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DHS Commissioner sees health savings model in action at LRH

Hospital news | Thursday, April 6, 2017

Integrated Health Partnerships improving health, reducing cost of care in Fergus Falls

Today, Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper visited Lake Region Healthcare (LRH) in Fergus Falls to see Minnesota's Integrated Health Partnerships (IHP) program in action. The IHP is Minnesota's groundbreaking approach to more efficiently delivering quality healthcare for individuals with low incomes. The healthcare initiative has helped Minnesota save more than $150 million and achieve better health outcomes for people enrolled in Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare.

Gov. Mark Dayton is recommending enhancements and expansion of the IHP program in a new budget proposal. The changes are designed to continue the progress achieved, attract more providers to participate and create new levels of efficiency and coordination.

Commissioner Piper visited LRH, which has participated in IHP since 2015, to highlight the proposal.

"Minnesota's innovative Integrated Health Partnerships program is reducing the cost of healthcare while improving quality, thanks to the efforts of participants such as Lake Region Healthcare," said Piper, who met with staff, patients and CEO Larry Schulz during her visit. "The governor's proposal will help us achieve even greater results by refining and expanding the program."

LRH serves most of Otter Tail County and portions of Grant and Wilkin Counties, providing primary care and specialty services to approximately 45,000 people. It was one of the most successful IHPs to start in 2015, saving nearly half a million dollars in their first year.

"We appreciate the opportunity to be part of this innovative IHP program. It is partnerships like this that help us accomplish the Triple Aim of improving the health of the population, improving the care experience, and lowering the cost of care in the communities we serve," said Schulz.

Drivers of Lake Region's IHP success include:

  • Integration of state-supplied patient data into their electronic records, allowing them to target services and provide care coordination to patients with the greatest unmet needs, including Medical Assistance enrollees with more than three emergency department visits, hypertension, pre-diabetes, smokers, elevated Body Mass Index (BMI) or behavioral health issues; and
  • Greater integration of behavioral health services and strengthening partnerships with county public health and other county service providers (including expanded use of community paramedics for hard-to-reach patients).

Statewide, IHPs now encompass 21 provider groups and more than 462,000 enrollees. In the first three years, through state fiscal year 2015, IHPs achieved a total cost savings of $156 million.

Gov. Dayton's proposal is part of a health care coverage and purchasing reform package, which has a net savings to the state of $4.8 million in the 2018-19 biennium and a cost of $3.9 million in the 2020-21 biennium. More information about this and other budget proposals is available on the 2017 session fact sheets page on the DHS website.

About the Integrated Health Partnerships program

The IHP program prioritizes the delivery of higher quality and lower cost healthcare, encouraging providers to focus on delivering efficient and effective health care and preventive services to reach mutually agreed-upon health goals. In contrast, the traditional payment system pays providers for the volume of care they deliver, rather than the quality of care they provide. In the IHP model, providers who meet a threshold for savings are eligible for a share of the savings. Beginning in the second year of participation, some providers also share the downside risk if costs are higher than projected.

Attached Photo, L to R: Andrea Young, Community Paramedic, Ringdahl EMS; John Dinsmore, Community Services Directory, Otter Tail County; Kristin Erickson, Evaluator and Healthcare Initiative Coordinator, PartnerSHIP4Health; Diane Thorson, Public Health Director, Otter Tail County; Emily Piper, Department of Human Services Commission, State of Minnesota; Deb Sjostrom, Human Services Director, Otter Tail County; Larry Schulz, CEO, Lake Region Healthcare.