News Press Release

MN Health Collaborative and ICSI Shares Results from Applying Community Standards for Acute and Post-Operative Opioid Prescribing

2.1 million fewer pills prescribed by physicians as a result of collaborative efforts across major Minnesota healthcare systems to create stronger, patient-centered prescription practices for opioids.

Bloomington, Minn. – January 14, 2020 – Representatives from the MN Health Collaborative and ICSI have released initial results from a nearly two-year effort to implement new acute-care and post-surgical prescription standards for opioids. Physicians and their teams are working together within the Collaborative to develop safer prescribing practices based on individual patient needs, and procedure-specific community standards for opioid use to provide guidance to all prescribers.

MN Health Collaborative includes 18 health care organizations, including 6 health plans and 12 health care delivery systems that represent nearly 80% of the Minnesota’s population as well as residents of a border areas within surrounding states.

The Collaborative’s charter included a specific goal to help reduce and eventually eliminate opioid overdose deaths, as well as provide better prevention and treatment practices for opioid addiction. These practices require a multi-pronged approach including stricter prescription guidelines, improved drug disposal, true care coordination, and stronger education and support for both patients and providers. The new approach to post-operative opioid prescription expands upon the State of Minnesota’s Department of Human Services (DHS) newly released guidelines.

The organizations have seen tremendous success in efforts to reduce opioids prescribing for acute non-surgical pain.  From October 2017 to October, 2019, there has been a marked decrease in both opioid prescribing rates and total opioid dosages resulting in approximately 2.1 million fewer pills being introduced into the community and 105,000 fewer patients placed at risk of opioid misuse.

For post-operative pain, the Collaborative has endorsed a patient-centered, procedure-specific approach to safely decreasing the amount of post-operative opioids and reducing the large variation in prescribing among surgeons.  From 2016 to 2018, community data shows considerable improvement, with the average post-operative prescription going from 205 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) to 150 (MME).  The Collaborative’s goal is to engage every surgeon statewide in this effort through specialty-focused cohorts working together to catalyze the work.

“We’ve built on the excellent foundation that DHS has laid within the Opioid Prescribing Improvement Program to provide a clearer determination of varying pain management needs based on each unique patient, and different surgical procedures,” said Claire Neely, M.D., President and CEO of ICSI. “Overall outcomes are now being seen as a result of the work of surgeons and other physicians trying diligently to address the opioid crisis without sacrificing the needs of individual patients.” Dr. Neely added the goal of the group is to maintain the highest possible standard of care while ensuring patients were prescribed opioids that were appropriate based on their current pain management needs, personal history, and suggested community standards based on individual surgical procedures.


About the MN Health Collaborative: The MN Health Collaborative is an initiative driven by ICSI that brings healthcare organizations together to address major health topics affecting Minnesota communities today including opioid misuse and addiction, and system improvements for broader mental health care needs. The MN Health Collaborative consists of physicians and representatives from leading health systems including: Allina Health, CentraCare Health, Children’s Minnesota, Essentia Health, Fairview Health Services, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, HealthPartners, Hennepin Healthcare, Hutchinson Health, Medica, North Memorial Health, Ridgeview Medical Center, Sanford Health, UCare, UnitedHealthcare of MN, ND and SD and University of Minnesota Health/University of Minnesota Physicians.


About ICSI: A trusted influencer in healthcare for over 25 years, ICSI convenes organizations to find solutions to healthcare’s toughest challenges. As ICSI, healthcare leaders work together to find ways to initiate positive change and improve health outcomes. ICSI is activated by an independent, objective non-profit organization with one clear goal – improving health together.  For more information visit