JANUARY 3, 2018
Research Finds 8-fold Price Differences at MN Hospitals

A number of Action Group employer members joined together with the Minnesota Department of Health to add some price transparency to the hidden world of health care costs, with results released today (click here to view the press release, and here to view the results report).

Among the most jarring examples in the report: Prices paid to Minnesota hospitals for knee replacement surgery range from $6,186 to $46,974; and C-section delivery costs range from $4,693 to $22,831.
"This is eye-opening information for health care purchasers, and I'm grateful to our members who helped guide the development of the report," says Carolyn Pare, Action Group president and CEO. "Seeing the actual numbers gives all health care purchasers an opportunity to make more informed decisions."
Health Care Issues of 2018: Resilience Amid Uncertainty

Artificial Intelligence, price transparency, patient experience, and health care reform are among the defining health care issues for the coming year, according to the new PwC report,  "Top Health Industry Issues of 2018."
"Beyond health care reform, additional risks and uncertainties are moving to center stage, as is the consumer, and the health industry is being forced to react," the report says.
Action Group initiatives reflect those in the report, as we continue uniting employers around common issues, amplifying the voice of those who write the checks for health care, and improving patient experiences and outcomes. To learn more, please view the December member meeting presentation,  "Together Toward Tomorrow,"  which is available to members and non-members. 

Not yet a member but interested in driving positive health care industry change in Minnesota? Please join us! Click here for membership information, or contact Deb Krause, Action Group vice president ( dkrause@mnhealthactiongroup.org).

Welcome, New Action Group Members!

We are pleased to announce continued growth in our membership roster! Our newest members include Amgen, Great River Energy, Otter Tail Corporation, RedBrick Health, Thrivent Financial, and University of Minnesota Physicians. 
"As Board chair for The Action Group, it is a pleasure to see our coalition grow," says Ken Hostman, senior director of total compensation at the University of Minnesota. "With each new member, our voice is increased, and the perspectives, ideas and energy each member brings makes us stronger."

We look forward to welcoming new members to 2018 meetings and events!
Ensuring Mental Health Parity for Minnesotans

Participants in The Action Group's 2017 Mental Health Learning Network discovered how patients commonly struggle to navigate a maze of primary care clinics, specialists, treatment plans, medication management, and eligibility requirements to get the help they need. Lack of care coordination can lead to serious -- even catastrophic -- outcomes. 
The resulting Learning Network guide, "Working Well in Minnesota," offers employers insights and actions for advancing mental health in the workplace. All Action Group members may access the guide by logging into the Member Center from the homepage
"Participation in this Learning Network has given me optimism that we can accelerate the drive toward ensuring mental health parity for our employees and their family members," says Deidre Serum, senior director of Benefits for Best Buy.
"When people say they don't know what the answers are to the crisis in our mental health system, they are wrong. It's programs like this [Minnesota model] which offer a way to treat people more humanely."

Sue Abderholden, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota (NAMI), from the Star Tribune article, "Minnesota's 'One-stop Shopping' Model Attracts Thousands of Mental Health Patients" (December 30, 2017)
Action Group Annual Employer Benefits Survey Coming Soon!

The Action Group will soon be conducting its online Employer Benefits Survey to provide comprehensive health benefit benchmarks from Minnesota employers. Now in its eighth year, this unique Survey offers invaluable strategic and tactical plan design details, along with insights into things like specialty drug trends, wellness programs, market innovations, and much more. The Survey is open to members and non-members. Click here to learn more, or here to view a summary of 2017 Survey results.  
Mark your calendar with these key dates:
February 5-23, 2018: Survey is open
March 29, 2018: Final report distributed at Survey results meeting (for participants only)
April: Final report mailed to those unable to attend the results meeting
New Year's Resolution: Let's Stop Diabetes in its Tracks!

Year after year, the top New Year's resolutions involve losing weight and making healthier lifestyle choices. And data suggest few of them stick. In fact, about 80 percent of people who make resolutions on January 1 abandon their good intentions by Valentine's Day, according to research shared by Marti Hope Gonzales, associate professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota.

But with diabetes the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S., and one in three American adults having prediabetes (90 percent of whom don't know it), The Action Group is working with the Minnesota Department of Health to encourage employers to educate employees about preventing and treating diabetes, and to offer the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) as a covered benefit.  
"We know that setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, rather than making a large, non-specific and overwhelming goal for the New Year, sets the stage for success," says Carolyn Pare, Action Group president and CEO. "Lifestyle change does not happen quickly, and the NDPP helps participants accomplish more than they think they can, one step at at time." 

Senior Sales Executive Position Open at Aetna

A new senior sales executive position has opened to support the joint venture between Aetna and Allina. Job duties include sales, retention and new business development; relationship building and networking; national account sales strategies; staff mentoring and development; and complex negotiations. To apply, visit aetna.com and follow these steps:  
  1. Select "About Us," then "Aetna Careers"
  2. Type in the job requisition number in the "Key Words" field (47412BR)
  3. Follow the application prompts

Did you know Action Group members may post open positions in our newsletters at no charge? Please contact Sue Jesseman (sjesseman@mnhealthactiongroup.org) to learn more. 

2018: The Year of Opportunities to Network, Learn, Share!   
A poll of Action Group members is complete, and their input will shape 2018 member meeting content. Dates and topics will be announced soon. We hope you will set time aside to join these meetings, taking advantage of the opportunity to network, innovate, and share best practices. If you are considering Action Group membership and would like to attend a meeting to learn more, you are welcome! 
The New Year will present diverse opportunities to learn and grow together, as we strive to change the way health care works so people get the care they need, at the right time, at the right price, with the best possible outcomes. 
Together, we will continue accomplishing more than any of us can alone! 
Public Meetings and Events:     

"The Minnesota Mental Health Model is a real transformation. It brings together all the different pieces of the mental health system that, until now, have been so difficult for people to navigate."

                  Claire Wilson
Assistant Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Human Services