Minnesota collects health care-related data for many reasons, and health care providers and purchasers have complained about the burden of reporting it. In 2011, the Legislature directed four state agencies-Minnesota Management and Budget as convener, along with the departments of Health, Human Services and Commerce-to develop recommendations to "eliminate redundant, unnecessary and obsolete" health care reports. MAD was charged with guiding these agencies as they worked together-as well as with representatives from health plans, hospitals and other industry stakeholders-to develop recommendations.
Consultants Renee Raduenz and Ralph Brown interviewed key stakeholders to clarify their concerns and suggestions. State staff developed an inventory of mandated reports to examine, and stakeholders expanded the list-ultimately 80 reports were included. The consultants facilitated a series of face-to-face meetings, developing a dialogue between the two groups, helping both to understand the "why" of each other's positions. Following that, the consultants guided staff work groups to examine what was learned and what could be done.
The consultants served as a neutral conduit for people with many different perspectives. All proposed changes to reporting requirements came through the consultants, who provided anonymity and objectivity. When the report was completed, the consultants held individual meetings with key legislative leaders to explain the process and the results.
This was an opportunity for each agency to make sure its own units understood what data the rest of the agency collected and why. It also required them to interact with the other agencies, something that had been sporadic in the past. Together, they cooperated with health industry stakeholders, who were sometimes adversaries before the Legislature. If the approach worked, each agency could simplify and improve its own reports, and better understand the role and requirements of the other agencies. It would also allow them to save resources while reducing the burden to their stakeholders.
The recommendations brought significant change: 30 reports were selected for immediate streamlining, including nine slated for elimination and six for significant reduction or merger. The dialogues revealed that some stakeholder were unsure why reports were needed, so agencies agreed to expand the use of purpose statements. In addition, the agencies made long-term commitments to ease reporting burdens as federal regulations evolved. Legislators, who sometimes heard "horror stories" about mandated reporting, were assured that the agencies were acting reasonably and in partnership with health care stakeholders.
Health Care Regulatory Simplification Report (PDF)