DHS News Release: State launches next step in health care reform

Minnesota Department of Human Services logo and hexagon background


November 3, 2017

View previous announcements

For media inquiries only

Jeanine Nistler

State launches next step in health care reform

New demonstration builds upon successful Integrated Health Partnerships model which has served 460,000 Minnesotans, improved health care access and outcomes, reduced hospital admissions by 14 percent and saved the state nearly $213 million.

Today, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) called for feedback on health care purchasing reforms that will build upon the successful Integrated Health Partnerships (IHP) program, an initiative designed to reward providers who deliver improved health care outcomes in Minnesota.

The plan for the proposed demonstration is available for review by stakeholders and the public on the DHS website. Feedback on the plan will be accepted until 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. Public meetings are scheduled beginning next week.

The new contract framework announced by the state will bring the procurement processes across managed care organizations (MCOs) and IHP organizations in closer alignment; introduce increased transparency around health care spending and related outcomes; and move providers toward greater accountability, placing a higher value on providers that achieve better health outcomes at a reasonable cost.

Feedback gathered in the next month will shape the next request for proposals for Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare contracts for children and families for 2019. Health care provider systems in the seven-county metro area will have the opportunity to submit proposals to participate in a new type of IHP contract, alongside MCOs. This effort will focus on testing new ways for providers and health plans to innovate and will require both to demonstrate value. The demonstration aims to enhance the health care enrollee experience by strengthening the patient and provider relationship; it will reward both IHPs and MCOs for improving health care outcomes, increasing efficiencies, and addressing social determinants of health.

In their first four years, IHPs across the state have served 460,000 Minnesotans, improved health care access and outcomes for those served, reduced hospital admissions by 14 percent and saved the state nearly $213 million, according to DHS analysis of that period. 

“This new contract model is the next step in Minnesota’s nation-leading health care reform innovations,” said Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper. “This purchasing strategy will provide Minnesotans enrolled in Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare additional choice in how they receive health care and improve their health – and it gives the state a way to pay providers for those improvements.”

The new IHP model for 2019 will be designed to:

  • Improve health outcomes for MA and MinnesotaCare enrollees and their families.
  • Ensure that enrollees have a meaningful choice in health care providers and understand the differences between the various provider networks. 
  • Encourage networks to value providers who coordinate care across the continuum of services and work with the community to improve outcomes.
  • Move providers toward accountability for health care cost and quality while maintaining an appropriate amount of flexibility in their organizational structure, contracts, partnerships, and management of provider activities such as prescribing practices.
  • Create a similar experience for providers and enrollees across programs, regardless of where they are enrolled and who they are contracted with. This means common administration, prescription drug formulary, etc., allowing enrollees to access these services when they change providers without significant disruption to their care. It should also reduce provider burden in understanding and administering program rules.

“The IHP demonstration projects have a strong record of success and have been a great example of how the state and health care providers can collaborate to improve care,” said Lawrence Massa, president and CEO of the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA). “Health care reform and innovation are more successful when policymakers and health care providers work together to improve care for patients, decrease costs and respond to the health needs of our communities. The state has been willing to incorporate feedback from providers. New IHPs will offer another option for hospitals and health systems to go further in their efforts to deliver the most coordinated, high-quality and efficient care possible.”

Said Commissioner Piper: “We have made great progress with Integrated Health Partnerships in the first four years of their existence, but there is more work to be done. Too many of our scarce resources still go toward paying providers based on volume of procedures rather than quality of care.  This initiative will help provide an opportunity to test new ways for providers and health plans to innovate the way in which they deliver quality, affordable health care for Minnesotans.”

Medical Assistance (MA) is Minnesota’s Medicaid program, serving more than 1 million people statewide. MinnesotaCare serves approximately 100,000 people who have incomes too high to qualify for MA but not enough to afford private insurance.

DHS will host two 90-minute stakeholder meetings to review the Request for Comment, address questions and solicit feedback. The meetings are open to the public. Attendance at these meetings is not required in order to submit a response to the Request for Comment.

Monday, Nov. 20, 2017
9:30 – 11 a.m.
Elmer Andersen Building, Room 2380
540 Cedar Street, St. Paul, MN 55155

Thursday, Dec. 4, 2017
1 – 2:30 p.m.
Merriam Park Library
1831 Marshall Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104