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MN Health Collaborative

The MN Health Collaborative is a powerful example of Minnesota’s healthcare community’s commitment and ability to collaborate - even while being competitors - to better serve our patients, families, and communities. 

With ICSI serving as its backbone organization, the MN Health Collaborative includes physicians and other representatives from major healthcare organizations working together to address major health topics affecting Minnesota communities today including opioid misuse and addiction as well as system improvements to address broader mental health care needs.

Reducing Opioid Use and Improving Pain Management

MN Health Collaborative partners are committed to reducing opioid prescribing and overdose deaths, and improving care for people experiencing pain and addiction. Initial efforts focus on nonsurgical and surgical prescribing practices.

Surgeons within the MN Health Collaborative have begun a collaborative effort that uses a specific, nuanced approach to post-surgical opioid prescription. Developed in part as an answer to the lack of evidence-based guidelines for post-operative opioid use, the approach is based on available literature, expert consensus and community data relevant to the effort. These best practices and learnings will also be distributed to the healthcare community at large as our efforts progress.

The MN Health Collaborative’s charter includes 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.

“We applaud DHS on its new guidelines, and want to build on that foundation by testing the approach recommended by surgeons within the MN Health Collaborative,” said Claire Neely, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for ICSI. “We believe this work will provide a clearer determination of the varying pain management needs required by different surgical procedures. This effort will help support a significant need to develop more patient-centered prescription practices where opioids are concerned.”

Also in development are system improvements for chronic pain management, identification and treatment of addiction, and tapering patients off or to lower doses of opioids.  Finally, the Collaborative organizations are creating increased awareness and options for disposal of controlled substances.

Improving Mental Health Care in Emergency Departments and Primary Care

Another aim of the MN Health Collaborative is to decrease the burden experienced by patients with mental health needs and the people who serve them in Emergency Departments (EDs). This working group is developing, testing, and implementing shared standards for patients with mental health needs in the ED through the full experience of care, including assessment, treatment, and referral/transition to subsequent care. Broader dissemination of this work will begin in fall 2018.

Additionally, work is being done to identify appropriate support for primary care to meet people’s behavioral health needs.

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 Minnesota, Essentia Health, Fairview Health Services, HealthPartners, Hennepin Healthcare, 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 10/18/18