MNCM News

"The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through." -- Sydney J. Harris

Minnesota Disparities Reports Highlight Gaps in Quality Measures by Insurance Type and by Race, Ethnicity, Language and Country of Origin

MN Community Measurement (MNCM), an independent nonprofit organization that empowers health care decision makers with meaningful data to drive improvement, has released two reports that present information on disparities by insurance type and by race, ethnicity, language, and country of origin data for measures collected by MNCM in 2018, including online appendices with comparisons by medical group and clinic.

Disparities by Insurance Type

The report “2018 Minnesota Health Care Disparities by Insurance Type” summarizes quality measures for patients enrolled in Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) and makes comparisons by insurance type. It also highlights high performing medical groups for the MHCP patient population. This report focuses on the managed care components of Minnesota’s Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare programs. As enrollment in these programs continues to increase, the “2018 Minnesota Health Care Disparities by Insurance Type” helps the state and health care providers identify opportunities to improve health care and health outcomes for people served by state programs. The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) contracts with MNCM to produce the report.

Key Findings

Statewide MHCP rates for the quality measures included in the report are consistently and significantly lower than other insurance types. The gap between MHCP and other insurance types has significantly narrowed over time for four measures but widened for two measures. One notable trend is that colorectal cancer screening for MHCP patients has increased by over eight percentage points since 2011.

“The annual disparities report helps highlight the need to continue efforts to advance equity in our state and achieve the goals of One Minnesota,” says DHS Commissioner Tony Lourey. “DHS embraces the role that we can play and is committed to building on the work with our partners and communities to reduce disparities and help ensure equitable health outcomes for all Minnesotans.”

Disparities by Race, Ethnicity, Language and Country of Origin

The report “2018 Minnesota Health Care Disparities by Race, Hispanic Ethnicity, Language and Country of Originfeatures statewide and medical group performance rates stratified by race, Hispanic ethnicity, preferred language, and country of origin. In Minnesota, communities of color experience significantly higher rates of chronic and infectious diseases, illnesses, and premature death. According to the Minnesota State Demographic Center, populations of color are expected to continue to increase faster than the white non-Hispanic population, increasing to 25 percent of the total state population by 2035. As a result, the current challenge of addressing health disparities will become even more important over time.

Key Findings

This report illustrates that the range of quality measure results (lowest to highest) by preferred language has narrowed over time for colorectal cancer screening and for adolescent mental health and/or depression screening (see pages 19 and 21 of the report). In general, quality measures for American Indian, African American, and Hispanic Minnesotans are significantly below the statewide rate on most measures. For most measures, people who speak Hmong, Karen, Somali, and Spanish have rates that are significantly below the statewide average.

“Minnesota is unique in having this data that help us to identify disparities in health care quality measures,” says MN Community Measurement President Julie Sonier. Understanding disparities is a necessary first step toward addressing them effectively. Monitoring disparities over time also gives us the ability to celebrate progress like the significant increases in colorectal cancer screening for African American patients.”