As others see it: Minnesota can lead on health care reformSome leading health care providers in Minnesota have found ways to improve health care and lower the costs to taxpayers. We should embrace, promote and expand their efforts.
By: The Free Press of Mankato, Worthington Daily Globe
Some leading health care providers in Minnesota have found ways to improve health care and lower the costs to taxpayers. We should embrace, promote and expand their efforts.
While much of the public discourse, and indeed angst, has centered around repealing national health care reform, few have paid attention to innovations happening right now in Minnesota that can make the state a leader to affordable coverage for all.
In fact, some of the criticism lodged at the health care reform act at the national level is being addressed at the Hennepin County Medical Center under a program the Minnesota Legislature instituted two years ago.
HCMC is continuing to work on the model known as coordinated care centers, where health care providers work with social workers, housing managers and other agencies to treat a sick and poor population that had been costing the health care system millions of dollars.
HCMC’s Coordinated Care Center is a small clinic and part of a program the Legislature approved two years ago that allocated a lump sum to the system to take care of a certain population of low income people who qualify for government health care.
So far the results are impressive. Because social service agencies work on the front end to helping people get the housing, transportation and in some cases mental health help they need, the program has been able to cut in half the number of emergency room visits of the 150 patients in the system. Hospital visits, which can cost $20,000 to $40,000, have declined from an average of five to three in the first year also. ...
There’s more good news. Hennepin County will expand the program to be a formal demonstration project for the state to see if it can work on a larger scale. More than two dozen clinics will be set up to serve some 12,000 low income people.
The state will allocate $120 million to Hennepin County to use as it sees fit to provide services to the low income people be it health care, additional housing or other county services including food shelves or domestic abuse services. That will be a change from paying the money to insurance companies who would pay for nearly every procedure and test no matter the need or outcome and pass the cost on to the rest of us.
Minnesota can lead the way to preserve the important health care coverage many are now expecting and expand that coverage to all. Hennepin County appears to have a good start to bringing about the needed revolution.