October 27, 2009

Compare and Contrast

By Kelley Luckstein

Every month, doctors from the 14 clinics of HealthEast Care System around St. Paul get together to talk about their work. They focus on specific measures for each physician's patient group, such as blood-sugar and cholesterol numbers for people with diabetes. Then the doctors ask themselves how they—and their patients—can do better…


Doctors say MN Community Measurement forces health plans, medical groups and employers to focus on a common set of goals. The organization has done a "very good job of listening to physician concerns" about the quality measures, says Bruce McCarthy, chief medical officer of Allina Medical Clinic, a 700-doctor group that is part of the Minneapolis-based nonprofit Allina Hospitals & Clinics. For example, MN Community Measurement lets the medical groups vet their results before publishing. A few years ago, it agreed to suppress some chlamydia screening results after some groups pointed out that a billing quirk meant their tests often didn't show up in the count. Afterwards the groups changed their billing codes.


More recently, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., raised concerns that its results may be skewed downward because it gets many more complicated cases referred by other practices. Mark Nyman, an internal-medicine doctor at the Rochester clinic who is also on the MN Community Measurement board, says the two parties are working to resolve the issue.


Wall Street Journal  by Anna Wilde Mathews, 10/27/09

Tags: General Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN Community Measurement

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