Results from the second year of a unique collaboration between Allina Health and HealthPartners continue to show positive results in improving health outcomes, patient experience, and helping keep costs under control. The Northwest Metro Alliance began in 2010 to serve 27,000 people who live in Anoka County and southern Sherburne County. These individuals are covered by HealthPartners insurance and receive care at four Allina Medical Clinic locations, four HealthPartners Medical Group clinics and/or Mercy Hospital, part of Allina Health.
In its second year, the Northwest Metro Alliance demonstrated continued progress by focusing on coordinating care across the two medical groups, applying evidence-based best practice guidelines consistently, creating personalized care plans for patients, and by empowering patients to improve health:
- Prevent unnecessary hospital visits through better support in primary care. The Northwest Metro Alliance provided additional care and support services for patients who have multiple chronic diseases. This helps prevent medical emergencies that could require emergency room care or hospital admissions.
- Support patients who have multiple prescriptions. More than 400 patients benefitted from medication therapy management in the first six months of 2011. Clinic-based pharmacists counseled patients with complex conditions to ensure they get the exact combination of medication customized to their needs. The program identified an average of three medications per patient that needed to be adjusted.
- Provide support for frequent users of the emergency department. Every month, 70 to 100 patients who visit Mercy Hospital’s emergency department five times per month receive assistance to get the long-term support they need to manage their conditions. This includes access to primary care providers and access to additional community resources, thereby preventing unnecessary and costly emergency department visits.
- Improve appropriate use of screenings. The number of patients over age 50 who received a test for colon cancer increased by 1,400. The number of unnecessary high technology diagnostic screening tests decreased by 1,500. This helped avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation from tests that would not provide better information for doctors to use.
Since the Northwest Metro Alliance model was implemented, medical costs are nearly $8 million lower than what they would have been with projected trends. Medical cost increases fell from 8 percent in 2009, to 3 percent increase in 2010, to less than 1 percent last year.
The Northwest Metro Alliance is an accountable care organization and is designed to simultaneously improve the health of the population, deliver excellent patient experience and lower the cost of care.