May 2, 2018
Today's Hottest Topics Featured at 2018 Summit

Did you know purpose- and values-driven organizations dramatically outperform the general market and comparison companies? With that knowledge, how can we apply purpose-driven solutions to today's most urgent and intriguing health care issues? Opioids, obesity, new frontiers, bold innovation, physical and mental health and well-being, and compassion at work are among the diverse topics being explored at The Action Group's May 11, 2018, Summit.

"We are so excited about our Summit speaker lineup and topics this year," says Carolyn Pare, Action Group president and CEO. "By addressing how to apply purpose-driven solutions for optimal health in the workplace, we acknowledge top-of-mind employer challenges and provide breakthrough ideas to inspire Summit attendees."

Only a few spots remain for this year's Summit, so please click here if you would like to register. Many of the Summit topics are regularly front-page news. Explore more by clicking on the links below.
June Member Meeting Features Allan Baumgarten

The news is dominated daily with stories of the changing landscape of health care. The big are getting bigger, and new business models reflect horizontal and vertical integration. A sense of optimism propels the shift from volume to value, and new market entrants and innovative start-up organizations promise patient-centered care and improved outcomes. Yet, a sense of frustration surrounds the reality of an often-irrational marketplace, abounding with "middle men," excessive prices, and escalating costs. Indeed, The Action Group's 2018 Annual Employer Benefits Survey confirmed that Minnesota purchasers continue to experience health care cost trends that exceed national averages.

Our June meeting, The Changing Landscape for Health Care in Minnesota: Data and Insights for Employers, offers members the opportunity to hear market insights from Allan Baumgarten, an independent analyst and consultant whose work focuses on health care policy, finance and local market strategies. He is the author of Minnesota Health Market Review, a nationally recognized annual report analyzing key trends and issues in that market since 1990. 

This member-exclusive meeting is June 21, 2018, from 8 a.m.-10 a.m., at the Hilton Airport/MOA. Click here for a full description. Registration opens May 15! 

While this meeting is for members only, if you are actively considering membership and would like to attend, please contact Sue Jesseman ( for a complimentary meeting pass. 
What's New in Employer Benefits? Survey Results Now In!

Annual Employer Benefits Survey participants recently received the full results, but summaries of key findings are now available to all!

High-level results from general industry and cities, counties and school districts are featured in two new summaries. Included are key insights to guide strategy and planning, as well as a high-level look at strategic data integration, mental health benefits strategies and tactics, contribution strategies, top health care innovations, and prescription drug trends. 
Those who did not take the Survey but would like to receive a copy of the full results may do so by committing to participating next year. Please contact Deb Krause ( to learn more.  
National Alliance Rich in Resources

Because The Action Group is a member of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, our members have access to special discounts, tools and resources. But non-members also benefit from work the National Alliance is doing to drive improvements in health, well-being and value for organizations and communities nationwide.

"We have regional health care coalitions from around the country that are a part of the National Alliance. Together, these coalitions are helping drive innovation, health and value for our companies and communities," says Mike Thompson, National Alliance president and CEO. "Our relationship with the Minnesota Health Action Group has offered many opportunities for collaborating and sharing best practices, and was foundational in the roll-out of a National Specialty Drug framework adapted from Minnesota's highly regarded Specialty Drug Learning Network and Guiding Coalition."

Some of the most popular National Alliance resources can be found through the links below. 
Looking for Inspiration? Take Advantage of Learning Opportunities!

The Action Group makes it easy for benefits professionals to continue to learn and grow in their careers. Member meetings feature topics selected by our members, and public meetings and events are open to all.  
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. If you missed the April member meeting on ACOs, or attended and would like to have the slides, please log into the Member Center from the homepage and select Member Meeting Presentations. 
Public Meetings and Events:     
Spring is in the air at the Capitol  
With roughly three weeks remaining in the 2018 Session, legislators are working diligently to produce their supplemental budget proposals. Last week the Senate passed Senate File 3656, a comprehensive package that includes all areas of the state budget. The House will work to pass their proposals in similar fashion this week, with any differences being resolved in a joint conference committee before being sent to Governor Dayton for his approval or veto. This is in addition to similar work being done on separate tax reform and capital investment bills. (If you think that sounds like a lot to accomplish before May 21, you are correct.)
Between the Senate and House bills, a number of issues related to transparency and cost in the health care system are included. Among them are requirements for providers to disclose more information around facility fees, changes to a pharmacist's ability to inform consumers of lower cost options at the counter, reforms to step therapy protocols, and the creation of a new Health Policy Commission tasked with taking a broad, diagnostic look at our state health care system. While Minnesota has had myriad similar task forces, work groups, and commissions before, this group would be established for a period of several years with a wide cross-section of applicants who would be thoroughly screened by both the state and the Minneapolis Federal Reserve. Proponents hope this new group will be able to do more than simply "admire the problem," which other efforts have been accused of, and present long-range options for the Legislature to consider.
It promises to be a hectic final few weeks; stay tuned for updates as the end of Session approaches.

"In 2016, the latest year for which this data is available, Minnesota health care providers wrote 3.5 million prescriptions for opioids. That's enough for 62 percent of the state's population to have access to these powerful drugs."

Minnesota Department of Health