Key Measures of Minnesota Health Care Quality Improve, But Are Below Pre-Pandemic Levels

Nine Minnesota medical groups recognized as “top performers” for 2021

Two new reports illustrate health care quality trends and variation in Minnesota and recognize nine Minnesota medical groups as top performers on health care quality. The reports were released by MN Community Measurement (MNCM), an independent non-profit that serves as an objective, trusted source of information on Minnesota health care quality, cost, and equity.

The first report, Minnesota Health Care Quality Report Part 2: Clinical Quality Measures Reported by Payers, provides information on statewide and medical group performance on quality measures that MNCM aggregates from health plans. The second new report, Minnesota Health Care Quality Report Part 3: Top Performing Medical Groups Across All Quality Measures, combines these data with clinical quality measures published by MNCM in fall 2022 to identify top performing medical groups, defined as those with statistically better than average performance on at least half of the measures that were applicable to them. The previously published report can be accessed here.

New Data on Health Care Quality

The first new report, Minnesota Health Care Quality Report Part 2: Clinical Quality Measures Reported by Payers, includes quality indicators for preventive care like cancer screening and immunizations, and also for care of acute and chronic conditions. While the statewide performance rates for most measures improved in 2021 compared to 2020, for nearly all measures performance remains below pre-pandemic levels.

One exception to this trend was immunizations for adolescents, which measures the percentage of adolescents who have had specific immunizations by their 13th birthday. The statewide rate for this measure climbed to 36.4 percent in 2021, up from 31.2 percent in 2018.

The measure for childhood immunization status, which measures whether children are up to date on ten different childhood vaccines by their second birthday, declined from 56.8 percent in 2020 to 53.0 percent in 2021. It is possible that care delivery disruptions in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 may have contributed to the decrease in this rate.

Across all measures, there is significant variation across medical groups in performance. The two measures with the largest variation across medical groups were Chlamydia Screening in Women (10.8 percent to 85.2 percent) and Avoidance of Antibiotic Treatment in Acute Bronchitis/Bronchiolitis (11.5 percent to 75.5 percent).

The report includes performance data for 172 medical groups that operate in Minnesota and border communities in neighboring states. Medical group and clinic level performance is also publicly available, with profile pages for all measures and an interactive Dynamic Tables tool that allows filtering and sorting of the data.

Health plans that contributed data for this report include Blue Cross Blue Shield of MN, HealthPartners, Hennepin Health, Itasca Medical Care, Medica, Preferred One, PrimeWest Health, Sanford Health, South Country Health Alliance, and UCare.

Top Performing Medical Groups

The second new report, Minnesota Health Care Quality Report Part 3: Top Performing Medical Groups Across All Quality Measures, identifies nine medical groups in Minnesota as top performers based on their overall quality performance in 2021. The nine top performing groups include:

  • CentraCare Health;
  • Central Pediatrics;
  • Child and Teen Medical Center;
  • Entira Family Clinics;
  • Essentia Health;
  • HealthPartners Clinics;
  • Mankato Clinic, Ltd.;
  • Park Nicollet Health Services; and
  • Pediatric & Young Adult Medicine

“It’s no small feat to achieve consistently high quality across a wide range of measures,” said Julie Sonier, MNCM President and CEO. “Recognition of these high performing medical groups is well deserved.”

Importance of Measurement

Measuring and reporting on health care quality helps consumers understand how care varies across providers, allows providers to identify improvement opportunities and how their measures compare to others, and helps health plans and other purchasers better understand and improve value for money that is spent on health care.

“Minnesota is unique in the capabilities that we’ve built to measure and report on health care outcomes,” said Sonier. “Having a common set of priorities and common set of data have been huge assets to our state in focusing efforts to drive improvement.”

About MN Community Measurement

MN Community Measurement is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering health care decision makers with meaningful data to drive improvement. A trusted source of health care data since 2005, MNCM works with doctors, hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, and state agencies to collect, analyze, and report health care data related to quality, cost, and equity of health care. Learn more at