November 21, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving From The Action Group!  
Thanksgiving heralds the beginning of the holiday season, representing food, family and gratitude. It is a time to reflect on - and to give thanks for - what matters most in life. I am truly thankful for the members, advisors and friends of The Action Group, who selflessly contribute to improving the health and economic vitality of Minnesota businesses and communities.

No matter how you interact with The Action Group, you are an important part of this purchaser-led coalition. When you become involved in key initiatives to improve health care transparency, drive waste from the system, and address cost, quality and access issues, our sphere of influence grows, and sustainable, essential marketplace changes become possible. Success is possible only because of the sum of member and stakeholder collaboration.

THANK YOU for your support of and commitment to The Action Group. I wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving, and look forward to seeing our members at the December meeting!


Carolyn Pare
President and CEO

Carolyn Pare Named to National Quality Forum Board   

The National Quality Forum's (NQF) Board of Directors has named Carolyn Pare as an at-large member, representing consumers and purchasers. She recently served NQF as co-chair of the Consensus Standards Approval Committee. Click here to view the press release. 
"It is an honor to serve on the NQF Board on behalf of Action Group members," says Carolyn Pare. "NQF measures and standards serve as a critically important foundation for initiatives to enhance health care value, make patient care safer, and achieve better outcomes."  
Shopping for Health Care in the Dark: Can We Light the Way?
It's open enrollment season, and millions of Americans are ready to make their most important health care purchasing decision of the year -- often without adequate cost, quality and network information. This recent New York Times article examines how consumers are largely kept in the dark about doctors when they make their health plan choices.   
"There is an element of advocating for transparency in quality and price in every Action Group initiative," says Carolyn Pare, Action Group president and CEO. "The New York Times article led me to revisit a related blog I wrote two years ago about the elusiveness of cost and quality information, and it is disheartening to see how little progress we as a nation have made. We must continue our collective work to ensure that data and information is readily accessible to the people who write the checks for health care -- individuals, employers, and government entities -- so they can be smart about their choices."
To learn more:
Doing the Health Care Cha Cha 
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back  

"For several decades, a consensus has grown that reining in the United States' $3.2 trillion annual medical bill begins with changing the way doctors are paid: Instead of compensating them for every appointment, service and procedure, they should be paid based on the quality of their care."      
From: Trump Health Agency Challenges Consensus on Reducing Costs, New York Times, Nov. 12, 2017  
A core tenet at The Action Group is that payment incentives should center around high-quality care delivery and optimal outcomes, rather than fee-for-service.  
"The question comes down to whether doctors should get paid the same amount, regardless of whether they provide excellent or terrible care," said Carolyn Pare, Action Group president and CEO. "Although payment reform is well underway in Minnesota, employers, public agencies, and individuals have a vested interest in learning about the proposed changes, what other options might be considered, and in advocating for change that benefits all who are actually paying the bill for health care."  
How Tax Reform Legislation Affects Employers
Comprehensive tax reform legislation passed by Republican leaders omits recently floated and controversial proposals, such as mandating more Roth treatment of retirement savings, changing the tax treatment of employer-provided health care, eliminating tax-favored treatment of adoption benefits, or repealing the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate. 
"While the House bill does not include a lot of changes for health care, there are still other things that will affect employers and require both strategic decisions and administrative action, including the elimination of tax-favored benefits for dependent care, and educational assistance," says Deb Krause, Action Group vice president. "As the Senate continues to debate tax reform, employers remain in a 'wait and see' mode. During times of change, Action Group members are encouraged to network with one another to keep well informed and to share best practices."   
The new Member Directory has just been posted to the Member Center on the website. And, for a helpful (and understandable!) summary of the new tax reform legislation, please click here
December Member Meeting: Together Toward Tomorrow! 
With all of the activities and initiatives taking place simultaneously, the year has flown by! It is once again time for our annual review of and reporting on The Action Group's issues, projects and activities.  
We will be reporting on our robust agenda for this year and next during our December member meeting, and discussing the 2017 Mental Health Learning Network and 2018 Mental Health Guiding Coalition. Click here to learn more. And please remember to RSVP to confirm your attendance. 

December 15, 2017 
8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. (Networking begins at 7:30 a.m.)

Hilton Airport/MOA Hotel
3800 American Boulevard East
Bloomington, MN

Please RSVP to Sue Jesseman (  

If you have a friend or colleague who is actively considering membership, please invite them to attend to learn more, and to network with members!
Member Meeting Recap: Cancer in the Workplace     
At our November member meeting, a panel of experts was convened to share their perspectives on best practices for dealing with cancer in the workplace, deepen understanding of the myriad of issues, and suggest actionable solutions for Minnesota employers. (Members may access the presentations and materials from the Member Center on the homepage.)  
"It was so helpful to hear ideas for how best to provide access to high-quality, high-value cancer care for our employees and their families," says Dawn Cvengros, Planning Director, SEGIP Health Solutions, for the State of Minnesota. "I was also surprised to learn that 90% of cancer survivors return to work with some type of impairment, making it very important for employers to take accommodations into account for these employees to ensure a smooth post-cancer workplace experience."  
To learn more:
Call for 2018 Employer Leadership Summit Sponsors!  

Sponsorship opportunities for The Action Group's high-profile 11th Annual Employer Leadership Summit are now available! Sponsors are encouraged to reserve their spot by December 15 -- sponsorships sell out quickly.
To view sponsorship levels and learn more about this unique and valuable event taking place on May 11, 2018, please click here

Member Only Meetings and Events

I f you are not yet a member of The Action Group and would like to learn more about us, please contact us for a complimentary meeting pass. Membership information can be found here
Member Only Meetings and Events:    
  • December 15, 2017: Together Toward Tomorrow! Highlights of the Mental Health Learning Network, plus 2017 Review and 2018 Preview (Please be sure to RSVP to confirm your attendance!)
Public Meetings and Events:    

"Research has shown that the traditional model of paying for doctors, known as 'fee-for-service,' often results in unnecessary and inappropriate care. The federal government has been slowly moving away from it since 1983, when Medicare changed some of its payments to hospitals

                                                     New York Times, November 12, 2017  

The Minnesota Health Action Group is the only Minnesota organization whose sole purpose is to represent the collective voice of those who pay the bill for health care - employers, public purchasers, and individuals. We drive innovation, collaboration and engagement in ways that improve health care and ensure the economic vitality of all Minnesota communities.