Minnesota Hospital Association


December 17, 2012

MHA Newsline

In this issue:

Governor’s Health Care Reform Task Force final report includes MHA recommendations

The Minnesota Health Care Reform Task Force met last week to finalize its report and recommendations, Roadmap to a Healthier Minnesota. The Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) expressed appreciation for the Task Force’s efforts to incorporate many of the Association’s suggestions during its last meeting on Thursday.

Lawrence Massa, president and CEO of MHA, said “the end product reflects a lot of what our members wanted to see from this long, high-profile process.” Massa acknowledged that MHA does not support everything in the Task Force’s report: “Are there strategies that we disagree with? Sure. But our focus will be on advancing the important areas where there is strong consensus and agreed upon need for action.”

For example, the Roadmap includes some of MHA’s top 2013 legislative priorities: expand Medicaid for Minnesotans making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level; increase Medical Education and Research Costs (MERC) funding; enhance the ability of providers to share clinically appropriate patient data; and create a state-based Health Insurance Exchange with a public-private governance structure.

Some of the changes suggested by MHA and incorporated into the report include:

  • Building off of the Health Care Delivery System demonstration projects to expand Total Cost of Care contracting in Medicaid and, at the same time, working with smaller provider organizations to pursue other payment reforms that do not require as many patients or risk for providers; and
  • Authorizing reimbursement for evidence-based lifestyle intervention programs, such as the Diabetes Prevention Program, in Minnesota Health Care Programs.

MHA’s comments on the draft recommendations can be found here. For further information about the Task Force’s report or MHA’s comments, contact Matt Anderson, MHA vice president of regulatory and strategic affairs, 651-659-1421. ^top of page

Congressional delegation urges CMS to protect access to rural health care when considering physician supervision requirements

U.S. Reps. Betty McCollum (D), Collin Peterson (D) and Tim Walz (D) joined 14 other lawmakers last week in sending a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) urging the agency to protect access to rural health care when considering physician supervision requirements.

The letter thanked CMS for accepting the most recent 22 recommendations for general supervision from the Hospital Outpatient Payment Panel, but reiterates continued concern over the final rejection of seven additional recommendations.

The lawmakers asked the agency to please take the strongest possible measures to ensure access to care in rural areas and to allow the necessary flexibility and discretion to manage quality care administration.

Click here for a complete list from CMS of codes that have received some level of exception to direct supervision.

To view the complete congressional letter click here. ^top of page

Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait

MHA and March of Dimes launch media campaign to end early elective deliveries

The Minnesota Hospital Association has partnered with the March of Dimes to support programs aimed at preventing premature birth. Evidence shows that critical development occurs in the last few weeks of pregnancy, yet in Minnesota each year hundreds of babies are still electively delivered before 39 weeks. To help spread the message that a healthy baby needs at least 39 weeks to grow, MHA is sponsoring a media campaign on KARE 11, airing between Dec. 13 and Jan. 20. MHA will also provide hospitals with educational flyers early next year that can be used for prenatal education classes and disseminated to clinics.

MHA has broadened the scope of its perinatal safety efforts beyond eliminating deliveries before 39 weeks and has developed a comprehensive Road Map to a Perinatal Patient Safety Program that offers best practices in the areas of: patient education, elective delivery, fetal/uterine assessment, operative vaginal delivery, maternal/obstetric morbidity and mortality reduction, trial of labor after a previous Caesarean section, and provider/nurse training.

Click here to watch the 30-second TV message and look for it when you are watching KARE 11. ^top of page

State seeking feedback on potential quality data reporting displays

The Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange are collaborating on the design and launch of Web-based public reporting of health care provider quality data. On Dec. 12, the state held a webinar to unveil potential display options for how quality performance measures for clinics, hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers could be published in a consumer-friendly way. The webinar was recorded and has been posted on the MDH website and on the Exchange website.

MHA encourages members to provide feedback on the design alternatives by Friday, Dec. 21. You can provide input to either MDH (health.reform@state.mn.us) or the Exchange (PublicComments.HIX@state.mn.us). ^top of page

Harnessing the power of enhanced data for health care quality improvement

An article in the November/December issue of the Journal of Healthcare Management co-authored by MHA Vice President of Finance Joe Schindler and Vice President of Information Services Mark Sonneborn discusses MHA’s pilot project linking hospital clinical information to administrative data. The project was the result of a contract from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and found that the use of hybrid data allowed for more accurate comparisons of risk-adjusted mortality and risk-adjusted complications across Minnesota hospitals. The article explores the implementation challenges and provides insights for hospitals pursing similar data-enhancement projects. ^top of page

Allina Health and Courage center announce partnership

Allina Health and Courage Center announced last week that their boards of directors have approved a proposed merger between the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute and Courage Center. According to officials, the partnership will allow full integration of the two organizations with individuals and families dealing with disabilities benefitting from streamlined, coordinated services. The overarching objective of the partnership is to meet the “triple aim” challenge of health: improving the experience of care, improving the health of people with a broad range of permanent or episodic disabilities, and reducing the per capita costs of health care for this population. The organizations will immediately pursue integration planning which should culminate in an official merger sometime in the spring of 2013. ^top of page

Year-end highlights report available

The Minnesota Hospital Association exists to help its members advance their missions. MHA worked tirelessly throughout the year to ensure that the association’s financial and human resources were used effectively and innovatively. Through the support of and partnership with members, MHA helped move health care forward. Check out the 2012 Highlights for an overview of the accomplishments your association was able to make thanks to member support and involvement. ^top of page