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Program overview

DHS is committed to a supportive and positive-change environment for prescribers participating in quality improvement 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 initiating opioid therapy for medical conditions not indicated for opioid analgesia;
  • Improve the consistency of decision-making in the 45 days following an acute injury or surgical procedure to prevent the transition to long-term opioid therapy; and
  • Support prescribers’ efforts to manage patients who receive opioid therapy for chronic pain with multi-modal treatment, improved safety monitoring and harm reduction strategies. 

Annual Project Timeline

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

March - April

  • Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) issues updated opioid prescribing reports to Minnesota Medicaid and MinnesotaCare providers who prescribed opioid therapy to at least one member in the previous calendar year. The annual reports provide data about opioids prescribed in the previous calendar year.
  • Employer notification. DHS is authorized to share the opioid prescribing data of prescribers with their affiliated health systems or practice groups. DHS sends the data to employers via a secure electronic transmission.

May – December

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

  • Project initiation: QI providers and their health systems receive reports and prescribing data. DHS staff and its clinical contractors will be available for ongoing support and communication including webinars and one-on-one consultation.
  • Quality improvement planning: QI providers, with the support of their practice, submit a quality improvement plan to DHS for review. Required elements of the QI plan will be shared with providers after the QI program begins. DHS and its quality improvement contractor will review the submitted plans to confirm that the plan addresses the appropriate measure or pain phase, and required components.
  • Quality improvement work: Providers will use their QI plan to conduct small tests of change within their practice.  
  • Evaluation: QI providers submit a brief evaluation of their QI project to DHS.

January – March (of the next calendar year)

  • QI providers receive notification from DHS about their quality improvement project (previous year), and ongoing participation status.
  • DHS analyzes the opioid prescribing data from the previous calendar year and generates the next set of annual prescribing reports. During this period, DHS will also determine which sentinel measures will be subject to quality improvement for the upcoming year.
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