Ad-Hoc Consumer Advisory Group

12/28/16 - From Karynlee Harrington to group members:

I wanted to follow up with you all regarding one of the agenda items we briefly discussed at our last ad-hoc consumer advisory group meeting – the RWJF grant award to study how primary care practitioners can incorporate cost-of-care discussions with patients in the clinical workflow (awardee is Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine and MHDO is one of the partners). Below is additional information regarding the grant.

Project DirectorKimberley Fox, MPA, Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine
AimTo develop and test specific tools and workflows to integrate cost-of-care conversations into the diagnosis and treatment of patients with low-back pain (LBP) in 12 primary care practices and to help patients make more cost-informed choices, using publicly reported costs on Maine’s price transparency website-CompareMaine.
Research Question(s)How do access to enhanced cost-of-care discussion tools and trainings increase provider confidence and frequency of having these conversations with their patients?
How do providers integrate use of publicly reported cost data into the clinical discussion and workflow?
How were these conversations received by patients and how did they affect their awareness of comparative cost information, experience of care, engagement in clinical decision-making and treatment choices?
Population of Focus Patients with low-back pain seeking care at 12 participating primary care practices
GeographyRural and urban practices in Maine

The research team from the Muskie School will be conducting several focus groups with patients/consumers early next year and would like to meet with the MHDO Consumer Advisory Group. Given how important this work is, your interest and the tight timeframes of the grant I have agreed to share the time we have at our next consumer advisory meeting in January with Muskie. The first hour of our meeting will be dedicated to getting your feedback/input on draft consumer materials that are being developed for this pilot and then we will spend the remaining time working on MHDO-CompareMaine business. As the meeting gets closer we will send out the formal agenda and any supporting documents. I am excited that Muskie sees the value in seeking feedback from our group.

Meeting Notifications


  • March 9th - cancelled
March 9th Meeting: Cancelled due to family emergency. Please check back soon to see the rescheduled date.

Prior Meeting Dates and Documents:


  • January 12th - cancelled


November 17th

September 8, 2017

June 9, 2017

January 20, 2017


November 17, 2016

March 18, 2016

January 22, 2016

Consumer Advisory Group 2014 - 2015

April 2014-Consumer Advisory Group Established

List of Members

Meeting Notifications

The following meetings are scheduled from 9:00 - 12:00 pm. Documents and details will be made available as the date approaches.

  • September 11, 2015
Next Meeting:

2/6/15 Communication From Craig Freshley

Hello Members of the MHDO Consumer Advisory Group,
The folks at NORC at the University of Chicago are working with MHDO to identify key elements of consumer-friendly cost and service websites and are excited to have your insights on what you find most useful and appealing. Your feedback will be used to enhance the HealthCost website (or perhaps called "HealthPort Maine" or HealthCompare Maine") in the short and long term. While not all consumer wishes can be accommodated right away, MHDO and NORC will do what is possible.

Please don’t hesitate to offer all your thoughts, even beyond the three specific questions listed below (no idea is too far out!). We plan to review a synthesis of the findings at the MHDO meeting scheduled for March 13.

By Friday, February 27, please reply directly to me with answers to the questions in this document.

Prior Meeting Dates and Documents

September 11, 2015

July 10, 2015

May 8, 2015

March 13, 2015

January 9, 2015

November 7, 2014

September 12, 2014

July 11, 2014

May 16, 2014

Email From Karynlee Harrington on Apr 7, 2014 at 5:26 PM:

Good Afternoon,

Hope everyone had a nice weekend and got some time to enjoy the beautiful weather we had Sunday. Spring is in the air.
Anyway, the last time we met I talked about following up with you in an e-mail in preparation for our May 16th meeting.

Below is a list of the follow up items and requested action for our May 16th meeting: (again I am sending you all a big huge thank you for agreeing to take this work on!)

  1. MHDO’s HealthCost 2014 interim site - As we have discussed there is a lot of information on our HealthCost 2014 interim site. This is the site where we provide the average cost information for just under 200 common medical procedures by healthcare facility. The website includes a link to GoodRx which provides drug pricing information from pharmacies nationwide so that consumers can search to find the lowest price for their medication. The site also includes the recently released 2014 annual report on Healthcare associated infections in Maine.

    What I need you to do for the May 16th meeting:
    • Log into the HealthCost 2014 interim site by clicking on or by copying the link into your browser. (If you do not have access to a computer please call me at 446-0890 for alternative arrangements).
    • Once in the HealthCost site click on each of the pages listed on the far left hand side of the page. If you would read through the material that each page contains and when you are in the cost compare page run through a few cost compare scenarios.
    • The last page on the far left hand side of the HealthCost home page is the Provide Feedback link. Please click on this page complete the survey. We estimate that it may take up to 20 minutes to complete the survey and provide your feedback. All questions are optional. If you prefer not to respond, leave the question blank and move onto the next. Note: one of the agenda items for our May 16th meeting is to review the feedback received. Hint: To navigate through the survey, use the “Previous” and “Next” buttons at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Here is the link to the MHDO Consumer Subcommittee Report.

What I need you to do for May 16th meeting:

Read the report. As we discussed at our last meeting this report provides a solid foundation and I would encourage you to read through the report if you have not done so already as we will refer to it throughout our work together.

Summary of the three items we need you to do for our May 16th meeting:

  1. Review HealthCost 2014 Interim website:
  2. Take the HealthCost 2014 Survey found at:
  3. Read the MHDO Consumer Subcommittee Report.

An agenda and supporting documents will be e-mailed to you prior to the May 16th meeting. If in the interim you have any questions please do not hesitate to e-mail me at or call me at 207-287-6722.

Lastly, the two websites below are sites that we will be talking about at a future meeting (not the May 16th meeting). I am providing the information now as several members have asked me for the website addresses.

  • Patient Experience Matters Website: This site provides results of the Maine Quality Forum's survey initiative on how Maine patients rate their experience at their primary and specialty care physician practices throughout the State.
  • MONAHRQ: This website can be accessed at This site provides information on utilization and quality metrics by Maine hospital.

Ok enough from me for now. I really do appreciate your interest in willingness to work with us in this effort. Craig (the facilitator) and I are looking forward to meeting with you all on the May 16th. Karynlee

Message from Group Facilitator, Craig Freshley

Hello Members of the MHDO Consumer Advisory Group,

I'm really looking forward to serving as your facilitator and meeting you all on May 16!
In the meantime, Karynlee has requested that you do a few things to prepare for the May 16 meeting. See the e-mail below.

To help you with these tasks, Poppy Arford has kindly offered to provide two "help sessions" on Monday, April 28 and on Wednesday, April 30, both from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. These sessions are optional although they are likely to be very helpful.

In these sessions Poppy will explain how to navigate the HealthCost 2014 Interim website and survey, explain highlights of other websites and reports, and answer ANY questions you have about these advance tasks.

You are invited to participate by phone AND by computer so we can "show you around." If you have a computer and internet connection we will be able to show you things right on your screen as we explain things. You don't have to participate by both phone and computer but we think you will find it simple to do, highly effective, even fun!

Here's how to participate:

  1. Let us know in advance if you plan to participate OR call in within the first 10 minutes of the session.
  2. Just before the start of the session: Dial (605) 477-3000 and then Enter Access Code 196852#
  3. Just before the start of the session:
    For Monday's session, click on follow the simple instructions.
    For Wednesday's session, click on and follow the simple instructions.

If you have any questions just before or during a session, call me on my cell phone: 207-522-3787.

Look forward to working with you!

Craig Freshley
Good Group Decisions
98 Maine Street, Brunswick, Maine 04011

If you are part of a group that makes decisions together you might appreciate my Good Group Tips.