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Program overview

Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) is committed to a supportive and positive-change environment for prescribers participating in opioid quality improvement (QI) work. Optimal patient outcomes, a safer opioid-prescribing culture and person-centered care are shared goals across the health care, public health, state government and patient communities. The Opioid Prescribing Improvement Program (OPIP) quality improvement program emphasizes data review, team-based care and adaptive change to support those goals.

Project goals

  • Reduce inappropriate or excessive opioid prescribing for acute and post-acute pain
  • Reduce inappropriate variation in opioid prescribing for acute and post-acute pain
  • Support patients who remain on chronic opioid analgesic therapy through patient-centered, multimodal treatment approaches, improved monitoring of safety and harm reduction strategies.

Annual Project Timeline

The opioid prescribing reports and QI program annual cycle includes the following:

April - June 

  • DHS creates annual opioid prescribing reports for Minnesota Medicaid and MinnesotaCare providers who prescribed opioid therapy to at least one member in the previous calendar year. Based on prescribing report data, DHS identifies clinicians whose data indicate they may be outliers in their prescribing trends.
  • DHS shares prescribing data and reports with identified liaisons at health systems and clinics. DHS works with health systems and clinics to engage prescribers in quality efforts around opioid prescribing.

May – December

For providers engaged in QI, the following program milestones are expected to be met over the course of the calendar year:

  • Self assessment: Providers identified for QI complete a self-assessment step upon receipt of opioid prescribing reports and prescription data. This step encourages a thoughtful review of clinical practice guidelines and one’s own practice. DHS staff and its clinical contractors are available for ongoing support and consultation.
  • Quality improvement planning: QI providers submit a quality improvement plan to DHS for review. Plans should address relevant pain phases and align with clinical practice guidelines.
  • Quality improvement work: Providers will use their QI plan to conduct small tests of change within their practice over the course of four to six months.
  • Evaluation: QI providers submit a brief evaluation of their QI project to DHS at year end.

January – March (of the following calendar year)

  • DHS provides feedback to clinicians about the quality improvement project they completed in the previous calendar year with direction regarding ongoing participation.
  • DHS analyzes the opioid prescribing data from the previous calendar year and generates the next set of annual prescribing reports.
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