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State official commends Wilderness Health for enhancing care, saving money

Integrated Health Partnerships are key component of Minnesota’s health care reform innovations

8/10/2017 10:59:45 AM

For media inquiries only
Martiga Lohn 
A health care initiative that has helped Minnesota save nearly $213 million and achieve better health outcomes for people enrolled in Medicaid and MinnesotaCare is seeing successes in Two Harbors, where 13,636 patients have been served through the program at Wilderness Health. 
Wilderness Health is a collaborative of nine health care providers located in Northeastern Minnesota.  They joined the Minnesota Department of Human Service’s Integrated Health Partnerships (IHP) program in 2015. The partnership aims to improve health and reduce the cost of care.
Today, Human Services Assistant Commissioner Nathan Moracco visited one of Wilderness Health’s members, Lake View Hospital and Clinic in Two Harbors.
“Thanks to the work of participants such as Wilderness Health, Minnesota’s innovative IHP program is making a positive difference across Minnesota,” Moracco said. 
“By working together, we strive to continually develop and implement new and better ways to meet the health care needs of this region – and the IHP programs have helped us target our efforts,” said Cassandra Beardsley, Wilderness Health’s executive director.
Drivers of Wilderness Health’s IHP success include: 
  • Enhancing access to services from a variety of health care providers through telehealth and contracting; 
  • Using analytical tools to integrate data, then identifying and acting on opportunities for coordinating care;
  • Identifying patients with high Emergency Room utilization and linking them to primary care providers;
  • Exploring opportunities to reduce opioid prescribing and enhance access to treatment for opioid abuse.
Statewide, IHPs now encompass 21 provider groups and more than 462,000 enrollees. Legislation approved during the 2017 session will help DHS build on its significant progress toward accountability, costs savings and better health outcomes through IHPs. 
About the Integrated Health Partnerships program
The IHP program prioritizes the delivery of higher quality and lower cost health care, 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.
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