Ten Federally Qualified Health Centers Collaborate with State to Improve Health Outcomes, Reduce Costs in Minnesota Medicaid Program

Mon Apr 8, 2013 10:15am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.


* As part of the state`s innovative payment reform effort, FUHN will be
responsible for meeting quality and cost benchmarks for about 22,000 Medicaid
* Optum to provide analytical and predictive modeling capabilities, consulting
expertise, and population health management specialists

ST. PAUL, Minn.--(Business Wire)--
Ten federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in the Twin Cities area have
formed a coalition to collaborate with the state to improve care and reduce
costs for nearly 22,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in Minnesota. 

Under terms of the contract with the Minnesota Department of Human Services
(DHS), the Federally Qualified Health Center Urban Health Network (FUHN) will be
responsible for meeting DHS-established quality and cost benchmarks for Medicaid
patients, and will be eligible to share in cost-savings it achieves during a
three-year contract period. 

Known as an accountable care organization (ACO), the FUHN model - one of the
nation`s first "safety net" ACOs - is one component in Minnesota`s Medicaid
Health Care Delivery System (HCDS) demonstration project, a payment reform
effort aimed at improving Medicaid outcomes and reducing costs by focusing on
integrated and coordinated patient care. 

To help achieve its goals, FUHN has partnered with Optum, an Eden Prairie-based
health care services and technology company. FUHN and Optum have invested time
and resources to develop a care coordination model that emphasizes population
health management and increased patient engagement. The model relies on data
analytics and the deployment of predictive modeling software, which Optum is
providing to FUHN as a component of the collaboration. 

"This contract represents a fundamental shift in our relationship with the
state, and in our relationship with each other, to better serve Medicaid
beneficiaries," said Dr. Jaeson Fournier, chief executive officer of West Side
Community Health Services in St. Paul and chairperson of FUHN. "These 10 FQHCs
have come together as FUHN to deliver better, more integrated care to those we
serve. Optum`s financial commitment to our project, its health care and Medicaid
knowledge, and its technical expertise will support FUHN in achieving its goals
of increasing patient satisfaction, improving patient health care outcomes, and
reducing the total cost of care for patients served under our HCDS agreement
with DHS." 

FUHN acknowledged that the in-kind support provided by Optum during the planning
and model development phases has been invaluable in moving the project forward,
as were several grant awards provided by The Greater Twin Cities United Way,
which supported the coalition`s start-up legal and administrative costs. 

FUHN`s delivery system consists of nearly 40 service sites across seven counties
in the Twin Cities. The population served by the 10 FQHCs is culturally diverse
and economically disadvantaged; 94 percent have incomes below 200 percent of the
federal poverty line. Patients seeking care from these safety net providers
often experience higher rates of multiple chronic conditions, including asthma,
diabetes, hypertension, and depression or other serious mental illnesses. Many
have low levels of health literacy or face medical complications due to poverty,
homelessness, or cultural and language barriers. 

FUHN leaders have identified three components of their care delivery model that
they expect will enable them to develop an integrated network able to manage
total patient care, which, in turn, will help them achieve their goals of
improving quality and reducing costs:

* Data Analytics and Technology: FUHN will use Optum technology and health
analytics tools to provide reports on claims data that will assist in monitoring
cost, utilization and quality trends for individual patients, as well as for
care providers and clinics. These reports will help drive improvement activities
across clinics and measure the impact of resulting process changes. 
* Performance Improvement Specialists: At each of the 10 FQHCs, performance
improvement specialists will work with medical directors and clinic staffs to
analyze site performance, identify improvement strategies and monitor the
implementation of new techniques. These clinical specialists will support the
FQHCs in designing follow-up care processes that will reduce emergency
department and inpatient utilization by targeting care coordination efforts on
high-risk populations. 
* Patient-Centered Medical Home Certification: As part of the project, FUHN
plans to strengthen primary care for Medicaid beneficiaries through each
clinic`s attainment of Health Care Home certification, Minnesota`s version of
the patient-centered medical homes. This is a rigorous process that requires
effective team care delivery, participant registries that identify gaps in care,
pre-visit planning, care plans to track a patient`s progress over time, patient
experience surveys, and ongoing partnerships with community resources. Four of
the 10 participating FQHCs have already obtained MN Health Care Home

The 10 FUHN member organizations are: Axis Medical Center, Community-University
Health Care Center, Indian Health Board of Minneapolis, Native American
Community Clinic, Neighborhood HealthSource, Open Cities Health Center, People`s
Center Health Services, Southside Community Health Services, United Family
Medicine, and West Side Community Health Services. 

"Minnesota has long been a leader in population health and health care issues,
and the state`s contract with FUHN to improve outcomes and reduce costs in its
Medicaid program is another example of this approach," said Steve Larsen,
executive vice president of Optum Government Solutions. "We are grateful for the
opportunity to work with the state and FUHN to provide more cost-effective,
high-quality health services to the community." 

Note to Editors: Journalists wishing to obtain information from Optum should
contact Steve Puleo at 781-419-8553 or steve.puleo@optum.com

About Optum

Optum (www.optum.com) is a leading information and technology-enabled health
services business dedicated to helping make the health system work better for
everyone. Optum comprises three companies - OptumHealth, OptumInsight and
OptumRx - representing more than 35,000 employees worldwide who collaborate to
deliver integrated, intelligent solutions that work to modernize the health
system and improve overall population health. 

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Federally Qualified Health Center Urban Health Network (FUHN)
Jaeson Fournier, 651-602-7536
Chairperson, Board of Directors
Steve Puleo, 781-419-8553

Copyright Business Wire 2013