctors’ Practices

    In a special edition of its magazine, Consumer Reports published Ratings of 552 Minnesota physician group practices and an analysis of Minneapolis-St. Paul medical groups focusing on cost and quality of care. The Ratings were compiled in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and MN Community Measurement (MNCM).
    Download a PDF of the Consumer Reports MN Press Release 8.28.12.


    More Detailed Data on Colorectal Cancer May Boost Screening Rates, Save Lives

    MN Community Measurement has updated and expanded its data on the rates at which Minnesotans are receiving timely, age-appropriate colorectal cancer screening. Minnesotans are encouraged to observe Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month by taking steps to safeguard their health. One of those steps is to visit MN HealthScores to see how their clinic compares to the screening guidelines.
    Download a PDF of the CRC Press Release 3.6.12.