Data collected in 2020 for care provided in 2019 reveals disparities by insurance type and other factors such as race/ethnicity.

Minnesota health care providers improved on several key indicators of health care quality for people covered by Minnesota Health Care Programs through managed care organizations (MCOs) in 2019, according to a new report from MN Community Measurement (MNCM).

Compared to the previous year, the percentage of adults who received optimal diabetes care and those who were up to date on breast cancer screening and colorectal cancer screening improved. The percentage of adolescents who received mental health screening also increased. In addition, despite ongoing gaps in quality metrics for those served by Minnesota Health Care Programs MCOs compared to other health care payers in Minnesota, the gaps in quality narrowed for all measures in the report where comparison over time is available.

The report was prepared for the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) and examines differences in quality indicators between patients covered by Minnesota Health Care Programs MCOs and other types of health insurance. The data for the report was collected by MNCM in 2020, and reflect care provided in 2019.

“While it is encouraging that care was improving prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many reasons to be concerned about disparate impacts of the pandemic on health care quality,” said Julie Sonier, MNCM President and CEO. “We know the pandemic has hit low-income communities particularly hard from both a health and an economic standpoint. This could result in worsening what were already significant differences in quality outcomes for people with coverage through state programs vs. other type of health insurance.”

For the first time, the report includes data on differences in outcomes by preferred language and country of origin within Minnesota Health Care Programs; it also includes analysis by race and ethnicity, as in prior years. Indigenous/Native and Black Minnesotans had outcomes significantly below the average for Minnesota Health Care Programs MCOs on most of the measures included in the report.

“Unfortunately, any positive gains in more equitable health care quality for Minnesotans on public health care programs in 2019 will be overshadowed by the disparate impacts of COVID-19 in 2020,” said DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “The Department of Human Services has devoted more attention, including adding financial incentives, to eliminate these indefensible disparities and systemic disadvantages for the people we serve, and we call upon all of our partners to join us in this work to end structural racism in health care.”

New to the report this year is reporting on outcomes of depression care for adolescents, and aggregate reporting on components of diabetes, vascular care, and asthma control measures.

MN Community Measurement produces comprehensive, trusted data that helps to monitor and drive improvement in health care quality and health outcomes. MNCM will be a key source of information about how the pandemic has impacted health care and health outcomes in Minnesota, including how it may have differentially affected people enrolled in MHCP.

An appendix to the report includes results by medical group and clinic location, where applicable.

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 patient experience. Learn more at www.mncm.org.

About Minnesota Health Care Programs

Minnesota Health Care Programs include Medical Assistance, Minnesota’s Medicaid program, and MinnesotaCare. These public health care programs provide coverage to Minnesotans with low incomes who cannot afford private insurance. They currently collectively serve more than 1.32 million Minnesotans.