Report: Minnesotans spent nearly $2 billion on preventable health care

Minnesota employers, health plans and individuals spent $1.9 billion in 2012 for health care that potentially could have been prevented.

So says the state's Department of Health in a first-in-the-nation analysis released today on visits to emergency rooms and hospital admissions and readmissions. Nearly 1.3 million patient visits that year potentially could have prevented, according to the analysis.

Using data collected for about 4.3 million Minnesotans covered by private and public health insurance, the health department used a system by 3M Health Information Systems to analyze care that might have been prevented by timely access to quality outpatient care, improved medication management, greater public knowledge about health and health services, and better coordination of care among health care providers.

The amount spent on preventable care amounted to 4.8 percent of Minnesota's total health care spending that year, said Dr. Ed Ehlinger, the state's health commissioner, in a news conference on Wednesday.

"No one likes to pay unnecessary medical bills or wants to take a trip to the hospital that could have been avoided," Ehlinger said.

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