Physician Patient


Minnesota Physician-Patient Alliance, Inc. ("MPPA") is a not-for-profit organization committed to improving our health care system. We do this by communicating information to the public and within the industry about important health care issues.

MPPA believes that efficient, quality health care depends on strong doctor-patient relationships. Interference in the doctor-patient relationship by third parties such as health plans and the government, is widespread in today's health care system and often limits what doctors or patients are allowed to do, altering market-based reimbursement, and undermining the traditional ethics of the medical professions. While the intentions of the third parties in interfering with the relationship may be honorable (for example, to control costs or improve quality), ironically the cumulative effect of this interference is unnecessarily high costs and reduced quality. Efforts to reform health care, therefore, must first and foremost address the issue of strong doctor-patient relationships.

The MPPA board consists of physicians, health care consumers, and others who share these concerns and values. We seek to communicate our message by collaborating on research and publication, sharing information about market developments, and individually being active in a variety of health care and community organizations.

To see who belongs to MPPA, please visit our Who We Are page by clicking on the link to the right. To see some of our communications, click on one of the Publications links to the right. If you would like to learn more about MPPA or our positions, click on the Contact Us link to the right.

MPPA was established in 1997 as a Minnesota 501(c)3 charitable nonprofit organization. If you would like to be added to the MPPA listserv, the respected MPPA online discussion group, send us your contact information and we will add you.

Jan 26
Interview with Star Tribune medical care writer Chris Snowbeck (1/26/2020):
Perverse Financial Incentives in Today’s Medical Care Payment System
“48% of all federal government expenditures can be traced to health care in its many hidden forms,” says Dr. Marty Makary in his 2019 book The Price We Pay (#1 above). According to Makay, “The problem is that when you take a great profession [medicine] and apply some of the most perverse financial incentives [to delivering patient care] in a cascade of money games, the [corporate] stakeholders [such as hospitals, clinics, employers, and insurance companies]   
are leaving richer and richer, and the only one not making [or saving] a ton of money [on medical care] is the patient.”
Fact: [Medical care] prices are going higher and the secret discounts [to the system’s middlemen] are getting larger.

How can we achieve medical care and medication price transparency to individual consumers and employers? 


To counter the rising costs of medical care to patients and families, who are the true consumers of medical care, patients and families need to have tools to recognize patterns of over-treatment and make prudent choices based on transparent pricing. To empower consumers we also need, as Dr. Marty Makary says “a new generation of brokers and advisors who work via a flat fee or an hourly advisory fee relationship unbeholden to the [“provider”] companies that offer medical care products and services.
During the 2020 Minnesota legislative session, please contact your state legislator asking them to further  efforts to empower patients and families with transparent consumer-friendly online information to  help them shop for discretionary medical care, third party insurance, and medications.
We’ll support and post 2020 state and federal legislative bills which improve medical care price transparency for Minnesota patients and families.
Dec 27
Cost-effective continuity of patient care is deteriorating in our current medical care system. The lie: Hyped claims of patient-centered care while money is made as patients “fall through the cracks.”
Can money for care follow the patient’s clinical needs rather than algorithmic rules of money changers and corporate mangers (such as penalties for re-admissions)? That was a key question for us on Gov. Rudy Perpich’s Mental Health Commission in 1985. See:
And it still is.
Let’s consider psychiatry as the canary in the coal mine.
As psychiatry residents at the University of Chicago (1966-69), we were assigned the expectation and given the responsibility and power to move patients in and out of UC care settings and level of care that we deemed were appropriate to the patient’s current clinical needs.
Similarly, when I was a staff psychiatrist at the Metropolitan Medical Center (MCC) in Minneapolis (1972-84), I worked closely with a hospital nurse Team Leader who kept track of patients assigned to me.  She (or another psych nurse on call) would go to the ER whenever a patient (of ours) showed up — or to begin the work-up of a new patient when assigned to the medical staff ( See: Passion for Patients The nurse Team Leader accompanied me on hospital rounds. MMC also supported an outstanding hospital-based psychiatry outpatient department featuring group therapy programming for patients. Patients under my care with a hospital history could also to show up at “Nuclear Group”convened at the hospital if they had a self-defined “crisis.”  And, I had the option to see patients at my private office as well.
Money for their care followed patients more closely than it does today.
In a message dated 12/26/2019 4:55:37 PM Central Standard Time, writes:
So,  a patient with a chronic condition,  such as CHF,  is almost always admitted in “observation” status,  as the rule is that the number of days allowed for treatment is too few,  so they are often discharged unstable.  Further,  many patients are not compliant with their treatment,  especially dietary and exercise.  So back they come.  There are huge fines if such patients are admitted again within a 30 day period.  Hence not admitting them in the first place,  and calling them observation status,  which is not covered by insurance nor Medicare,  incurring huge surprise expenses.  This has become extended to lots of other diagnoses,  such  as broken bones or surgeries.  Most recently,  there was an article by a physician,  whose prostatectomy for prostate cancer was not covered,  as he was admitted as observation status.  Any doc who reveals this to the patient or complains is likely to lose their job quickly.
These metrics are clearly wrong,  yet I see no one trying to get around them by making them public and pushing to have them changed or stopped.  Instead there is an effort to deflect them onto the patient.
Apparently below  is a rule by which this metric mess is defined.  Just another situation we must ALWAYS check out if we or anyone we care about is admitted to the hospital.  Insist on a real admission.
“All metrics of scientific evaluation are bound to be abused. Goodhart’s law (named after the British economist who may have been the first to announce it) states that when a feature of the economy is picked as an indicator of the economy, then it inexorably ceases to function as that indicator because people start to game it”There is an entire book recently published devoted to this issue :
“The law is richly illustrated in the 2018 book The Tyranny of Metrics by Jerry Z. Muller. An enunciation of the law preceding both Goodhart’s and Campbell’s works is due to Jerome R. Ravetz. In his 1971 Scientific Knowledge and Its Social Problems,[9] pp. 295–296, Ravetz discusses how measurement systems can be gamed. For Ravetz, when the goals of a task are complex, sophisticated, or subtle, then crude systems of measurements can be played exactly by those persons possessing the skills to execute the tasks properly, who thus manage to achieve their own goals to the detriment of those assigned.”