Minnesota Hospital Association


October 22, 2012

MHA Newsline

In this issue:

Hospitals challenge themselves to serve as a model of health in their communities

According to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a stable and high-quality health care workforce has been shown to be essential to efficient and effective health care delivery. Minnesota hospitals that have implemented wellness programs have seen many positive benefits, including a boost in productivity, increased team morale and engagement, decreased sick time and lower employee turnover. While hospitals acknowledge there is a long way to go to get all employees engaged in living a healthier lifestyle, they’ve challenged themselves to serve as models of healthy living and fitness for their communities. Read more about Minnesota hospitals’ efforts. ^top of page

MHA asks members of Congress to co-sponsor the Medicare Audit Improvement Act

The Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) has asked Minnesota members of Congress to co-sponsor the Medicare Audit Improvement Act of 2012, H.R. 6575. Hospital leaders are encouraged to also urge your representatives to sign on as a co- sponsor. The legislation was introduced last week by Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and would make needed improvements to the Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) program, and other Medicare audit programs.

The legislation is intended to ensure that programs to identify waste, fraud and abuse are accurately and appropriately targeted. The bill includes measures to:

  • establish a consolidated limit for medical record requests;
  • improve auditor performance by implementing financial penalties and by requiring medical necessity audits to focus on widespread payment errors;
  • improve recovery auditor transparency;
  • allow denied inpatient claims to be billed as outpatient claims when appropriate; and
  • require physician review for Medicare denials.

MHA believes these changes to the RAC program would promote the best/most efficient use of federal government and hospital resources. The American Hospital Association also supports H.R. 6575.  ^top of page

Minnesota EHR Incentive Program launches

As of Thursday, Oct. 18 the Minnesota Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive program (MEIP) is online and accepting enrollments. Providers may now apply for federal fiscal year 2012 payments assuming they meet the meaningful use requirements. Funds could be paid to providers that qualify as early as November. The application deadline for these funds was extended through January 2013 due to the late implementation of this program. MEIP provides incentive payments to certain health care professionals and hospitals that meet specific eligibility requirements when they adopt, implement, upgrade and meaningfully use certified EHR technology.

MHA is hosting two webinars featuring the Department of Human Services and its vendor, CGI, to provide specifics on application for the Medicaid meaningful use incentive funds.

  • Thursday, Nov. 1 at 1:30 p.m., targeted for eligible providers
  • Thursday, Nov. 8 at 1:30 p.m., targeted for eligible hospitals

Please contact Carol Eshelman, MHA program coordinator, 651- 603-3539 to register for one or both of these webinars. Learn more about MEIP here^top of page

Minnesota hospitals among top critical access hospitals

The National Rural Health Association named the top 20 critical access hospitals in each of three areas of performance: financial stability, patient perspective and quality. The following Minnesota hospitals were among those recognized at the National Rural Health Association’s Critical Access Hospital Conference:

  • Bigfork Valley Hospital — Patient perspective
  • Mayo Clinic Health System in Springfield — Financial stability
  • Mayo Clinic Health System in Waseca — Financial stability
  • Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Wabasha — Patient perspective
  • Sanford Westbrook Medical Center — Patient perspective

The three performance indicators are:

  • Quality — A rating of hospital performance based on the percentile rank across the five categories of Hospital Compare process of care measures.
  • Patient perspective — A rating of hospital performance based on the percentile rank on two Hospital Compare Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) measures.
  • Financial stability — A rating of hospital performance based on the percentile rank on a set of balance sheet and income statement financial ratios.

The hospitals selected scored best among more than 1,300 critical access hospitals on iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength Index. Congratulations to all of the hospitals on their strong performance. For the complete list, click here.

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Protect against the flu: Participate in FluSafe

Health care workers play an important role in protecting patients from influenza. Unvaccinated health care workers can pass highly contagious influenza to their patients, many of whom are at high risk for complications of influenza. The Minnesota Department of Health’s FluSafe program publicly recognizes hospitals and nursing homes for employee vaccination rates above 70, 80 and 90 percent. It is a great way to reassure your patients and their families that you are actively fighting influenza infection.

As of Oct. 11, 64 hospitals have registered to participate in FluSafe. MHA has a goal of 100 percent participation by our members. During the 2011-12 influenza season 80 percent of hospitals participated—let’s improve upon that this flu season! Learn more about FluSafe on our website and check the list of participating hospitals^top of page