Health Economics Program

Health Economics Program

The Health Economics Program (HEP) conducts empirical, objective research and applied policy analysis to monitor changes in the health care marketplace; to understand factors influencing health care cost, quality and access; and to provide technical assistance in the development of state health care policy.

We maintain a range of Data Resources for analysis, and publish reports, papers, issue briefs, presentations and more in our Publications library.

The Health Care Spending Dilemma

Learn about health care spending in Minnesota, how spending growth can create problems for individuals, businesses and governments, and why constraining spending is hard. This video also provides an outline of how policymakers might approach limiting health care spending growth in the future.

New Publications

HEP Presents at AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting 2019 (PDF)

Work by staff from the Health Economics Program was accepted to poster sessions, panel discussions, and presentations at this year’s annual meeting of the premier conference for Health Services Research and Health Policy. The topics ranged from health care quality and insurance market simulations, to health care prices and hospital readmissions.

Administrative Costs at Minnesota Health Plans in 2017 (PDF)

This report presents data on 2017 administrative spending for all health plans (group purchasers) that reported more than $3 million in total health premiums collected from Minnesota residents. Administrative health plan spending is captured in fourteen categories. (June 2019)

Unhealthy Days: A Data Short Take (PDF)

This data short take provides information on the average number of unhealthy days Minnesotans reported from 2013 to 2017. Using data from the Minnesota Health Access Survey, results are reported statewide and for select populations.

Disparities in Premature Death Amenable to Health Care, 2011 to 2015 (PDF)

This issue brief describes geographic variation in rates of premature death in Minnesota between 2011 and 2015 that may have been preventable with timely access to health care services. Causes of such preventable deaths, or “health care amenable” mortality include those related to diseases such as stroke, heart disease, treatable cancers and other causes that might have been prevented through timely and effective health care treatment. (May 2019)

Health Care Capital Expenditures in Minnesota: A Data Short Take (PDF)

This Data Short Take provides information on how Minnesota hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers made major spending commitments such as building updates, replacing and adding medical equipment, and technological upgrades such as electronic health records between 2007 and 2016. (March 2019)

Minnesota Health Care Spending: 2015 and 2016 Estimates and Ten-Year Projections (PDF)

This legislative report provides estimates of health care spending for Minnesota residents in 2015 and 2016 and projections of spending between 2017 and 2026. The report also explores the history of health care spending growth, and the availability of evidence-based strategies to constrain the level and growth of spending. Other topics include health care spending by source of funds and categories of service. (February 2019)

A Measurement Framework for a Healthier Minnesota (PDF)

This legislatively required report presents results from the foundational first phase of MDH’s work toward completing a quality measurement framework, and includes a roadmap to guide the remaining work during 2019 and implementation beginning in 2020. MDH had rich conversations with a wide range of stakeholders that helped lay the groundwork for a new vision of quality measurement for Minnesota. (February 2019)

Population-Level Estimates of Telemedicine Service Provision Using An All-Payer Claims Database | Health Affairs

This article published in the December 2018 issue of Health Affairs reports data from the MN APCD on the patterns of telemedicine use in Minnesota during 2010-2015, across insurance coverage types, provider type, and rurality of patient residence.

Hospital Public Interest Review: Evaluation of a Proposal for Expansion of Licensed Bed Capacity at Regions Hospital (PDF)

This report to the Legislature contains MDH's final findings from the comprehensive public interest review of the proposal to add 100 licensed beds to Regions Hospital in Saint Paul. MDH found that the proposal was not in the public interest. (August 2018)

Hospital Community Benefit Spending in Minnesota, 2013 to 2015 (PDF)

This report to the Minnesota Legislature describes community benefit spending by Minnesota hospitals between 2013 and 2015. The report considers different categories of community benefit spending, and how different types of hospitals direct community benefit dollars. Supplemental tables provide detailed community benefit breakdowns by hospital. (August 2018)

Supplemental Tables: Excel | PDF

Commercial Case Price Variation among High-Volume Inpatient Treatments in Minnesota Hospitals (Part 2): July 2014 - June 2015 (PDF)

This report examines case price variation for four common, clinically uncomplicated inpatient surgeries. This is the second in a series of reports focusing on variation in health care prices for common treatments and procedures in Minnesota. (August 2018)

Patterns of Opioid Prescribing in Minnesota: 2012 and 2015 (PDF)

This issue brief describes opioid prescription patterns in Minnesota in 2012 and 2015. (April 2018)

Health Economics Program Publications

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