Minnesota Hospital Association


October 16, 2012

MHA Newsline

In this issue:

Premium eliminated for MinnesotaCare children below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines

The Legislature, in 2008 and 2009, enacted a number of changes to expand MinnesotaCare eligibility for children under age 21 and adults with children. One of the changes eliminates MinnesotaCare premiums for children with household income equal to or less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG).

Beginning Nov. 1, children currently enrolled in MinnesotaCare whose household income is equal to or less than 200 percent of the FPG will no longer pay a MinnesotaCare premium. This policy expands the zero-premium category for children from 150 percent FPG to 200 percent FPG.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services received approval on June 30, 2011 from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to implement this change under the Prepaid Medical Assistance Project Plus (PMAP+), also known as the MinnesotaCare Waiver. Bulletin #12-21-10 provides policy and instructions on implementing the premium elimination. ^top of page

New state Medicaid director named

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has named Carol Backstrom as the new state Medicaid director effective Nov. 5. Backstrom has an extensive background in health care policy, administration and reform. She was formerly the senior policy advisor at the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services where she served as a liaison with state partners in creating and implementing reforms in Medicaid programs across the country. She also served in several capacities for HealthPartners and Regions Hospital, including as senior manager for Care Innovation and manager of government relations and community health initiatives. ^top of page

MHA to testify to IRS regarding proposed rule on billing and debt collection

As a follow-up to written comments submitted in September, MHA staff is expected to testify in person at a hearing convened by the Internal Revenue Service regarding a proposed rule on billing and debt collection. The proposed rule provides additional clarification of requirements imposed on non-profit hospitals included in the Affordable Care Act. The proposed rule contained draft regulations on areas such as financial assistance policies, billing the uninsured, and limits on “extraordinary collection actions” by hospitals. MHA’s written comments reflected input from a variety of MHA members.

In the proposed rule, the IRS established a series of highly specific standards for compliance. During oral testimony, Ben Peltier, MHA vice president of legal services, will encourage the IRS to abandon its one-size-fits-all approach and finalize a rule that provides more deference to state requirements already in place. If finalized without changes, the proposed rule will require Minnesota hospitals to comply with two sets of standards on debt collection and billing the uninsured. The result will be more administrative burden on hospitals and more confusion among patients and community stakeholders.

Read MHA’s comment letter on our website. For questions or additional information on the proposed regulations, MHA’s letter or MHA’s oral testimony contact Ben Peltier, MHA vice president of legal services, 651-603-3513. ^top of page

Reminder for hospitals to complete community benefit survey

The deadline for submitting your hospital’s community benefit information to MHA for this year’s Community Benefit Report (based on fiscal year 2011) is fast approaching. The deadline for completion of the survey is Friday, Nov. 2. Your participation is critical to ensure the report accurately reflects regional and statewide trends, and that all the beneficial activities hospitals provide to improve health and to provide access to care are acknowledged. If your hospital did not receive emails regarding the survey (sent in early October), please contact Bonnie Terveer, MHA data operations assistant, 651-603-3520.

MHA also requests that you send your hospital’s Form 990 to Bonnie Terveer. ^top of page

MHA Board hears from new county-based health group

Representatives from Southern Prairie Community Care (SPCC) joined the MHA Board of Directors at its latest meeting to discuss a new care delivery and payment model in rural Minnesota.

Mary Fischer, executive director of SPCC, explained that 12 counties in southwestern Minnesota formed the SPCC through a joint powers agreement with the intention of combining multiple county-based services with medical care for the region’s Medicaid enrollees. The newly formed joint powers organization follows years of planning and conversations with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS).

Fischer explained that SPCC hopes to better coordinate all of the social, public safety and health care services that Medicaid enrollees might receive from public and private providers. Under the model, health care providers will continue to have contracts with managed care organizations, such as UCare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. In addition to those agreements, providers would have shared savings agreements with SPCC.

MHA Board members recognized the similarities between SPCC’s plan and the HennepinHealth program that began earlier this year in Hennepin County. SPCC hopes to respond to an expected request for proposals from DHS under its Health Care Delivery System demonstration initiative.

Lawrence Massa, president and CEO of MHA, said that the Association supports DHS pursuing multiple experiments and demonstrations to better learn how care for Medicaid populations throughout the state can be served better and more efficiently.

For more information about SPCC or DHS’s Health Care Delivery System demonstration, contact Matt Anderson, MHA vice president of regulatory and strategic affairs, 651-659-1421. ^top of page

Sexual Assault Survivor Kits available for hospitals

Patients at Minnesota hospitals’ emergency departments who seek care after being sexually assaulted often go home in new clothing provided by people they’ve never met. The program that donates the items is doing more than just putting clothes on the backs of those who need it; assault victims must give what they’re wearing to prosecutors for evidence.

The Assault Survivor Kits are provided under a long-standing collaboration between MHA and the Minneapolis/St. Paul chapter of the Assistance League, a national philanthropic organization. Before the initiative began, victims were given heavy-weight paper pants and shirts to wear home.

The kits are free to all Minnesota hospitals that have an emergency department. To order Assault Survivor Kits for your hospital, visit the MHA store or contact Sarah Bohnet, 651-603-3494. ^top of page

Northfield Hospitals & Clinics begins search for new CEO

Northfield Hospital & Clinics is initiating an active CEO search to replace Mark Henke, who died in September from complications of renal cell cancer. The organization has appointed Mary Quinn Crow, its former chief operating officer, as interim president and CEO. Candidates will be sourced through a search firm selected by the organization's board of directors. Inquiries about the position and Northfield Hospital & Clinics can be directed to Mary Quinn Crow or Bobbi Jenkins, 507-646-1004. ^top of page

Updated data available on Minnesota Hospital Price Check website

Data from calendar year 2011 has been added to the Minnesota Hospital Price Check website. Minnesota Hospital Price Check is a place where consumers and purchasers of health care services can review and compare price information for their local hospitals. Reports are available for the 50 most common inpatient hospitalizations and the 25 most common same-day procedures. The inpatient charge report shows the number of discharges, average length of stay, average charge, average charge per day, and median charge for each of the top 50 most common diagnosis-related groups. The outpatient charge report shows similar measures for the top 25 most common surgical procedures as specified by MHA.

For the first time, the website will include non-resident data in addition to data for Minnesota residents, which allows consumers to find data for all patients treated in Minnesota hospitals. For more information, contact MHA. ^top of page