Member Newsletter
Winter 2019
Message from the President

Happiest of Holidays to you and yours!

As we approach the end of the year, I want to thank the MBGH board, staff and especially our members, for making 2019 exceptional! The past few years have gone by quickly and I’m really proud of all that we accomplished. In 2019, we hosted 5 educational programs, 5 webinars, 3 employer-only roundtables and sold out our Annual Conference in May with over 300 people. Our 2020 planning is already underway and we think you’ll like what we have in store! Check out a preview of our Q1 programs in this newsletter. We’ve also included a recap of our fall programs in the event you weren’t able to attend.
MBGH 40th Annual Conference!
2020 is a very special year for MBGH as we celebrate our 40th Annual Conference at the JW Marriott in downtown Chicago. See additional details below and register soon!

In closing, none of this would be possible without you, our members. Thank you again for your continued support and I look forward to even more collaboration, learning and networking in 2020.

Have a fun-filled holiday with your friends and family. 
At the MBGH Board of Directors meeting in November, the Board approved two new board members. Teresa Flesch and Heather Denkert bring with them a wealth of knowledge and real-world experiences - they are highly committed and incredibly enthusiastic about enhancing the value of MBGH membership.
Teresa Flesch
Deputy Director
CMS-Bureau of Benefits
State of Illinois
" I have been in the benefits administration space for nearly 30 years and have been exposed to so many different situations - the good, the bad and sometimes, the ugly. I look forward to serving on the MBGH board and using my experience to provide insights into how employers can strategically and effectively navigate the ever-changing benefits landscape.”
Heather Denkert
Manager, Health and Wellness
Dover Corporation
“I’m excited by the opportunity to work with my fellow MBGH board members on strategies to leverage the power of employers to increase the value of our health care dollars by pushing for meaningful change to the delivery system.” 
Insight on MBGH's Medical Director

Our Medical Director, Jan Berger, M.D. is instrumental in assuring MBGH is on the cutting edge of science-based practices. She has been with MBGH for many years and as Medical Director, advises our team with her wealth of knowledge and experiences in the employer space. As Editor-in-Chief of The American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits she brings her expertise in pharmacy benefits to the forefront as a highly regarded leader in the field of population health. Her contributions to our team are just another reason MBGH is one of the nation's largest and most successful employer coalitions. Thank you Dr. Berger!
MBGH’s success is driven by our members! We all benefit from our diverse membership base – sharing best practices and learning from each other is what makes MBGH one of the leading employer coalitions in the U.S. Thank you for your support and participation.
M BGH has a number of educational events planned for the first quarter of 2020. In January, we will host our annual employer-only wellness forum. This event includes a great line-up of presenters including employers who have put into place cutting-edge programs and are making a real difference in the health and wellbeing of their employees – creating a culture of happiness will be an overriding theme to this year’s program.

In early February we'll kick off a 3-series workshop on using your organizations data to combat opioid usage. In mid-February, we’re offering an all-day program on addressing access and the stigma of mental health and in mid-March, we’ve got a half-day program planned that will help you breathe new life to your benefit communications. If you aren’t able to attend in person, please consider attending via webinar. 

And lastly, the diabetes webinar in March will focus on tools and resources available to employers and other key stakeholders to address the epidemic of diabetes and prediabetes in the workplace. Program summaries will be available on the MBGH website following the completion of each event!
Employer-Only Forum on Wellness, Wellbeing & Engagement
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
8:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Location: 191 North Wacker Drive, 37 th Floor, Chicago, IL 
Workshop Series - Data Review: Is your plan design encouraging appropriate opioid use?
Workshop 1: February 4, 2020, 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM CT - virtual
Workshop 2: April 1, 2020, 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM CT - virtual
Workshop 3: May 19, 2020, 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM CT - in-person only
Location: 191 North Wacker Drive, 37 th Floor, Chicago, IL 
Mental Health in the Workplace
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
8:30AM to 2:30 PM
Location: 191 North Wacker Drive, 37 th Floor, Chicago, IL 
Creating Effective Benefit Communications
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
8:30AM to 12:00 PM
Location: 191 North Wacker Drive, 37 th Floor, Chicago, IL 
Webinar - Tools You Can Use: Prediabetes & Diabetes Management in the Workplace
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
12:00PM to 1:00PM CT
MBGH 40th Annual Conference
Health Benefits Transformation:
Employers Unite to Reduce Waste and Improve Outcomes
May 7 - 8, 2020
JW Marriott, 151 W. Adams St, Chicago

Registration is open for the MBGH Annual Conference . Our 40 th anniversary event is one that you don’t want to miss! Our new, larger venue will be the JW Marriott on Adams Street in downtown Chicago – accommodating more attendees and with additional space for networking and for our vendor partners to showcase their offerings. There are just a few sponsorship opportunities still available – contact Mindy McBee to snatch them up.  As our holiday gift to you, we are offering a 10% discount to the annual conference. Use code: holiday10 but act fast! The holiday10 code expires Wednesday January 8th.
A number of educational program and webinars were offered during the fall, providing members with insights into best in-class benefit strategies, hemophilia management, opioid misuse and so much more! A few highlights below.

If you missed any of our recent educational programs, no worries! The recordings and summaries from our year-to-date programs and annual conference are available on the MBGH website – capture all the learnings at a your convenience.
October 7 & 8 – MBGH Partners with Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI)

In partnership with EBRI, MBGH hosted two employer-only, round tables in October. Highlights included the results from MBGH's annual Health Benefits Direction Survey. Participants also learned about the latest strategies for specialty drug management, regulatory requirements amid an uncertain political agenda, and the role of financial wellness in supporting employees. Participants walked away energized with the understanding that today’s environment is ripe for change and collaboration!
Webinar: December 3 - Hemophilia and Bleeding Disorders

Guest Presenters: Darin Hinderman, Caterpillar, Inc.; Jason Parrott, The Boeing Company; Kollet Koulianos, National Hemophilia Foundation; and Cheryl Larson and Dawn Weddle, MBGH
This educational session provided eye-opening insights into the cost and complexity of hemophilia and other bleeding disorders. Participants heard from employers, regarding steps they are taking to mitigate hemophilia treatment costs while improving the lives of those impacted by this rare and chronic condition. A sneak peek into the MBGH Hemophilia toolkit was provided – this online resource is chock full of tools and resources to help employers gain a better understanding of hemophilia – an online employer checklist provides step-by-step instructions to analyze costs and plan design strategy and lays out recommendations to better manage this costly disease.
Webinar: December 10 - Data Review: Is your plan design encouraging appropriate opioid use?

Medical Outcomes Specialists at Pfizer:
Heather Sell, PharmD, BCPS; Tim Hartman, PharmD, BCPS, CPHIMS
This webinar provided an overview of the importance of balancing appropriate pain treatment and avoiding misuse and abuse of pain medications. Information was provided on a series of three upcoming interactive workshops which will explore opportunities to take action to address the opioid epidemic using organizational claims data. These employer-only workshops will take place in February through May 2020. Even if you weren’t able to participate in this month's webinar, you can join the upcoming free workshops by contacting Denise Giambalvo
Over the past few months, MBGH staff was involved in a number of other programs and conferences. These were great opportunities to network with other employer coalition members, share the innovative work that MBGH is doing and make a difference on the health and wellbeing of the communities in which we serve!
November 11-13 - National Alliance Annual Forum
Last month, the MBGH leadership team along with three board members attended the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions annual forum in Washington, D.C. This three-day event provided an opportunity to collaborate with our sister coalitions, learn from industry leaders and explore new marketplace solutions. We gained new insights into the impact of new technology on the future of healthcare, effective ways to navigate disruption, impact of consolidation and cost pressures, and how personalized medicine is changing the healthcare landscape...and so much more. We look forward to passing on our learnings to you at upcoming education programs!
November 22 - Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy Midwest Conference

Moderator: Cheryl Larson, MBGH President and CEO
Panelists: Jason Parrott, Global Healthcare & Wellbeing Strategy, The Boeing Company and Corey Belken, Pharm.D., Vice President of Strategic Business Initiatives, Health Transformation Alliance
This panel discussion focused on leading benefit strategies and the role of employers as catalysts for change. This lively discussion drew a large crowd and lots of pointed questions from the audience!
Ongoing since January 2017 - State of Illinois Diabetes Action Plan

Diabetes Management in the Workplace Toolkit
MBGH has been awarded two grants from the State of IL to further knowledge, education and awareness of diabetes through our Diabetes Management in the Workplace toolkit. As part of the State of IL Action Plan, MBGH has presented webinars and workshops to educate employers and other stakeholders about prediabetes as well as diabetes. We continue to seek employers who would like to offer the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) for their workforce. MBGH can provide technical assistance, strategic guidance and help with vendor selection to reduce the time and resources needed to get a DPP program off the ground at your organization. Contact Judy Hearn to learn more!
MBGH and twelve of our sister coalitions visited key advisers in the House who serve on the Education and Labor Committee, a committee that also addresses health care. We sent a clear message on the following:

  1. Balance billing. We do not want this practice to continue. Arbitration is not an option – only one invoice should be permitted.
  2. Repeal the Cadillac tax. The House recently passed a bill to repeal this tax; help is needed to move this through the Senate. Sign on to the letter the American Benefits Council has drafted here.
  3. Eliminate rebates. The practice of increasing drug prices through rebates and other fees needs to end.
  4. Price transparency. Employers want price transparency in drug costs and medical claims.
The value of MBGH membership includes access to resources and programs available through our strategic partners. Click on the logos below to learn more about these partner organizations!
The American Benefits Council (The Council) is a national trade association based in Washington, D.C. that advocates for employer-sponsored benefit plans . Through our partnership, MBGH is able to provide timely updates to our members on legal and regulatory issues impacting employers. In addition, MBGH influences legislative policy by providing The Council with employer perspective input. 
Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR) is an independent, non-profit corporation working to catalyze employers, public purchasers and others to implement strategies that produce higher-value health care and improve the functioning of the health care marketplace. MBGH employer members can participate in CPR education events and Health Plan User Groups at no charge, with discounted rates for Collaborative and Commission Market Assessments.  More info here .
Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) is a nonpartisan, non-profit research institute based in Washington, D.C. that produces original research on health, savings, retirement and economic security issues, including 401(k) and retirement plan coverage data, post-retirement income adequacy, health coverage and the uninsured, and economic security of the elderly. MBGH members can attend jointly sponsored events at no charge, such as the Employee Benefits Research and Policy Roundtables that were held in October. 
For over 100 years, the Institute of Medicine of Chicago (IOMC) has made significant contributions to the practice of medicine and the business of healthcare. As a uniquely multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary organization, IOMC provides an independent, neutral forum for the Chicago region’s health leaders to convene, collaborate, and contribute to the health of the city. Current joint initiatives between MBGH and IOMC include the establishment of a multi-stakeholder Mental Health Cohort and a recently published action brief, “ A Community of Solutions: Jointly Addressing Mental Health ” 
Integrated Benefits Institute’s ( IBI's) work emphasizes that healthy, productive employees promote healthy business. As a leading research organization in health and productivity, IBI provides employers with the analysis, research and tools to make sound decisions for workplace health investments. IBI recently launched the IBIBridge pilot program to connect employers to peers through a private technology platform to explore strategies, insights, experiences and solutions organized around common key issues. Through this program, MBGH members have access to direct responses to their most pressing questions from leading subject matter experts. Historically, IBI has offered MBGH members the opportunity to attend their annual conference at no cost!
The Leapfrog Group is a non-profit watchdog organization that serves as a voice for health care purchasers, using their collective influence to foster positive change in U.S. health care. Leapfrog is the nation’s premier advocate of hospital transparency—collecting, analyzing and disseminating hospital data to inform value-based purchasing. As the Leapfrog Group IL Regional Leader, MBGH encourages both hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers to report their safety scores by completing the annual Leapfrog Group survey.
The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchasers Coalitions (NA) is the umbrella organization for regional coalitions across the country. MBGH is a founding member. NA provides expertise, resources and a voice to its member coalitions across the country, representing each community coalition at the national level. MBGH members can learn more about sister organization educational events and opportunities on the National Alliance website.
The Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute (PBMI) is a leading provider of research and education that informs, advises, and influences the industry on drug cost management. PBMI services are geared towards providing meaningful information to help educate on the design of drug benefit programs. MBGH and PBMI share educational resources and pass along pertinent information to our member groups. 
The Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) is one on the nation’s most respected resources for building high-performing, healthy workplaces. MBGH employer members receive a complimentary membership to WELCOA, including access to WELCOA resources, training and certification courses.To take advantage of this benefit, MBGH business members provide organizational contact information to MBGH via this link .
As a member of MBGH, you have access to a suite of health benefit services through the Midwest Health Purchasers Collaborative. These opportunities have been vetted by MBGH and through this collaborative, you have access to these services at discounts versus what you would get from an individual agreement. Check out what two employer members have to say about EmployeRxEvolution and Shortlister . For more information on EmployeRxEvolution, contact Denise Giambalvo. Contact Judy Hearn to request more information on Shortlister.
John Butler
Manager of Benefit Design
Edward-Elmhurst Health
"Pharmacy benefits are complicated and we had struggled to gain an understanding of why our costs kept going up each year, even though we were part of our Health & Welfare consulting firm’s PBM group purchasing coalition. Through EmployeRxEvolution, we secured a PBM contract with our vendor of choice which will reduce our pharmacy benefit costs by over 15%. As a plan fiduciary, I also feel more comfortable knowing that we now have the right to make our own drug coverage decisions and have an independent firm auditing our contract.”
Katie Foulser
Manager, Choose Health
Rush University System for Health
“Shortlister provided valuable guidance as Rush was choosing a vendor. The Shortlister team was thorough, thoughtful and efficient. The information provided by the platform was instrumental in completing the proposal process in a timely and effective manner.”
Over the past few months, MBGH was featured in a number of publications, including the Chicago Tribune, Employee Benefit News and Morning Consult. The reach of these articles extends past the readership of these publications as the stories were picked up by a number of other news outlets. Total visibility of these four articles exceeded 73 million!
A few highlights…