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Community-University Health Care Center joins state in efforts to improve care, limit health care costs

Last week, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton announced a new health reform initiative that, if successful, could provide better health care for 100,000 Minnesotans while lowering costs for taxpayers.

According to the state, the new system will “test a new payment model that prioritizes quality, preventive care and rewards providers for achieving mutually-agreed upon health goals,” and could save the state’s Medicaid program nearly $90 million over the next three years.

One of the six major health care providers to contract with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) under the new payment model is the Federally Qualified Health Center Urban Health Network (FUHN) which includes the University of Minnesota’s Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC).

According to Executive Director Deanna Mills, CUHCC has planned for this new system for more than a year in efforts to make the new pilot program successful.  “We are shifting our care delivery model by building our capacity to provide care coordination that not only increases quality of care but also enhances patients’ satisfaction with our care,” said Mills.

As an example, Mills cited a condition like pre-diabetes.  Better pre- and post-visit planning for pre-diabetics, as well as better overall care coordination, might help patients avoid emergency room visits or an evolution of their condition into actual diabetes, limiting costs associated with their condition.

Mills said that CUHCC and the other nine clinics within the FUHN network are focusing on developing an innovative primary care delivery system which has a high likelihood of achieving the goals of health care reform and Medicaid.  FUHN is partnering with Optum Government Solutions, benefiting from their expertise in robust data analytics and deployment of innovative models of care.

“Primary care combined with social services is the key driver in securing better health outcomes for our patients,” said Mills, whose clinic has focused on preventative care efforts for years.  “In addition to improving the patient experience, changing our model of care, and decreasing costs through care coordination, all of the clinics within FUHN have a fourth goal: we want to increase the quality and quantity of primary care, which can really be a driver of the move to better overall health care for those who have significant health challenges.”

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