News release: Innovative Health Care Homes delivering higher quality care at a lower cost

News Release
February 20, 2014

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Innovative Health Care Homes delivering higher quality care at a lower cost

Report shows clinics embracing the "health care home" model reduced Medicaid costs 9 percent

Minnesota's Health Care Homes initiative continues to transform primary care in Minnesota, as new research shows the clinics' collaborative, patient-centered model of health care delivery reduced costs and outperformed other clinics on quality measures.

A new report provided to the Minnesota Legislature this week by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) shows 43 percent of all primary care clinics in Minnesota are now certified as health care homes. Together, these clinics serve nearly 3.3 million Minnesotans. In addition, a University of Minnesota study released Thursday shows that health care homes clinics reduced Medicaid costs and outperformed other clinics on quality measures during a three-year period.

The University of Minnesota research shows health care home clinics outperformed non-health care home clinics during 2010 to 2012 on measures of care related to cancer screening, asthma, diabetes, vascular care and depression. The biggest differences in quality were observed in the asthma care measures, where the health care home quality rate was approximately 20 percent higher than the non-health care home rate. The colorectal cancer screening rate was 8 percent higher and optimal vascular care was 4 to 8 percent higher.

Health care homes are also providing access to care for Medicaid enrollees with more severe medical conditions and enrollees from disadvantaged populations, according the university evaluation. Health care homes clinics compared to non-health care homes tend to care for a higher proportion of patients of color and American Indians, patients with less than a high school degree, and non-English speaking patients.

According to Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger, the power of the health care homes model comes from teamwork and a focus on preventing health problems.

"These reports show Minnesota's health care home model has really helped clinics improve the quality of their care and helped patients meet their health goals," Commissioner Ehlinger said. "The model does this by allowing patient-centered care teams to focus on prevention and connecting the dots of our complicated health care system."

Minnesota's health care home model offers an innovative, team approach to primary care in which providers, families, patients, and other team members work in partnership to improve the health and quality of life for individuals, especially those with chronic and complex conditions. Health care homes put patients and families at the center of their care, develop proactive approaches through care plans and offer more continuity of care through increased care coordination between providers and community resources.

The initiative allowing clinics to voluntarily become certified as health care homes and receive additional payments for care coordination was launched by Minnesota's 2008 Health Care Reform Act. Certification has been embraced by Minnesota's primary care clinics. As of December 31, 2013, Minnesota had 322 certified health care homes. Approximately 353,000 Minnesota health care program participants received care in a health care home in 2013.

"This latest information about health care homes is a strong example of how it is possible to achieve the aim of improving the quality and experience of care, while at the same time lowering costs," said Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson.

Health care homes continue to serve as a foundational element of health reform that allows the state to respond to a quickly changing marketplace. The model's focus on whole person disease management and patient-centered care helps to focus primary care on prevention. It has also served as a cornerstone for additional health care reforms that improve coordination among health care with behavioral, community, social service, and public health systems.

MDH and DHS are jointly responsible for the development and implementation of Minnesota's Health Care Homes initiative.

More information about the University of Minnesota evaluation is available at [expired link].


Media inquiries:

Scott Smith
MDH Communications

Martiga Lohn
Minnesota Department of Human Services