Study: The most and least expensive hospitals, clinics in Minnesota

A tranche of analysis and data has been released by MN Community Measurement.
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New data released Thursday has revealed the quality and cost of care provided by hospitals and clinics across Minnesota.

The 2019 Minnesota Health Care Quality Report has been released by the independent nonprofit MN Community Measurement, analyzing healthcare facilities based on a huge range of indicators for the care and treatment they provide patients.

One of the metrics that they look at is the total cost of care for patients with private or employer-provided insurance, with the average cost from all the facilities across the state (and border facilities in western Wisconsin) standing at $548 per patient, per month, as of 2018.

Here are the 10 least-expensive hospitals and clinics on a per patient, per month basis comprising payments for both adult and pediatric care from patients/insurance companies to the providers: (Full list found here)

  1. Aveera Medical Group (McGreevy Clinic, United Medical Center, Worthington Speciality Clinic) – $429.
  2. Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis – $447.
  3. AALFA Family Clinic, White Bear Lake – $450.
  4. Community University Healthcare Center, Minneapolis – $456.
  5. Stellis Health, PA, Buffalo – $467.
  6. Catalyst Medical Clinic, Watertown – $472.
  7. Pediatric and Young Adult Medicine, St. Paul – $475.
  8. South Lake Pediatrics, Minnetonka – $476.
  9. Unity Family Healthcare, Family Medical Center, Little Falls – $484.
  10. = Entira Family Clinics, St. Paul/HealthPartners Clinics, Minneapolis – $487.

The cost figures provided in the data don't definitively mean that these are the least expensive hospitals and clinics in the state, given that each facility will see patients of different demographics with conditions of varying complexity, and are of varying size, which can have an impact on the amount they charge.

But MN Community Measurement says the cost of care data is designed to help patients "compare and choose health care based on value – balancing quality and outcomes with the overall cost."

Here are the facilities at the most expensive end of the list:

  1. Mayo Clinic, Rochester – $1,096.
  2. Mayo Clinic Health System, Lake City – $943.
  3. Mayo Clinic Health System, Albert Lea – $765.
  4. Mayo Clinic Health System, St. James – $763.
  5. Mayo Clinic Health System Southwest Region – $745.
  6. Prairie Ridge Hospital & Health Services, Elbow Lake – $738.
  7. Olmsted Medical Center, Rochester – $737.
  8. Sleepy Eye Medical Center – $726.
  9. Mayo Clinic Health System, Fairmont – $721.
  10. St. Elizabeth Medical Center, Wabasha – $704.

But what about quality of service?

The data provided by the nonprofit is huge, giving each clinic and health group ratings based upon the quality of care for various ailments.

For example, HealthPartners Clinics in Minneapolis scores 86 percent for breast cancer screening, 64 percent for treatment of asthma in adults, and 43 percent for treatment of COPD.

You can find the entire database here, and search for individual hospitals and clinics.

One of the metrics we've taken a closer look at to determine quality is based on patients' experiences, namely the rating they've given a facility after their treatment or stay. MN Community Measurement notes that this can be a sign of "strong hospital performance."

The Minnesota Health Care Quality Report looks at the percentage of facilities who receive 9 or 10 out of 10 ratings by patients, with 73 percent of patients on average giving such a rating.

Here are the top-10 performing facilities based on patient feedback (full list here)

  1. Bigfork Valley Hospital – 97 percent (of patients giving 9/10 or 10/10).
  2. Mayo Clinic Health System, Springfield – 94 percent.
  3. Madelia Community Hospital, Madelia – 94 percent.
  4. Sleepy Eye Medical Center – 94 percent.
  5. Prairie Ridge Hospital and Health Services – 94 percent.
  6. Glacial Ridge Health System, Glenwood – 88 percent.
  7. Sanford Wheaton Medical Center, Wheaton – 88 percent.
  8. Mayo Clinic Health System, Cannon Falls – 88 percent.
  9. CentraCare Health, Paynesville – 87 percent.
  10. Lakeview Hospital, Two Harbors; St. Elizabeth's, Wabasha; Hendricks Community Hospital, Hendricks; Perham Health – all 86 percent.

It's worth noting that some of the highest rated for quality of care by patients are also included on the list for the most expensive care, namely Prairie Ridge, Sleepy Eye, and St. Elizabeth's – and there are two Mayo Clinic facilities mentioned even though those specific locations are not among the priciest.

The lowest rated based on patient feedback are:

  1. Sanford Bemidji Medical Center – 62 percent.
  2. Rainy Lake Medical Center, International Falls – 63 percent.
  3. Chippewa County - Montevideo Hospital – 63 percent.
  4. Essentia Health, Virginia – 66 percent.
  5. Essentia Health, Duluth (Miller-Dwan Building) – 67 percent.
  6. Mille Lacs Health System, Onamia – 67 percent.
  7. U of M Medical Center, East and West Bank Campuses – 67 percent.
  8. Essentia Health, Fosston – 68 percent.
  9. St. Joseph's Hospital, St. Paul – 68 percent.
  10. Fairview Southdale Hospital, Edina – 68 percent.

The report also acknowledge the following medical groups that achieved scores of 50 percent or higher in all metrics measured in 2019.

  • Central Pediatrics
  • Entira Family Clinics
  • Essentia Health
  • HealthPartners Central Minnesota Clinics
  • HealthPartners Clinics
  • Mankato Clinic
  • Park Nicollet Health Services
  • South Lake Pediatrics
  • Wayzata Children’s Clinic

Improvements in depression treatment

Among the findings highlighted by MN Community Measurement from the 2019 report is that there has been an improvement in the treatment of depression.

"Rates of depression follow-up care, improvement of symptoms, and remission measured at twelve months all increased significantly compared to last year’s report," it said.

"While there continues to be large opportunity for improvement, it is encouraging that the needle is starting to move on this important issue."

Four medical groups – HealthPartners Central Minnesota Clinics, Essentia Health, Park Nicollet Health Services, and Entira Family Clinics – achieved rates above 50 percent for depression follow-up care, while the overall average increased above 30 percent.

There has also been an improvement in reducing the overuse of antibiotics compared to last year. 

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