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Most Minnesota kids not getting mental health screenings

Fewer than half of adolescents taken to Minnesota clinics for well-child exams last year were screened for mental health or depression, according to a report released on Thursday.

But among the 43,400 youngsters who were screened, 4,300 — or 9.7 percent — had indications of a condition such as depression, anxiety or attention disorders, according to the report by the state Department of Health and MN Community Measurement, a nonprofit dedicated to publicly reporting health care information.

The screenings matter, said Sue Abderholden, executive director of the nonprofit National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota.

“One thing we forget is that mental illnesses are a young person’s illness,” Abderholden said. “Most people begin experiencing the symptoms before the age of 26 and half before the age of 14. With any illness, we know that identifying it early and treating it, that’s when you have the best outcome.”

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Altru costs high for region, in line with Minnesota average

Altru costs high for region, in line with Minnesota average

Altru Health System patients and their health insurance providers pay more for their care on average compared with patients at regional competitors but pay close to the Minnesota statewide average, according to a recent report.

A 2015 MN Community Measurement report analyzing medical costs in the state and neighboring communities found Altru patients and their insurance plans pay an overall average cost of $502 per patient per month. That’s higher than patients of Fargo-based Sanford Health’s many Minnesota clinics and patients of rural clinics near Fosston and Crookston.

However, Altru patients and their plans pay an average amount compared with the overall average cost in Minnesota, which is $449 per patient per month, according to the organization’s Total Cost of Care report.

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At HCMC, healthy doesn’t mean more costly

At HCMC, healthy doesn’t mean more costly

Mark Zdechlik ·

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St. Cloud Medical Group ranks high at keeping costs low

Kevin Allenspach, kallenspach@stcloudtimes.com 6:44 p.m. CDT September 19, 2015

To combat the ever-rising costs of health care, some providers are concentrating on innovations like e-visits, patient portal accounts and accountable care organizations.

St. Cloud Medical Group has been among the most successful in Minnesota at keeping expenses down, according to the second report in as many years issued by a nonprofit industry watchdog.

The total cost of care per patient, per month at St. Cloud Medical Group was $385 — eighth-lowest in the state among 132 medical groups — in results compiled by MN Community Measurement from actual patient costs last year.

That was 14 percent below the state average of $449, which increased 3.2 percent from the inaugural survey released in 2014.

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Minnesota’s medical costs rose in 2014 but varied widely clinic to clinic

Minnesota’s medical costs rose in 2014 but varied widely clinic to clinic

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The total cost of medical care varies dramatically across Minnesota — from $823 per month for patients who receive their primary care at the Mayo Clinic to just $381 at a pair of suburban Twin Cities medical groups.

The average medical bill was somewhere in between: $449 per month for the average privately insured patient, according to the second annual Total Cost of Care report, released Thursday by MN Community Measurement.

The report also found that improving quality and patient satisfaction apparently has come at a price: A 3 percent increase from 2013 to 2014 in the cost of patient care.

While unmasking high-cost providers might motivate them to change, the main goal is to learn from providers that bucked the trend and lowered costs, said Jim Chase, president of Community Measurement, a nonprofit agency, which based the data on claims paid by Minnesota’s four largest health insurers.

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Ranking: The average test price, medical bill at clinics across Minnesota

Ranking: The average test price, medical bill at clinics across Minnesota

By Shaymus McLaughlin

The price for medical tests and procedures – from an X-ray to a glucose measurement – jumped up 6 percent in 2014. And your overall medical bill likely went up too.

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State survey finds Winona Clinic, others in state give strong care, but struggle with delays

2 hours ago  • 

While patients at Winona Clinic are generally satisfied with their health care providers, they are less pleased with how long it takes to get an appointment.

According to statewide data released last week by the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Community Measurement, 80 percent of surveyed patients at Winona Clinic gave their health care providers a top rating of 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale.

However, just 39 percent of respondents said they got a top level of access to care — such as timely appointments, answers to questions, and short waiting room times. That’s well below the statewide average for satisfaction with access, at 60 percent, with numbers for individual clinics across many specialties and regions ranging from 30 to 90 percent.

Winona Health CEO Rachelle Schultz said in an interview Tuesday that the access problem isn’t news to Winona Health, which has been tracking patient satisfaction for years.

As far as the most recent set of data, Schultz said it reflects national trends the industry has been anticipating: an aging population with more health care needs, a shortage of primary care physicians and health care reform.

“There’s been this kind of impending knowing, that there’s going to be this huge demand on the health care system everywhere. At the same time, when we look at workforce issues, you have the opposite thing happening,” she said.

Fewer doctors are choosing primary care, and recruiting medical school graduates can be a three-year process, Schultz said, which is not fast enough to keep up with the demand.

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Area clinics score high on patient satisfaction survey

By Jessica Bies jbies@mankatofreepress.com | Posted 7 days ago

MANKATO — With only a few exceptions, area clinics scored high on a statewide survey about the quality of patients’ experiences during appointments and interactions with staff.

Most notably, Daniels Health Center in St. Peter, a branch of Mankato Clinic, scored among the top 15 clinics in the state for having courteous and helpful office staff.

The high ranking is not a happy accident but instead the result of a concentrated effort on part of the clinic, CEO Randy Farrow said.

“We have been putting a big focus on our staff, and customer service has been a big area of focus for us,” he said Wednesday. “We do a lot of staff training around that.”

Patient opinion unchanged

This is the second time the Minnesota Department of Health and MN Community Measurement has conducted the Patient of Experience of Care Survey. It is the nation’s largest statewide patient experience survey, and 2015’s responses show that consumer opinion hasn’t changed much since 2013.

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Ratings reveal Minnesota clinics with best communication, access

Nearly 80 percent awarded their doctors and clinics top marks in a 2014 survey.

By Star Tribune – August 26, 2015 — 10:56pm

Doctors might not be able to turn on the charm overnight, but new Minnesota patient survey data show it is entirely possible for them to become better at seeing and talking with patients.

The second release of patient satisfaction data by MN Community Measurement on Wednesday shows little change overall — 79 percent of patients gave top marks to their doctors in 2014, compared to 78 percent in 2012. But some clinics made substantial progress.

“It doesn’t have to be that somebody really competent should also be rude to you,” said Jim Chase, executive director of the nonprofit rating organization. “The [patient] experience still matters.”

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Local clinics score above average in patient experience

By Stephanie Dickrell, sdickrell@stcloudtimes.com 10:31 a.m. CDT August 26, 2015

Nearly 80 percent of Minnesota’s patients give their health care providers a top rating of nine 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 Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Health and MN Community Measurement.

Locally, CentraCare and a few other clinics were included in the survey, scoring average or above in all categories.

This is the second time that Minnesota has conducted the nation’s largest statewide patient experience survey.

Patient opinion hasn’t changed much since the first survey in 2013, according to officials.

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 indicates that patient opinion hasn’t changed much since the first survey in 2013.

Local results

Here are the local results. Categories include: getting care when needed, how well providers communicate, courteous and helpful office staff and providers with “most positive” rating.

  • CentraCare River Campus — Rheumatology in St. Cloud scored above average in all indicators.
  • CentraCare Health Sauk Center scored average on getting health care when needed and courteous and helpful office staff. It scored above average in providers with a “most positive” rating. Results on how well providers communicate were not available.
  • CentraCare Health — Monticello Medical Group scored average on getting care when needed and how well providers communicate. It scored above average on courteous and helpful office staff and a “most positive” rating.
  • CentraCare River Campus — Nephrology scored above average in all categories.
  • CentraCare Health Paynesville-Richmond scored above average in getting care when needed and the “most positive” category. It scored average in how well providers communicated and courteous and helpful office staff.
  • CentraCare Health Plaza — Dermatology scored scored average in getting care when needed and the “most positive” category. It scored above average in how well providers communicated and courteous and helpful office staff.
  • Lakewood Health System — Sartell Clinic scored average in getting care when needed and the “most positive” category. It scored above average in how well providers communicated and courteous and helpful office staff.
  • Williams Integracare Clinic scored average in getting care when needed and above average in the rest of the categories.

Other highlights

Though patients are generally having a good experience, the survey did find significant differences between clinics. Here are some highlights from the survey:

  • 79 percent of respondents gave their provider a top rating of nine or 10 on a 10-point scale – a statistically significant one point increase over the 2013 result. Individual clinic ratings ranged from 49 to 97 percent of providers receiving a top rating.
  • 83 percent of respondents described communication from their providers as top-level. Across individual clinics, the low score was 54 percent and the high score was 94 percent.
  • 81 percent of respondents gave the office staff at their clinics top marks for being respectful and helpful. However, a 40 percentage point difference can be seen between the highest and lowest scoring clinics.
  • Nineteen percent, or 121, more clinics participated in the survey than two years ago.
  • Clinics participating in the state’s Health Care Homes initiative included additional questions in the patient experience of care survey. For over half of all certified Health Care Homes, at least 60 percent of their patients reported a positive score in relation to shared decision making, and at least 50 percent of their patients reported a positive score in relation to attention to mental health.

Results are based on 200, 500 patient-completed surveys on patient experience of care – known as the Clinician and Group Surveys – Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems. Thirty-three percent of the patients surveyed responded, which is a similar response rate as 2013.

Minnesota conducts the nation’s largest statewide patient experience survey.

Follow Stephanie Dickrell on Twitter @SctimesSteph, call her at 255-8749 or find more stories at www.sctimes.com/sdickrell.

Survey measures

The survey measures patient experience in terms of whether patients were:

  • Getting care when needed.
  • Being listened to and receiving understandable information and instructions.
  • Experiencing courteous and helpful office staff.
  • Satisfied with their provider.

View the original article from the SCTimes

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How Can We Measure High Value Care? Consider the Patient Point of View

Note: This article features MNCM’s Business and Systems Development Manager, Nate Hunkins.

By Anne Weiss, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
June 29, 2015

Health care is centered around human relationships, which is why it’s so important the voices of the people the system is designed to help—patients and their families—are heard by those defining and measuring care.  

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Mayo’s Somali health project aims to build trust with community

By Nate Gotlieb
Free Press of Mankato
Posted: 06/20/2015 11:01:05 AM CDT | Updated: 2 days ago

When Fardousa Jama and her father, Hussein, surveyed 400 Somalis last year in Mankato, Minn., they found many misunderstood and mistrusted the American health care system.

Some weren’t taking their prescribed medicine, they found, and some with diabetes were testing their blood sugar too frequently. Others faced language barriers and didn’t know how to access prescription medication.

“There is a huge gap and mistrust that happens with doctors and Somalis,” Fardousa Jama said. “We just want to help bridge the gap.”

That desire led to the Somali Health Literacy Project through Mayo Clinic Health System, which kicked off this month at the St. Peter Community Center. The project consists of 18 classes during the next 18 months on health topics ranging from defining health to diabetes and depression.

Mayo doctors said they hope the project can improve trust between providers and the Somali community and decrease emergency-room and urgent-care visits.

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