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MN Health Collaborative

The Minnesota Health Collaborative began in January 2017, when thirteen CEOs of the largest health systems in Minnesota pledged to work together to tackle major health topics that affect all communities.

Currently focused on opioids and mental health, experts from multiple disciplines within each organization are convened to identify needs and solutions. A robust collaborative approach creates the opportunity to rapidly test best practices and develop new approaches to implement shared standards for care.

Call to Action

Minnesota Health Collaborative’s first Call to Action is for these systems to implement shared community standards for opioid prescriptions for acute and postoperative pain. The objective is to decrease the population at risk for developing substance use disorder by assuring the smallest needed quantity of opioid medication is prescribed to manage pain. Additionally, recommendations were made to make it easier for patients to dispose of leftover opioid medication. The collaborative is also focusing on identifying and improving access to essential services to improve treatment for patients with chronic pain and those at high risk of overdose.

“Our belief as a group is that we should implement a shared community standard for those first opioid prescriptions,” Walsh said, quoted in Minnpost. “Our objective in to reduce the number of patients at risk for developing substance use disorder statewide by prescribing the smallest amount of opioid-based pain medication possible.”

Minnesota Health Collaborative opioid prescribing standards are:

  • For acute prescribing, the standard will be: Starting with non-opioid therapies (e.g. NSAIDs, acetaminophen) whenever possible. The first opioid prescription for acute pain should be the lowest possible effective strength of a short-acting opioid, not to exceed 100 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) for the total prescription. Three days will often be sufficient.
  • For post-operative prescribing, collaborative members are testing a nuanced approach to post-operative opioid prescriptions, which divides procedures into five levels and assigns an appropriate level of MMEs for each level. 

Members of these systems have all pledged to abide by these standards. Some larger organizations like HealthPartners have already put them into effect; others are in the process of shifting processes to fully comply.

The Minnesota Health Collaborative is also working to improve care for patients with mental health needs in emergency departments (EDs) and in primary care, rolling out Calls to Action in 2018.

The Pledge

“We, the undersigned Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of health care organizations in the Upper Midwest, recognize our role and responsibility to improve the health of our communities, and pledge to collaborate on specific and persistent problems that cannot be solved by any individual entity or solely through competition. These systemic issues cause significant hardships to the populations we serve, and require cross cutting collaboration in order to achieve desired change.

A single approach may not work everywhere, and this effort will require diverse perspectives and may include partnerships with other organizations as needed. We agree that we will jointly select specific pressing problems to address together, commit our collective expertise to designing innovative solutions, and collaboratively implement new approaches to care that lower cost and improve health for all of our patients.

We understand that the success of this work requires our personal leadership and focused influence, as well as the commitment and resources of our respective organizations. We further commit to a constancy of purpose, to ensure that we achieve the aims we set out to accomplish together.”

Participating Organizations

Health systems in the Minnesota Health Collaborative currently include Allina Health, CentraCare Health, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, Essentia Health, Fairview Health Services, HealthPartners, Hennepin County Medical Center, Hutchinson Health, Mayo Clinic, Medica, North Memorial Health, Ridgeview Medical Center, Sanford Health, UCare, and University of Minnesota Health/University of Minnesota Physicians.

For further information related to our mental health collaboration, contact Tani Hemmila. For opioid collaboration, contact Jodie Dvorkin.


Updated 03/28/18