Coalition rewards clinics for improved health careby Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A coalition of employers is working to improve health outcomes in Minnesota by rewarding doctors who deliver optimal care to their patients.
The Buyer's Health Care Action Group will pay a record number of clinics this year for making meaningful improvements in their diabetes, depression or vascular disease care. The clinics will share $473,000 dollars in payments.
Of the nearly 295 clinics receiving rewards, only three met optimal care requirements in all three of the program's qualifying disease conditions: diabetes, depression and vascular disease. The clinics are part of Family Health Services Minnesota in the east metro.
The achievement bodes well for all of the clinics' patients, Buyer's Health Care Action Group CEO Carolyn Pare said.
"When you're getting results as they do in all these different conditions, I think that's a leading indicator that they're probably providing all of their patients with optimal care and a certain level of care coordination."
Diabetes care in clinics improved the most. Several more clinics also improved depression care. But Pare says the overall number of depressed patients who are in remission six months after their diagnosis remains very low.
Depression improvements have been slow to materialize because most providers can't afford the extra staff it takes to thoroughly track their patients' progress, Pare said.
"That is clearly a place where we could so positively have an impact on people's lives," Pare said. "And I would really like to see us embrace that as a community so that we could just make things better for people."
This is the sixth year the Buyers Health Care Action Group has given outcome-based payments through its Bridges to Excellence program.