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Legislative Audit Commission


February 12, 2001

The meeting of the Legislative Audit Commission was called to order by Vice-Chair Senator Deanna Wiener on Monday, February 12, 2001 at 9:15 A.M. in Room 125, State Capitol.

Members Present:

Representative Lynda Boudreau    Senator Dave Johnson
Representative Mindy Greiling Senator Sheila Kiscaden
Senator Keith Langseth
Senator Ann H. Rest
Senator Jim Vickerman
Senator Deanna Wiener

Members Excused:

Representative Dave Bishop Senator Bill Belanger, Jr.
Representative Chris Gerlach Senator Doug Johnson
Representative Philip Krinkie Senator David Knutson
Representative Peggy Leppik Senator James Metzen
Representative Dan McElroy Senator Roger Moe
Representative Mary Jo McGuire    Senator Thomas Neuville
Representative Don Samuelson Senator Claire Robling
Representative Wes Skoglund
Representative Steve Sviggum

Senator Wiener indicated the purpose of the meeting was to review the program evaluation report on insurance for behavioral health care. She recognized James Nobles, Legislative Auditor. Mr. Nobles gave a broad overview of the report and introduced Elliot Long, project manager, and evaluators, Dan Jacobson and Alan Frazier.

Senator Wiener recognized Mr. Long. Mr. Long reviewed the questions addressed in the study, research methodology, and conclusions reached. He answered questions from members. In response to a question from Senator Kiscaden, Mr. Long indicated that Minnesota's data on spending patterns was very broad and general. In response to a question from Representative Greiling, he indicated that better data is needed. In response to a question from Senator Wiener, Mr. Nobles indicated the report does not contain any recommendations concerning collection of data because the legislature would need to determine what they want to have measured. He noted this data would need to come from both public and private sources, such as insurance companies, and would be difficult to get.

There was a discussion on quality or effectiveness of care and spending trends. Mr. Nobles noted that the Department of Health does a poor job of collecting data from private insurance companies but the reasons for this are not known. He also noted that the office was unable to get data concerning court-ordered behavioral health services.

Senator Wiener recognized Julie Bruner, Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Health, and Scott Leitz, Health Economics Program Coordinator in the Department of Health. Ms. Bruner noted explained changes that are planned in the department and that they are looking to the Legislature to see what additional information they want collected. She noted that expanding information gathered from insurance and medical billing systems is controversial, with much concern over invasion of privacy. Mr. Leitz noted that the department is aware of the data limitations noted in the report and that they are working on changes.

Senator Wiener expressed concern that the though report had an embargo, it had been leaked to the press prior to the release time. She indicated the commission would be reviewing the entire release process of both audit and evaluation reports.

The meeting adjourned at 10:45 a.m.

Senator Deanna Weiner, Chair

Jean Barnhill, Recording Secretary


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