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Quality Update - Health care quality issues for Minnesota's health care leaders

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Driving toward the future with new partnerships and alliances

Kids waving from car

Strategic alliances and partnerships are shaping health care like never
before. Consider for example, how emerging payment models, which drive value instead of volume, have influenced partnerships. Health systems are engaging with housing organizations, food shelves, and other community-based organizations, sometimes informally, but increasingly in more formal strategic alliances. Locally, the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging partners with health systems and others to pull together prevention and wellness programs through its Juniper service. The Northwest Metro Alliance formally aligns Allina Health and HealthPartners with community behavioral health providers, Anoka County, Anoka-Hennepin Schools, and the YMCA to address mental and behavioral health issues.

The desire to improve affordability and lower costs is similarly driving partnerships and alliances, not only in Minnesota but nationally. Health systems and health plans, such as Allina Health and Aetna, are affiliating to manage patient care more effectively and efficiently. Last year's announcement of the Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase health care partnership captured our attention. While we don't yet know how it will unfold, it has the potential to disrupt approaches to employee health care.

"Collaboration" is one of the keywords in Stratis Health's mission. We've always carried out our work in collaborative ways. Today, we work in partnerships and alliances more intensely than ever. In 2014, we formed Lake Superior Quality Innovation Network, an informal partnership, to implement our longstanding Medicare quality improvement efforts in a regional approach. The Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety became our subsidiary in 2017, bringing together two organizations with a shared commitment to improving safety.

Superior Health Quality Alliance

Just last year, we established Superior Health Quality Alliance, Inc., aligning eight organizations across four states which serve as various types of Medicare quality improvement and innovation networks to coordinate and accelerate our health improvement efforts for seniors. Our new alliance is poised to drive the continued achievement of Medicare goals under its Network of Quality Improvement and Innovation Contractors (NQIIC) program, which will implement large-scale improvement initiatives over the coming years.

Effective and meaningful partnerships and alliances go beyond cooperation and coordination, and in many ways, go beyond collaboration. This rings true for Stratis Health, as we observe and support the grow ing array of partnerships and alliances—and as we adapt by shaping our own. We will be keeping our eyes on which new arrangements have the biggest impact on improving health and value.

We look forward to working in new ways with many of you who share this commitment to quality and safety.

Jennifer Lundblad


Jennifer P. Lundblad, PhD, MBA

President and CEO, Stratis Health