March 2020, Volume XXXIII, No 12

interview

 

 

 

Advocating for patients and providers

Rahul Koranne, MD, MBA, FACP

Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA)

How will your perspective as a physician help inform your leadership of the MHA?

MHA’s new vision statement is that Minnesotans are healthy and have access to the right care at the right time in the right place. To achieve this bold vision, everyone in the delivery system—clinicians, other professionals, leaders, volunteers, and board members—must deeply collaborate. I have been privileged to serve as a physician and leader across almost all the parts of the care continuum, from Minnesota’s smallest hospital system to one of its largest integrated delivery networks. These experiences guide how I live MHA’s mission and values every day.

Prior authorization has generated proposed legislation at both the state and federal levels. What is MHA’s position?

Payers and providers must work together to serve patients. If a patient’s insurance plan includes a covered benefit, they expect to be able to use their insurance for that medical service. We are part of a coalition that includes the Minnesota Medical Association, the Minnesota Ambulatory Surgery Center Surgery Association, and other provider and specialty groups supporting legislation to improve the prior authorization process. Patients feel anxiety waiting for necessary procedures to be approved. Providers experience unnecessary delays, adding frustration and administrative costs to the health care system. The coalition does not seek to prohibit the use of prior authorization, but to have a smarter process that works for all stakeholders—providers, employers, payers, and, most importantly, patients.

Another policy issue is “surprise billing.” What can you tell us about this?

MHA supported passage of a Minnesota law protecting patients from surprise bills. The law, which took effect Jan. 1, 2018, limits patients’ financial responsibility to the amount they would have paid for in-network services, ensures patients have access to emergency care, and requires a health plan and nonparticipating provider to negotiate payment. We believe this has helped hold down surprise bills in Minnesota.

I am passionate about strengthening collaboration across the health care continuum.

What can you tell us about MHA’s work with other health care stakeholders and your initiatives to accelerate this collaboration?

Strong partnerships across all health care industry stakeholders are critical to MHA’s new mission: “Advance the health of individuals and communities through leadership, advocacy and collaboration on behalf of Minnesota hospitals and health systems.” I am passionate about strengthening collaboration across the health care continuum—insurers; federal, state and local government agencies; and community organizations in the health and social service sectors. One example is MHA’s active collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to disseminate timely resources related to COVID-19.

How do you see the role of employers and community service organizations in shaping the future of health care?

Just over 50% of Minnesotans receive health care coverage through their employers, so employers play a crucial role in ensuring that coverage options meet the needs of their workforce. Employers and community service organizations are critical partners in promoting population health. The growing trend of employers offering wellness programs helps enhance health and reduce overall costs. Community organizations enhance health in many ways, from stocking food shelves to offering community wellness programs to training neighbors on mental health first aid.

What role can patients themselves play in shaping the future of health care?

Patients are our most integral partners in shaping the future of health care. MHA’s new vision highlights patients’ position at the center of the health care experience and is focused on the health and well-being of individuals. Most health systems in Minnesota have active patient and family advisory councils that help patient and family voices influence care improvement. Minnesotans are engaging in the dialogue about how providers, payers, employers, suppliers, individuals, and government can improve the quality of care while reducing overall cost.

Please tell us about your work with the Department of Human Services (DHS) to improve the quality of care for mental and behavioral health patients.

Since 2015, MHA and our partners have helped secure additional state funding for the entire mental health continuum, from upstream services like school-based mental health to the state’s community behavioral health hospitals and Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center. State-operated services have increased capacity, helping patients access the right care at the right time in the right place. We also strongly supported the federal Excellence in Mental Health Act, which funded community-based mental health services that work with hospitals and health systems to ensure that mental health care is accessible in local communities.

You launched the Health Care and Law Enforcement Coalition to improve care for individuals involved with law enforcement. Please tell us about this work.

This coalition convened in August 2016 to build relationships between health care and law enforcement organizations. Together with the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association, hospital security, police departments, county sheriff offices, and hospital EMS, we created a roadmap (https://tinyurl.com/mha-roadmap) of best practices and resources that help leadership and direct care staff to improve collaboration between health care and law enforcement and help provide safety and security for patients, families, and providers while creating a compassionate and healing environment.

Minnesota has been recognized by CMS as a high-performing state for health care. How has your work tied into this recognition?

In 2019, MHA and partners from Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin formed a new quality improvement organization, Superior Health Quality Alliance, which aims to improve the quality of health and health care for patients, clinicians, health care organizations, and communities across our state and beyond. I am excited to share our work and learn from others so the health of individuals across this region can continue to improve.

Hospitals in Greater Minnesota face many unique challenges. What can you tell us about these issues?

I had the privilege of working in Minnesota’s smallest critical access hospital system for five years. I know personally that hospitals and health systems work hard to provide the right care at the right time in the right place while ensuring high quality and patient safety. Hospitals and health systems continuously adjust their service lines depending on the needs in their community, which services are better provided at a larger nearby hospital, and the skills and experience of their health care workforce. The roles of governmental and commercial payers, employers, individuals, and suppliers are just as critical in reducing overall costs and ensuring adequate access. It is difficult for not-for-profit health care providers to reduce overall costs without the support of these partners. When it comes to reducing overall health costs in Minnesota, we are all in it together.

There are sometimes conflicts in how physicians and hospitals approach shared problems in health care delivery. What are some examples and potential solutions?

Minnesota is consistently ranked as one of the best states for physicians to practice. MHA’s work on reducing health care burnout since 2016 shows high levels of engagement, satisfaction, and values alignment between physicians and health system leadership. Over the past 21 years, I have leveraged these shared values to continuously improve patient care and the health of Minnesotans. Good partners sometimes have healthy, respectful conflicts to make the overall system even better. I have found that when you consistently keep patients at the center of decision-making, finding effective, shared solutions becomes the most important goal.

Rahul Koranne, MD, MBA, FACP, is the new president and CEO of the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA). He guides the association’s work to advance the health of individuals and communities through leadership, advocacy, and collaboration on behalf of Minnesota hospitals and health systems. 

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interview

 

 

 

Advocating for patients and providers

Rahul Koranne, MD, MBA, FACP

Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA)

How will your perspective as a physician help inform your leadership of the MHA?

MHA’s new vision statement is that Minnesotans are healthy and have access to the right care at the right time in the right place. To achieve this bold vision, everyone in the delivery system—clinicians, other professionals, leaders, volunteers, and board members—must deeply collaborate. I have been privileged to serve as a physician and leader across almost all the parts of the care continuum, from Minnesota’s smallest hospital system to one of its largest integrated delivery networks. These experiences guide how I live MHA’s mission and values every day.

Prior authorization has generated proposed legislation at both the state and federal levels. What is MHA’s position?

Payers and providers must work together to serve patients. If a patient’s insurance plan includes a covered benefit, they expect to be able to use their insurance for that medical service. We are part of a coalition that includes the Minnesota Medical Association, the Minnesota Ambulatory Surgery Center Surgery Association, and other provider and specialty groups supporting legislation to improve the prior authorization process. Patients feel anxiety waiting for necessary procedures to be approved. Providers experience unnecessary delays, adding frustration and administrative costs to the health care system. The coalition does not seek to prohibit the use of prior authorization, but to have a smarter process that works for all stakeholders—providers, employers, payers, and, most importantly, patients.

Another policy issue is “surprise billing.” What can you tell us about this?

MHA supported passage of a Minnesota law protecting patients from surprise bills. The law, which took effect Jan. 1, 2018, limits patients’ financial responsibility to the amount they would have paid for in-network services, ensures patients have access to emergency care, and requires a health plan and nonparticipating provider to negotiate payment. We believe this has helped hold down surprise bills in Minnesota.

I am passionate about strengthening collaboration across the health care continuum.

What can you tell us about MHA’s work with other health care stakeholders and your initiatives to accelerate this collaboration?

Strong partnerships across all health care industry stakeholders are critical to MHA’s new mission: “Advance the health of individuals and communities through leadership, advocacy and collaboration on behalf of Minnesota hospitals and health systems.” I am passionate about strengthening collaboration across the health care continuum—insurers; federal, state and local government agencies; and community organizations in the health and social service sectors. One example is MHA’s active collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to disseminate timely resources related to COVID-19.

How do you see the role of employers and community service organizations in shaping the future of health care?

Just over 50% of Minnesotans receive health care coverage through their employers, so employers play a crucial role in ensuring that coverage options meet the needs of their workforce. Employers and community service organizations are critical partners in promoting population health. The growing trend of employers offering wellness programs helps enhance health and reduce overall costs. Community organizations enhance health in many ways, from stocking food shelves to offering community wellness programs to training neighbors on mental health first aid.

What role can patients themselves play in shaping the future of health care?

Patients are our most integral partners in shaping the future of health care. MHA’s new vision highlights patients’ position at the center of the health care experience and is focused on the health and well-being of individuals. Most health systems in Minnesota have active patient and family advisory councils that help patient and family voices influence care improvement. Minnesotans are engaging in the dialogue about how providers, payers, employers, suppliers, individuals, and government can improve the quality of care while reducing overall cost.

Please tell us about your work with the Department of Human Services (DHS) to improve the quality of care for mental and behavioral health patients.

Since 2015, MHA and our partners have helped secure additional state funding for the entire mental health continuum, from upstream services like school-based mental health to the state’s community behavioral health hospitals and Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center. State-operated services have increased capacity, helping patients access the right care at the right time in the right place. We also strongly supported the federal Excellence in Mental Health Act, which funded community-based mental health services that work with hospitals and health systems to ensure that mental health care is accessible in local communities.

You launched the Health Care and Law Enforcement Coalition to improve care for individuals involved with law enforcement. Please tell us about this work.

This coalition convened in August 2016 to build relationships between health care and law enforcement organizations. Together with the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association, hospital security, police departments, county sheriff offices, and hospital EMS, we created a roadmap (https://tinyurl.com/mha-roadmap) of best practices and resources that help leadership and direct care staff to improve collaboration between health care and law enforcement and help provide safety and security for patients, families, and providers while creating a compassionate and healing environment.

Minnesota has been recognized by CMS as a high-performing state for health care. How has your work tied into this recognition?

In 2019, MHA and partners from Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin formed a new quality improvement organization, Superior Health Quality Alliance, which aims to improve the quality of health and health care for patients, clinicians, health care organizations, and communities across our state and beyond. I am excited to share our work and learn from others so the health of individuals across this region can continue to improve.

Hospitals in Greater Minnesota face many unique challenges. What can you tell us about these issues?

I had the privilege of working in Minnesota’s smallest critical access hospital system for five years. I know personally that hospitals and health systems work hard to provide the right care at the right time in the right place while ensuring high quality and patient safety. Hospitals and health systems continuously adjust their service lines depending on the needs in their community, which services are better provided at a larger nearby hospital, and the skills and experience of their health care workforce. The roles of governmental and commercial payers, employers, individuals, and suppliers are just as critical in reducing overall costs and ensuring adequate access. It is difficult for not-for-profit health care providers to reduce overall costs without the support of these partners. When it comes to reducing overall health costs in Minnesota, we are all in it together.

There are sometimes conflicts in how physicians and hospitals approach shared problems in health care delivery. What are some examples and potential solutions?

Minnesota is consistently ranked as one of the best states for physicians to practice. MHA’s work on reducing health care burnout since 2016 shows high levels of engagement, satisfaction, and values alignment between physicians and health system leadership. Over the past 21 years, I have leveraged these shared values to continuously improve patient care and the health of Minnesotans. Good partners sometimes have healthy, respectful conflicts to make the overall system even better. I have found that when you consistently keep patients at the center of decision-making, finding effective, shared solutions becomes the most important goal.

Rahul Koranne, MD, MBA, FACP, is the new president and CEO of the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA). He guides the association’s work to advance the health of individuals and communities through leadership, advocacy, and collaboration on behalf of Minnesota hospitals and health systems. 

interview

Rahul Koranne, MD, MBA, FACP, is the new president and CEO of the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA). He guides the association’s work to advance the health of individuals and communities through leadership, advocacy, and collaboration on behalf of Minnesota hospitals and health systems.