Minnesota's reforms lead the way toward accountable care model

Minnesota's 2008 healthcare reforms have laid the foundation for an expansion of the "accountable care" model of integrated and coordinated healthcare delivery, according to a new report.

The report by The Commonwealth Fund and the National Academy for State Health Policy examines landmark health reform legislation that Minnesota enacted to make healthcare delivery more efficient and reduce costs.

Anne Gauthier of the NASHP, the report's lead author, said the state's efforts to transform care delivery offer insights for other states contemplating similar changes and for federal officials charged with implementing national health reform.

Gauthier said Minnesota's reforms have allowed the "accountable care" model – as well as other models of bundled payment – to gain considerable traction in the state.

As demonstrations of accountable care organizations and other payment reforms proceed under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the report says Minnesota will serve as an "excellent testing ground."

In addition to establishing a statewide health improvement program and enhancements to insurance coverage, Minnesota's reforms call for:

  • the collection and reporting of all-payer healthcare encounter data to make healthcare pricing and quality more transparent to purchasers and consumers;
  • the transparent ranking of providers, based on a combination of risk-adjusted cost and quality measures;
  • uniform definitions for at least seven "baskets of care," and standard quality measurements for those baskets;
  • a single, statewide system of quality-based incentive payments to healthcare providers, to be used by both public and private payers; and
  • standards for certifying providers as medical homes that coordinate care for people with complex or chronic conditions, and additional care coordination payments to providers meeting those standards.