We want to clarify a statement in a recent StarTribune Commentary.

In “Painful health insurance premiums are merely average. But, average’ isn’t affordable when catastrophic medical bills are no longer widely shared” we stated that one of Wakely’s research findings was “2017 premiums aren’t out of line when compared with the medical bills paid.” This statement is the opinion of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans and not one of Wakely’s direct research findings.

As part of their research, Wakely did not examine detailed claims data that would link premiums directly to medical bills. Rather, Wakely’s research states “Nationally many insurer’s premium rates were inadequate to cover costs for 2014 and 2015. Minnesota’s premiums were also inadequate as evidenced by insurer losses. In 2017, Minnesota’s premiums are now more in line with other states.

We don’t yet know if 2017 premiums match 2017 medical bills.

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Pediatricians cite 5 NICU tests babies may not need

The American Academy of Pediatrics has identified five tests or treatments that Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) patients typically receive but that may not be needed. The addition of the five tests or treatments is part of the Choosing Wisely efforts to promote conversations between doctors and and patients by helping patients choose care that:

  • Is supported by evidence
  • Doesn’t duplicate other tests or procedures already received
  • Doesn’t cause harm
  • Is truly necessary

Choosing Wisely centers around conversations between providers and patients informed by the evidence-based recommendations of “Things Providers and Patients Should Question.” More than 70 specialty societies including heart, brain, bone and joint, cancer doctors and more have released recommendations to help doctors and patients talk to each other about what tests or treatments are appropriate based on a patient’s individual situation.

The report authors wrote in Pediatrics most of the items were frequent use rather than high cost and that NICU efforts to reduce health care system waste may be especially effective because NICU care is provided by teams of health care professionals.

Consumer Reports works with Choosing Wisely to create information for patients based on the specialty societies’ lists of recommendations. Help is also available for providers who want to do a better job of having these conversations with their patients.

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Health costs, outcomes & equity headline Sept. 24 seminar

MN Community Measurement (MNCM) is hosting community conversation and presentations around how data and measurement are improving health care locally and around the country. Topics include health equity, cost of care, patient outcomes and patient experience.MNCM_2015Seminar_Slider_FNL
Speakers include:

  • Sharon Sayles Belton, former mayor of Minneapolis, on the impact of health equity on public policy
  • Jay Want, MD, founder of Want Healthcare LLC., on physician’s roles in influencing the total cost of care
  • Dr. Thomas Miller, chief medical officer of University of Utah Health Care, will share his experience around their pioneering role in publishing online patient reviews.
  • Dr. Rachel Hardeman, associate professor at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, will moderate an interactive feedback session on the value of measuring and using data on social determinants of health

Additional sessions cover the role of measurement in social determinants of health, how online patient reviews are impacting care and consumer behavior and additional perspectives on total cost of care, health equity and patient reported outcome measures. See MNCM’s most recent reports on each of these important topics.

The seminar is 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sept. 24, at the Earle Brown Heritage Center.  Find Registration and additional seminar details are on MNCM’s website.

Following the seminar, MN Community Measurement is celebrating a decade of health care transparency in Minnesota. A dinner is 5 to 8 p.m. and will include the announcement of the organization’s Leadership in Health Care Innovation and Transparency Champion awards.

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