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Health Reform Announcements -
April 2012

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Health Care Reform Task Force and Workgroup Information

The Minnesota Department of Health posts weekly updates of announcements related to the agency's health reform activities. These updates are also sent out via email to subscribers to Health Reform Announcements. Updates are sent each Thursday.

Weekly Update - April 24, 2012

Health Care Homes to Test Patient Experience Surveys
Health Care Homes has recently awarded NRC Picker an $18,750 contract to compare two different patient experience surveys to see whether they yield similar results. The goal is to see whether clinics would be allowed to use either survey to meet the requirements of Minnesota’s health care home and quality reporting programs.

NRC Picker, based in Lincoln, Neb., will test equivalency between the CG-CAHPS Visit version, used by the Statewide Quality Improvement and Measurement System and a modified version of the new CG-CAHPS Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Survey, which Health Care Homes is interested in using. If equivalency is found across the core visit questions used in both surveys, health care home clinics might be able to use the modified CG-PCMH survey. This would allow clinics to meet requirements that take effect this year for both programs and reduce their survey burden and costs.

To request additional information, email

Citizens League and Bush Foundation Convene Minnesotans to Share Views on Health Care
Last year the two organizations took “a bit of a gamble,” when they embarked on a series of community conversations about the state budget. This year they’re back, inviting citizens to come together to discuss health care in Minnesota. Read the full story at Twin Cities Daily Planet.

Weekly Update - April 19, 2012

MDH seeks comments on Minnesota's Quality Incentive Payment System
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is proposing its second update to the Minnesota Quality Incentive Payment System since the initial framework was published in January 2010. The updated framework is available at Health Care Quality Measures - Quality Incentive Payment System. Interested stakeholders may submit comments on the updated framework to through April 24, 2012. 

More Clinics Report Quality of Depression Care
The number of clinics reporting on the quality of their depression care has more than doubled due to a requirement of Minnesota Statewide Quality Reporting and Measurement System (SQRMS) that was included in Minnesota's 2008 Health Care Reform Act. That was one highlight from Minnesota Community Measurement's recently released its annual 2011 Health Care Quality Report.

This year’s report also includes a section displaying risk adjusted rates compared to MNCM reported unadjusted rates for five measures: Optimal Diabetes Care, Optimal Vascular Care, Depression Remission at Six Months, Optimal Asthma Care, and Colorectal Cancer Screening.

Weekly Update - April 12, 2012

Provider Peer Grouping bill passes
Legislation signed by Gov. Mark Dayton April 5 will change Minnesota’s provider peer grouping program by giving providers more time to review their data and by making health plan use of the data optional rather than mandatory.

MDH seeks comments on Minnesota's Quality Incentive Payment System
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is proposing its second update to the Minnesota Quality Incentive Payment System since the initial framework was published in January 2010. The updated framework is available at Health Care Quality Measures - Quality Incentive Payment System. Interested stakeholders may submit comments on the updated framework to through April 24, 2012.

Citizen Solutions - A different conversation about health care
Join Citizen Solutions to engage with other Minnesotans in a conversation about what’s important to the future of health and health care in our state. View this You Tube animated essay about the meetings by David Gillette. Starting in mid-April, a series of on-line activities will complement the in-person meetings.  Activities will include bi-weekly discussions, a place to share your stories, and an open discussion forum.

Scheduled forums include
April 12 Minneapolis
April 17 St. Paul
April 18 Rochester
April 24 Northfield
April 26 Eden Prairie

Additional forums will also be held throughout the state. In August, the Bush Foundation and the Citizens League will deliver a report to Governor Dayton’s health care reform task force on the values and priorities that have been heard from people and businesses across the state.

Public comments on interim final exchange and Medicaid regulations
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is soliciting comments on Interim Final Exchange regulations surrounding a proposed framework to enable states to build affordable insurance exchanges. In addition, HHS is soliciting comments on regulations defining the eligibility and enrollment policies designed for individuals to enroll in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program beginning in 2014.

Minnesota submitted comments in October 2011 on a number of proposed regulations. The letter can be viewed at

Minnesota welcomes public comments on the Interim Final Exchange and Medicaid regulations. Your comments will be reviewed and will assist the Minnesota Departments of Commerce, Human Services and Health in preparing a formal response to HHS. Comments must be received by 3 p.m. central time Monday, April 23. Send your comments to (please write “Interim Final” in the subject line).

For further details on this opportunity, go to

The final rules, including the interim final provisions, can be found at:


Weekly Update - April 5, 2012

Proposal for Medicare, Medicaid integration comments due April 19
The Department of Human Services invites public comment on a proposed demonstration to further integrate Medicare and Medicaid coverage for more than 93,000 Minnesota seniors and people with disabilities. The proposal (pdf) seeks more administrative integration, including provider payments and consumer materials, and greater accountability among providers and payers for total cost of care and health outcomes for people with both types of coverage.

Recommendations sought for Statewide quality reporting
MDH invites interested stakeholders to submit recommendations on the addition, removal, or modification of standardized quality measures to MDH by June 1, 2012. The Commissioner will take these recommendations into consideration in determining what, if any, changes should be made to the Statewide Quality Reporting and Measurement System. Recommendations must be submitted to MDH at by 4:30 p.m. on June 1, 2012, to be considered.
Information on the criteria for recommendations is available at Health Care Quality Measures - Recommendations.

Minnesota Statutes 62U.02 requires the Commissioner of Health to establish a standardized set of quality measures for health care providers across the state. The standardized set of quality measures includes the measures for which the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) directly collects data, as well as a broader set for which health plans may require providers to submit data. The Commissioner of Health established these measures in Minnesota Rules, chapter 4654, and is required to review them on an annual basis.

Access Work Group to review exchange modeling April 12
The Governor's Health Care Reform Task Force Access Work Group will review a micro-simulation model that estimates the future impact of the Affordable Care Act and a Minnesota health insurance exchange. The model provides estimates about 2016 exchange and public program enrollment and insurance market dynamics. The research was conducted by Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Bela Gorman of Gorman Actuarial, who gave this presentation (pdf) to the governor's task force November 17, 2011.

Exchange director presents summary of federal regulations
In March, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released final regulations for the implementation of health insurance exchanges on parts dealing with the exchange, Medicaid eligibility and risk sharing. At the Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Task Force meeting last week, April Todd-Malmlov, the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange Director, presented a summary of the final rules (pdf) and discussed their ramifications on the development of a Minnesota-made health insurance exchange.

Save the Date - The Cost of Gridlock: Minnesota's Creeping Health Care Crisis, April 25, 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m
The Center for Politics and Governance at the Humphrey School will host Jan Malcolm, CEO of the Courage Center, and the discussion will be moderated by Professor Lawrence Jacobs. This event is free and open to the public.


Updated Friday, July 12, 2013 at 04:07PM