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IHN CEO Reports on "Challenges and Opportunities in Healthcare"

on Wednesday, 06 July 2016.

An area of medicine where the provider is still most often an independent physician is eye care. So when 450 ophthalmologists and optometrists gathered at this year's Minnesota Eye Foundation conference, they asked Integrity Health Network (IHN) CEO/President, Jeffrey Tucker, to report on "Challenges and Opportunities in Healthcare". 

Based in Duluth, IHN is one of the largest networks of independent primary care and specialty care physicians in the Midwest.

"I was asked to present because of the various initiatives we have underway that are gaining statewide attention," says Tucker. "These include our Accountable Care Organization, Accountable Community for Health initiative, and our primary care/specialty care partnership that developed new care guidelines all of which resulted from IHN meeting and surpassing new mandates in healthcare.

Tucker also pointed attendees to other organizations that offer services for independents that help them meet the new quality and reporting standards.  

"All of these partnerships have been vital to our ability to not only move forward, but grow as a network," says Tucker. "The opportunities are there for independent providers in medicine, if they learn how to work together, in order to compete against system-supported practices."  

This was Tucker's first time addressing the Minnesota Eye Foundation, and says, "It was truly an honor to speak at this conference."

Integrity Health Network Recent Awards and Recognitions

on Wednesday, 09 April 2014. Posted in Clinic Awards

2013 was another great year for IHN as it received multiple awards and recognitions in Minnesota. Thanks to all of the fine clinics, physicians and support-staff that contributed to our success!

MN Bridges to Excellence for Outstanding Performance

  • 2013 BTE: 6 IHN clinics recognized for 7 awards in diabetes and vascular disease care.

HealthPartners Silver Award for Generic Utilization Rates

  • 2012-2013

HealthPartners Gold Award for Attributed Total Cost of Care

  • 2012-2103

10 Years of E-Health Initiatives in MN: the Good, the Not-So Good

on Friday, 11 July 2014.

Director at Integrity Health Network Explains Why Mandates Need to be Revisited

(Duluth, MN) This year marks the 10th anniversary of the E-Health Initiative in Minnesota, which resulted in the implementation of Electronic Health Records and other health IT innovations, long before they were mandated by the Federal Affordable Care Act.   

Joining other health care leaders from across the nation, Bruce Penner, Director of Quality at Integrity Health Network, spoke at the Minnesota E-Health Conference, held June 11-12 in St. Louis Park and attended by clinic staff from across the state:

“E-health initiatives have consistently improved care and that needs to continue,” says Penner. “But with the overwhelming amount of data potentially available to us, we need to learn what is the most important and focus on that first,” says Penner.

“We are required to collect and report large amounts of non-clinical data under the guise of quality improvement.  Is this necessary and sustainable? Data collection and analysis is a costly effort and there needs to be some controls placed on the mandates coming down to providers.  We do not need total population reporting to improve quality.  ‘Tasting the soup’ or sampling smaller data sets also results in positive improvement.”

Penner explains that we are at a critical point -- potentially a breaking point -- in regards to the demands being placed on health care providers for reporting. 

“We need to talk seriously and often to policy makers about the true cost of health care delivery as these unfunded mandates continue to be implemented.  We need to shift the dialogue from the cost of receiving healthcare to the cost of delivering healthcare.”

For more insight into e-health initiatives, how clinics are adapting to the mandates, and how the patient experience is changing, contact: 

Bruce Penner, Director of Quality, Integrity Health Network, LLC,  (218) 722-8802, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., www.IHNhealth.com.

Integrity Health Network receives award

on Friday, 05 December 2014. Posted in Clinic Awards

Integrity Health Network has received an award from the HealthPartners' “Partners in Excellence” Program for achieving lower costs for services versus the state average, while maintaining quality benchmarks.

Integrity scored below what is known as the average Total Cost Index for Minnesota. It is calculated by measuring the network’s use of resources and the total cost of providing care across the network.

The quality ratings are based on HealthPartners data collection and data reported by Minnesota Community Measurement, a nonprofit that creates measures for, and reports on, improvement initiatives in the state’s health care industry.

“This marks the second year running that Integrity Health Network has been awarded for cost-containment efforts,” said Bruce Penner, IHN’s director of quality. “Clinics across the network contributed to the final results, proving once again reducing patient costs is a constant, network-wide commitment.”

IHN Promotes Three

on Sunday, 08 November 2015.

(Duluth, MN) Integrity Health Network (IHN) has promoted three members of its staff to new executive positions.

Bruce Penner is IHN's new Vice President of Population Health. For many years, Penner has lead IHN's Quality Improvement (QI) and Total Cost of Care (TCOC) initiatives, guiding the creation of key systems that help members attain their QI goals and improve cost efficiency across the network. Under Penner's tenure, IHN has earned several QI and TCOC awards. 

Melissa Larson is Vice President of Operations for IHN, responsible for integrating all of IHN's strategic goals with its administrative operations and helping to develop and implement all of the organization's contracting strategies. She represents IHN in several local and regional alliances to further the network's mission of championing the independent healthcare community. 

Patty Johnson has been promoted to the position of Operations and Network Manager. Previously IHN's Network Services Coordinator, Johnson now oversees the business side of operations, as well as clinic support functions. Johnson has guided the network's recent upgrade to a web-based claims processing system.   

"Our network is dedicated to bringing out the best in our clinics and this wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and excellence Patty, Melissa and Bruce exhibit on a daily basis," says Jeffrey Tucker, IHN President and CEO.  "Our board understands the sacrifices they have made to accomplish our mission and unanimously approved their promotions in recognition of their hard work." 

More Clinics Joining IHN's Integrated Health Partnership

on Wednesday, 06 July 2016.

 Integrity Health Network (IHN) announces the St. Cloud Medical Group, the practice of Christopher J. Wenner, MD, in Cold Spring, and Sartell Pediatrics of Sartell, MN, have joined IHN's Integrated Health Partnership (IHP).  

Integrity Health Network is one of the first provider groups to join the State of Minnesota's  groundbreaking approach to delivering quality health care more efficiently to low-income people, who participate in the state's Medicaid program

"This program has already saved taxpayers an estimated $75 million in its first two years," says IHN Vice President of Operations Melissa Larson. "These results align perfectly with Integrity Health Network's long-time mission to provide quality care while reducing patient costs by focusing on preventative care, reducing redundancies in care, and improving communication between providers." 

The Integrated Health Partnerships initiative rewards providers in Minnesota who carry that mission to the state's Medicaid and Medicare population by sharing cost savings with them. In contrast, the traditional payment system pays providers for the volume of care they deliver, rather than the quality of care they provide. 

This initiative is a key component of a $45 million federal State Innovation Model (SIM) grant, which is helping to drive health care reform in Minnesota. 

Other IHN clinics participating in the IHP are: 

Gateway Family Health Clinic, Moose Lake, Sandstone, Hinkley, MN

Cromwell Medical Clinic, Cromwell, MN

Raiter Clinic, Cloquet, MN 

Iron Range Clinic, Eveleth, MN

 

About Integrity Health Network  
IHN is headquartered in Duluth, MN, and is the largest, most comprehensive network of independent care providers in the region. Independent clinics are not owned by corporate systems but by the physicians who live and work in their communities. www.ihnhealth.com.  

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Integrity Health Network Hires New Referral Coordinator

on Monday, 03 November 2014. Posted in New Staff, Clinics and Physicians

(Duluth) Recent UMD graduate, Samantha Solmonson, is the new Administrative Assistant and Referral Coordinator for Integrity Health Network (IHN). She is responsible for processing all referrals from IHN’s primary care providers to their specialty clinics and for providing administrative support for network staff.

Solmonson also assists with analyzing IHN’s Total Cost of Care and Accountable Care Organization data, helping to improve the organization’s Quality Improvement initiatives.

Prior to acquiring this position Solmonson interned at IHN, working on several quality improvement projects. She graduated from the Labovitz School of Business & Economics at UMD in the spring of 2014 with a major in Healthcare Management.

Originally from Springfield, Minnesota, Solmonson is a 2010 graduate of Springfield High School and enjoys volunteering with the Boys & Girls Club of the Northland.

Integrity Health Network contributes more than $150 million in aggregate payroll to the local communities it serves and employs more than 2000 people.

Penner Awarded for Transparency Leadership

on Sunday, 08 November 2015.

Integrity Health Network's Bruce Penner has earned the Minnesota Health Care Transparency Award. This award is given to an individual who demonstrated extraordinary efforts to promote and shape transparency in the state's healthcare industry during the past decade. 

“For more than 10 years, Bruce’s commitment to the quality of Minnesota’s healthcare system has been reflected through his leadership with Minnesota Community Measurement," says Jim Chase, President, MN Community Measurement (MNCM). "Bruce has lent his expertise and practical experience to help identify and publicly report variations in healthcare quality across our state, and, from there, to improve it.”

Since Penner began working with MNCM in 2004, he has been instrumental in developing standards for Total Cost of Care programs -- Minnesota's precursor to the Affordable Healthcare Act. He also serves on several MNCM committees and boards, helping to steer a new course in Minnesota regarding measuring and reporting healthcare data. 

"Improvement in the cost and quality of health care is more than a mandate, it is an obligation we have to those we serve," says Penner, VP of Population Health for IHN"Any successful improvement process is based on two things: knowing where you want to go and understanding where you are right now.  That takes honesty and transparency.  You have to measure the distance between today’s reality and tomorrow’s objective and then work to close that distance."

About MNCM

MN Community Measurement's mission is to accelerate the improvement of health by publicly reporting healthcare information. It is the result of a pioneering project to collect comparable data across health systems and report it publicly.  Local medical groups participate by submitting their data through the organization's secure, direct-data submission portal.

About Integrity Health Network 
IHN is the largest, most comprehensive network of independent care providers in the region. Independent clinics are not owned by corporate systems but by the physicians who live and work in their communities. www.ihnhealth.com.   

 
 

IHN Leads New HIE Model

on Sunday, 08 November 2015.

A state grant is giving the green light to further development of a health information exchange (HIE) in Carlton County. This effort is spearheaded by a new collaborative of area agencies lead by Integrity Health Network (IHN).  The Minnesota Accountable Health Model project has awarded $222,748 to IHNto continue developing an HIE in Carlton County. 

The goal of an HIE is to improve the overall health of a local population by enabling providers across different health care settings – from primary care to social services to other agencies -- to have access to the information they need to coordinate patient care and keep people healthy and out of the hospital.

Many healthcare providers are now using Electronic Health Record and other technology to improve care coordination. Now, by connecting the entire spectrum of agencies that touch a patient’s life, they will receive a deeper, more comprehensive level of care.  

 "The underlying theme of this initiative is the importance of collaboration to effectively manage the patient population," says Melissa Larson, IHN COO. "Working together on the implementation of an HIE fosters both new and longstanding community relationships in an innovative way."  

The Carlton County collaborative, known as Carlton County Connects, will also connect with one of Minnesota’s State-Certified HIE Service Providers to improve information sharing between local and state agencies. The following are other organizations participating in the Carlton County collaborative:

 

Arrowhead Health Alliance

Augustana Mercy (Moose Lake)

Carlton County Public Health and Human Services

Community Memorial Hospital of Cloquet & Sunnyside Nursing Home

Cromwell Medical Clinic (Cromwell)
Integrity Health Innovations - ACO

Gateway Family Health Clinic (Moose Lake)

Human Development Center (Cloquet)

Mercy Hospital (Moose Lake)

Min-No-Aya-Win Medical Clinic (Cloquet)

Raiter Clinic (Cloquet)

Villa Court (Cromwell)

 

Integrity Health selected as ACO for Medicare recipients.

on Tuesday, 07 January 2014.

Integrity Health Network (IHN) has been selected as one of 123 new Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) for Medicare recipients. It joins Esssentia as the second such organization in the region.

The designation signifies that a healthcare organization provides coordinated care to patients while helping to slow healthcare cost growth. Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, more than 360 (ACOs) have been established nationally, serving 5.3 million Medicare recipients.

Unlike many ACOs, IHN is a group of independent healthcare organizations rather than a single entity. The Duluth-based group represents 35 members having 46 sites, said Jeffrey Tucker, president and CEO.

Receiving the ACO designation “required more buy-in and participation by multiple units,” he said. “A lot of coordination was needed. This definitely was more complicated than applying as a single unit.”

On a nationwide basis, Medicare spending has grown for decades, prompting the federal government to launch the ACO program in an attempt to contain costs.

Even before the ACO designation was sought, IHN had a quality improvement structure in place. The challenge was to expand upon it within an organization where members remain autonomous.

“What we’re doing is unique because we represent multiple entities,” including independent clinics and specialty clinics plus partnerships with community hospitals, Tucker said. “There wasn’t a model we could duplicate.”

To gain ACO status, organizations need at lease 5,000 or more Medicare members, which is difficult for many single, independent healthcare providers. Tucker said IHN was able to meet that requirement by pooling its numbers from the multiple areas in which it operates.

IHN’s board will be examining whether the group will need to expand its staff to meet current and future requirements of ACO.

Those providers that obtain ACO status share with Medicare any savings generated by reducing the growth in healthcare costs.

Integrity Welcomes Dr. Jennifer Arnhold

on Monday, 12 May 2014. Posted in New Staff, Clinics and Physicians

Integrity Health Network is excited to announce Dr. Jennifer J. Arnhold, in Brainerd, MN as its most recent member.

Dr. Arnhold specializes in Gynecology (non-obstetrical), providing exams and treatment for women of all ages with the focus on comprehensive care and minimally invasive procedures.  She is excited to be a part of the Cascade Team, where the focus is on attentive, state-of-the-art care in a warm, relaxing environment.  Dr. Arnhold completed medical school in 2000 and her residency in OB/GYN in 2004 at the Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska.  She then practiced in the Twin Cities for 5 years before taking the opportunity to move to the Brainerd Lakes area.  A native of Grand Rapids, MN, Dr. Arnhold is married to Dr. Michael Brickner and together they spoil their son, Ty and poodle Andy.  Her hobbies include cooking, yoga and reading.

Intergrity Health Network Scores Another Win...

on Friday, 05 December 2014. Posted in Clinic Awards

Intergrity Health Network scores another win for reducing patient costs.

Integrity Health Network has received another award from the HealthPartners “Partners in Excellence” Program for achieving lower costs for services versus the state average, while maintaining quality benchmarks.

To be eligible for this award, IHN scored below what is known as the average Total Cost Index for Minnesota. This index is calculated by measuring the network’s use of resources and the total cost of providing care across the network.

The quality ratings are based on HealthPartners data collection and data reported by Minnesota Community Measurement, a nonprofit that creates measures for, and reports on, improvement initiatives in the state’s health care industry.

“This marks the second year running that Integrity Health Network has been awarded for cost-containment efforts,” said Bruce Penner, IHN’s Director of Quality. “Clinics across the network contributed to the final results, proving once again reducing patient costs is a constant, network-wide commitment.”

Integrity Health Network is the largest, most comprehensive network of independent care providers in the region. Independent clinics are not owned by a corporate system, but by the physicians who live and work in their communities.

HealthPartners is the largest consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization in the nation providing care, coverage, research and education to improve the health of members, patients and the community. It’s headquartered in Bloomington, Minn.

Integrity Health Network Earns Several Performance Awards

on Saturday, 20 February 2016.

 

(Duluth, MN)  HealthPartners "Partners in Excellence" program has awarded Integrity Health Network (IHN)'s primary care providers for achievements regarding cost control and optimum patient care.   

IHN was honored with a Gold award for "Pediatric Immunization" by having all patients two-years old and under receive the recommended vaccinations. A Silver award for "Pediatric Preventative Services" recognizes IHN's efforts to have all patients 18 and under receive all recommended preventative services.

IHN also received a Silver award in the "Attributed Total Cost of Care" category. This category recognizes organizations achieving superior efficiency and value compared to other similar primary care providers. Another Silver was earned for "Optimal Vascular Care," which recognizes clinics who meet health goals for the adult population, including optimal blood pressure and diabetes control. 

 

HealthPartners "Partners in Excellence Program" forms the basis for HealthPartners' financial and public recognition for medical, specialty or pharmacy groups achieving high levels of performance in the industry's "Triple Aim" of performance goals: Clinical Quality, Patient Experience, and Affordability

 

Integrity Health Network is the largest, most comprehensive network of independent care providers in the region. Independent clinics are not owned by corporate systems but by the physicians who live and work in their communities. www.ihnhealth.com.   

 

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Award Given to IHN Foundation

on Sunday, 08 November 2015.

Northstar Physicians Network and Northland Medical Associates announced this week they have ceased operations respectively, as their merger forming Integrity Health Network (IHN) is now complete

As part of their dissolution, Northland Medical Associates donated $50,000 to the Integrity Health Foundation. Northstar Physicians Network donated $105,000 in cash and stock. 

 

Integrity Health Foundation supports health initiatives in the communities IHN clinics serve across Northern Minnesota and  NW Wisconsin. It also provides support for individual clinic initiatives, as well as network-wide, care-enhancing initiatives, such as the launch of an Accountable Care Organization.   

 

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