Despite some improvements, report shows most Minnesota health care quality measures still below pre-pandemic levels

A newly released report on the state of Minnesota’s health care quality shows a bit of a mixed performance last year but with one large takeaway: most quality measures are still below pre-pandemic levels.

Minnesota Community Measurement (MNCM), a nonprofit comprised of leaders from several health care companies, released the first of its three-part report on the state of Minnesota’s health care quality on Thursday.

The report, which looks at 20 clinical quality measures as reported by 117 medical groups that operate more than 750 clinics across the state and bordering communities, found statewide rates for six measures improved in 2022 while 12 declined.

“This report is a call to action that we need to pay sustained attention to improving health care quality in Minnesota,” MNCM President and CEO Julie Sonier said. “We know the health care system is still recovering from the financial and staffing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that certainly doesn’t make it easy. But even just getting back to where we were before the pandemic — which itself had a lot of room for improvement — would improve care and outcomes for tens of thousands of Minnesotans.”

Among the measures that improved were mental health screening for adolescents, diabetes care, assessing symptoms for depression and follow-up for depression care. Those that worsened included adult depression remission, colorectal cancer screening, asthma control for kids and optimal vascular care.

What’s worse, however, is that many measures remain below pre-pandemic levels, including the rate of optimal vascular care for adults (55.3% in 2022 vs. 60.3% in 2019) and the rate of optimal asthma care for children (53.5% in 2022 vs. 58.3% in 2019).

The report also includes breakdowns in care quality based on three-digit zip codes as well as a look at hundreds of clinics across the state.

The organization says the report aims to help Minnesotans understand how care varies by provider while allowing providers a chance to see areas they can improve and how others compare to them.

“Minnesota is unique in the capabilities that we’ve built to measure and report on health care outcomes,” Sonier said. “Having a common set of priorities and a common trusted source of data have been huge assets to Minnesota in focusing efforts to drive improvement.”

To see the full report, click here.

The nonprofit’s second health care quality report, which will focus on clinical quality measures as reported by health plans, is set to be released later this year. The final part is scheduled to be published early next year and focus on the top-performing medical groups.