JANUARY 24, 2018
Cost, Access Frustrations Lead Hospital Systems to Enter the Drug Market

Increasingly frustrated as essential medications become scarce, and prices skyrocket because investors manipulate the market, more than 300 hospitals have joined forces to combat the problem. They plan to go into the drug business.

"The idea is to directly challenge the host of industry players who have capitalized on certain markets, buying up monopolies of old, off-patent drugs and then sharply raising prices," according to this article in the New York Times.
"This kind of radical innovation is something The Action Group's Specialty Drug Guiding Coalition members will be watching closely," says Carolyn Pare, Action Group president and CEO. "Our senior Coalition advisors, Dr. Steve Schondelmeyer and Dr. Bithia Anderson, also served as advisors to the hospital systems as they weighed their options and made this bold decision to form a company to lower costs and improve access to certain generic drugs. We look forward to learning more about how this may affect the prescription drug market in Minnesota and nationwide."
Surviving and Thriving: Making the Most of the RFP Process

Depending on your perspective, Requests for Proposals (RFPs) can be a solid business discipline or a time-consuming burden. Either way, they are a reality for benefits professionals today.
"Nearly every organization we talk to has just completed an RFP process and/or has one on the horizon for 2018," says Deb Krause, Action Group vice president. "For our February member meeting, we've convened a panel of experts to share their perspectives, lessons learned, and best practices to help members survive and thrive during the upcoming RFP season."


February 20, 2018
8 a.m.-10 a.m. (PLEASE NOTE LATER START TIME IN RESPONSE TO MEMBER FEEDBACK. Networking begins at 8, meeting begins at 8:30)


Hilton Airport/MOA Hotel
3800 American Boulevard E.
Bloomington, MN

Action Group members may register by clicking the button below.

Are you actively considering Action Group membership to contribute to driving positive health care change in Minnesota? If so, you are invited to join us at this member meeting to learn more! Click here for membership information, or contact Deb Krause, Action Group vice president ( dkrause@mnhealthactiongroup.org).

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
Improving Mental Health in the Workplace

Members who attended the December meeting received copies of the newest Action Group guide, "Working Well in Minnesota: Insights and Actions for Advancing Mental Health in the Workplace." Members may access the guide by logging into the Member Center from the homepage.
There will be opportunities for members to take action and move beyond the benefit design aspect of mental health parity in 2018. Together, we will begin fulfilling the promise of real parity, including contributing to reducing stigma, improving access, addressing reimbursement schedules, and rewarding for outcomes.   
2018: The Year of Opportunities to Network, Learn, Share!   
A member poll about meeting topics of interest is complete, and the input will shape 2018 content. Meeting dates can be found below, and topics will be announced soon.  
Together, we will continue accomplishing more than any of us can alone! 
Member Meetings:
Members spoke. We listened! Meetings will begin later this year, with networking at 8 a.m., meetings beginning at 8:30 a.m., and concluding at 10 a.m. All will continue to be held at the Hilton Airport/MOA Hotel.
Public Meetings and Events:     
National Alliance Leadership Summits Coming in March! 
The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions will help attendees take a deep dive on healthy minds, obesity, caregiving and culture and community at its 2018 Leadership Summits in Dallas, TX, on March 14-15, 2018. 

Because The Action Group is a National Alliance member, our members may attend at a reduced rate of $295 until February 2 ($345 after the early bird rate closes).   
Deb Krause, Action Group vice president, and members Liz Beckius, senior manager of work life programs at Best Buy, and Nance Lee Mosquera, employee benefits manager for the City of Saint Paul, will be co-presenting the first day on behalf of the Mental Health Learning Network. 

"Generic drugs can be manufactured very inexpensively, offering hospital groups the chance to save hundreds of millions of dollars annually."
From the Washington Post article,