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Minnesota Legislature

Health care delivery changes

Published (2/24/2012)
By Sue Hegarty
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The way health care would be delivered to and chosen by patients on Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare would change under several scenarios, including pediatric care and the prevention of low-birth weights for babies, under a bill sponsored by House Health and Human Services Finance Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka).

HF2230 would require management for the care of children with high-cost medical conditions who are frequently hospitalized or in the emergency room to expand through the use of video or audio communication technologies in the patient’s home. The goal is to reduce state-funded costs by avoiding unnecessary trips to the emergency room or hospitalization and also to improve the coordination of care between the patient and provider.

Pediatric hospital representatives said they believe the bill would result in better patient outcomes, even though the providers may not be compensated as much for the off-site coordination of patient care.

The bill also would require the health commissioner to implement strategies to reduce the incidence of low-birth weight pregnancies and deliveries. Rep. Tom Huntley (DFL-Duluth) said low-birth weight deliveries typically cost eight times more than healthy deliveries.

Also included in the bill is Gov. Mark Dayton’s executive order to establish a competitive price bidding program for Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare patients in the seven-county metropolitan area who are not elderly or disabled. The program would have to allow for at least two managed care plans, beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2014. Patient outcomes would be measured and considered when considering competitive bids from providers.

The committee laid the bill over for possible omnibus inclusion. There is no Senate companion.

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