When Hospitals Collaborate, People Win.

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ABGD has been instrumental in the promotion and branding of Hennepin Health. The nation-leading effort, launched a year ago with federal approval in conjunction with the state Department of Human Services, gave Hennepin Health control of Medicaid dollars, allowing it to integrate medical and behavioral health care with social services. The state often will contract with a managed-care company to run Medicaid for a county, but Hennepin County already had an HMO infrastructure to try innovating on its own. Since last year, five major hospitals in the area have signed on to the program including all Hennepin County Medical Centers and the North Memorial Hospital Network. The success of the program has been covered extensively by the StarTribune (reproduced below) and national health care media.

“Hennepin Health patients come with a cluster of needs and minimal medical literacy and little to no preventive care, she said. For example, almost half are chemically dependent. A third have chronic pain-management problems, more than one chronic disease and unstable housing. The target group is adults ages 21 to 64 with no dependent children at home and income at or below 75 percent of the federal poverty guideline ($8,124 a year for one person) who qualify for Medical Assistance.

In its first year, Hennepin Health reduced hospital admissions for that group by more than 20 percent and cut emergency room use by a similar percentage. DeCubellis said patients have been redirected to an expanded urgent care center where they also are strongly encouraged to link up with primary care providers.

Sometimes a simple fix is all that’s needed. For example, De­Cubellis said, delivering medications to the homeless shelter has cut down on the number of indigent patients showing up in the emergency room for prescription refills. As a result, the county has been able to reinvest more than $1 million in savings toward filling service gaps.”