March 6, 2018
Preventable Medical Mistakes on the Rise in Minnesota

Minnesota's hospitals had an increase in the number of preventable medical mistakes in 2017, according to a new report from the Minnesota Department of Health.

The release of the 14th annual summary of events reported under Minnesota's adverse health events reporting law shows that 341 adverse health events occurred in Minnesota hospitals and licensed surgery centers in 2017. While the results show some areas of improvement, several of the original categories remain challenging, like falls and preventing surgical errors.

Click here to learn how The Action Group has worked to hold Minnesota hospitals accountable for medical errors.

Specialty Rx Guiding Coalition Work Resumes

Stethoscope tied in a knot around a fist full of money 
The Action Group Specialty Drug Guiding Coalition reconvened March 1, and members are back at work, addressing affordability and access challenges to find solutions that work for all stakeholders -- and all Minnesotans.

"We made great progress on our first set of goals in 2017, and we will continue to push the depth and breadth of our expectations in the market " says Carolyn Pare, Action Group president and CEO. "Guiding Coalition members are enthusiastic about building on that momentum to drive additional change in 2018.  We will also continue working closely with the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions and its adapted '5 Rights Framework' to drive national collaboration with key stakeholders to bring a measure of control back to the specialty drug marketplace." 

April Member Meeting: ACOs: Accelerating Value!

Health care costs crossword puzzle, Health insurance concept. 3D illustration isolated on white background. 
Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) have become an important and widespread part of the Minnesota and U.S. health care landscape. We'll hear from a multi-stakeholder panel of experts who will help us examine the successes (and shortcomings) of ACOs from a variety of perspectives. We'll focus on lessons learned and actions that can be taken by employers to drive value. Click here to view the full meeting description.


April 24, 2018
8 a.m.-10 a.m. (Networking at 8; meeting begins at 8:30)


Hilton Airport/ MOA
3800 American Blvd. E.
Bloomington, MN
If you are actively considering membership and would like to learn more and network with members, please contact Sue Jesseman ( for a complimentary meeting pass. 
Employer Leadership Summit Taps Into the Power of Purpose

"When you're surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible."
Howard Schultz, Executive Chairman, Starbucks

Surround yourself with people who are passionate about improving health care at this year's Annual Employer Leadership Summit: "A NEW LENS: Purpose-Driven Solutions for Optimal Health." 
You will learn how to tap into courageous thinking, compassionate leadership, and curiosity to bring your best work to life. We'll tackle the tough issues of our times, and focus on breakthrough innovations and demonstrated results that you can put to work right away.

This event typically sells out, so register today to save your spot -- and $100 (early bird rate until March 30)!   

Meet Your Featured Speaker, MPR's Cathy Wurzer! 
Cathy Wurzer, an author, documentary filmmaker, four-time Emmy Award winner, and host of Morning Edition for MPR News, will present her perspectives on "Realizing Purpose Through Collaboration" at the Summit.

Wurzer will share her experiences as a leadership team member and co-founder of The Convenings, an effort to help Minnesotans talk about the often-taboo subject of late-life planning and living as fully as possible in spite of disease and disability at the end of life. This work has involved into an unprecedented collaboration among civic leaders, health care, faith, and commercial and public media professionals. The Convenings was honored with the 2017 Board of Governors Emmy Award from the National Academy of Arts & Sciences Upper Midwest Chapter.  
Exclusive Member Opportunity with POPS! Diabetes Care

Because of our commitment to advancing innovations that improve health, health care value, and accessibility while reducing costs, POPS! Diabetes Care -- winner of last year's Action Group Summit Innovation Award -- invites members to apply to participate on its inaugural Customer Advisory Board.

"We are looking for members who have experience in employee benefits and wellness programs, plus special interest in using technology and digital health to optimize employee wellness," says Jennifer Englund, POPS! vice president, clinical, regulatory & quality. "We're excited about tapping into the unique skills and experience of Action Group members."

Click here for more information or to apply.  
Be an Ally in Ending Colorectal Cancer in our Lifetime

Since 2000, March has been designated as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. To drive a measurable increase in screenings and reduce deaths due to colorectal cancer, the American Cancer Society (ACS) introduced the "80% by 2018" initiative. It's a national effort to raise colorectal cancer screenings to 80% by 2018, supported locally by the Minnesota Department of Health.

"Employers are uniquely positioned to break down barriers to screenings by reminding employees this preventive care is a covered benefit," says Deb Krause, Action Group vice president and chair of the ACS's Minnesota/Dakota Leadership Board. "By raising awareness to improve screening rates through easy, low-cost efforts, the overall health of the workforce improves."

Click here for free promotional tools and resources, or here to see Deb's new blog that includes helpful insights and additional support. 
Expand Your Network and Knowledge!
Among the important work of benefits professionals is encouraging employees to continuously grow and develop, yet they may find it challenging to take time to do so themselves. The Action Group makes it easy! Member meetings feature topics selected by our members, and presenters include thought leaders who provide innovative, practical tips and tools for achieving your best work. 
Member Meetings:

Meetings begin with networking at 8 a.m., and conclude at 10 a.m. All are held at the Hilton Airport/MOA, 3800 American Boulevard East, Bloomington.  
  • April 24, 2018: ACOs: Accelerating Value!
  • Future member meetings: June 21, 2018, August 14, 2018, September 18, 2018, December 11, 2018

Employer Benefits Survey Results Meeting (For Survey participants only):


Those who participated in this year's Annual Employer Benefits Survey will have an unparalleled and exclusive opportunity to come together to compare notes with other employers, and discuss pathways to offering effective and attractive health benefits. The meeting will be MARCH 29, 2018, from 8 a.m.-11 a.m., at the Hilton Airport/MOA.


Public Meetings and Events:    
Let Your Voice be Heard! HSA Modernization Possible in Upcoming Budget Legislation

The Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act, H.R.5138, was introduced last Friday. This bill offers a variety of HSA improvements for consideration for the inclusion in the omnibus spending bill Congress is expected to pass by March 23, 2018. This Health Reform in Transit from the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coaltions explains the proposed changes and includes a list of actions you can take to ensure your voice is heard.  
Budget forecasts and opioids occupied much of the legislature's attention last week.

The February budget forecast painted a more optimistic picture for the remainder of the 2018-19 biennium, with a new $239 million surplus. This is largely due to Congress reauthorizing the Children's Health Insurance Program and early economic growth nationally from federal tax reforms. More information on the budget can be found here.

A number of hearings on the opioid epidemic were also held last week, highlighted by proposals to charge pharmaceutical manufacturers a stewardship fee ("penny-a-pill") to raise money for treatment and prevention, and the testimony of Joe Rannazzisi, a DEA whistleblower who presented on his experiences with drug companies and opioid prescribers. 

While a number of opioid reform proposals are floating around early in the session, it remains to be seen if politics will allow any big changes. Lobbying on these issues has been furious for weeks, and final decisions will likely rest with legislative leadership. Stay tuned! 

"I've seen people who are so grateful when they've had these deep conversations [about end of life care] and then are prepared to carry out their loved ones interests. We all need to do that."