Minnesota Hospital Association


January 21, 2013

MHA Newsline

In this issue:

Flu tool kit available for hospitals, includes sample visitor policy

To respond to the rapidly changing public health situation associated with increased influenza activity, the MHA Patient Safety Committee commissioned an influenza rapid response subgroup. The purpose of the subgroup was to identify and disseminate resources for hospitals to prepare them to respond to the challenges associated with a serious influenza outbreak. When the subgroup was commissioned on Jan. 10, 2013, MDH had reported 27 deaths and 1,121 hospitalizations in Minnesota. Those numbers have climbed to 60 deaths and 1,842 hospitalizations as of Jan. 17. The subgroup has gathered and developed resources that will help hospitals respond quickly and consistently throughout the state, including a sample visitor policy, control plans, employee and public communication, and more.

Click here to access the influenza tool kit. ^top of page

Mental health has prominent role in gun violence reduction plan

President Obama last week announced a planto reduce gun violence and increase access to mental health services in the wake of last month’s deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. As part of the plan, the Department of Health and Human Services also issued a letter clarifying the parameters in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) privacy rule that allow health care providers to warn law enforcement authorities about threats of violence. The administration also plans to issue guidance clarifying that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not prohibit health care providers from talking to their patients about gun safety.

Other mental health items include:

  • a letter to state health officials making clear that Medicaid plans must comply with mental health parity requirements,
  • plans to issue final regulations for the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, and
  • plans to release a final rule defining essential health benefits under the ACA, including requirements for small group and individual health plans to cover mental health benefits at parity with medical and surgical benefits.
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Final HIPAA rule released

Last Thursday, the federal government released a final rule that updates several provisions in Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. Highlights of the changes include:
  • more objective standards as it relates to breach notification;
  • requirements for business associates’ compliance and liability on privacy and security regulations;
  • clarification on monetary penalties; and
  • limitations on the use, disclosure, and sale of protected health information.
It also prohibits health plans from using genetic information for underwriting purposes — this is also prohibited by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Both covered entities and their business associates will have 180 days (Sept. 23, 2013) to come into compliance. For hospitals, there will be costs incurred in updating the notices of privacy practices and revising business associate agreements.

If you have questions, contact Mark Sonneborn, MHA vice president of information services, 651-659-1423. ^top of page

BCBS announces big changes to CAH reimbursement

Both commercial and PMAP payments affected
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (BCBS) sent letters in December to critical access hospitals (CAH) stating their intent to change their payment methodology. The plan outlined is to reimburse CAHs for inpatient care based on 3M’s All Patient Refined Diagnosis Related Groups (APR-DRG) grouper method. And for outpatient services, to pay CAHs based on 3M’s Enhanced Ambulatory Patient Groups (EAPG) grouper method. CAHs are currently paid at their charges less a negotiated discount. Prospective payments systems, such as APR-DRGs and EAPGs, group clinically similar cases together and are paid in a standardized way.

Their implementation plan calls for a March 1, 2013 implementation date. Two webinars were held Jan. 9 and 17 to discuss the technical factors that go into the logic for APR-DRG and EAPGs. BCBS staff indicated new contracts would be sent along with data analysis to show hospital-level financial impact of the proposed change. For more information, BCBS has advised hospitals contact their contracting representative. ^top of page

Ten hospital trustees earn MHA certification

Ten hospital trustees from across Minnesota were recognized for earning certification through the Minnesota Hospital Association’s trustee certification program. The comprehensive certification process prepares hospital trustees to effectively meet the growing demands of serving on a hospital board and to be strong health care and community leaders. By participating in MHA’s voluntary certification program, hospital trustees receive training on current health care trends; governance best practices; ethics; government regulations; patient safety; and quality. Participants undergo 35 hours of coursework, making Minnesota’s initiative the most comprehensive in the nation. To date, 56 trustees have earned certification and 340 are enrolled and working toward certification. This represents about 20 percent of trustees in Minnesota. Following are the newly certified trustees:
  • Robert Cooper, District One Hospital, Faribault
  • James Fuhrmann, Avera Marshall
  • Kim Halvorson, District One Hospital, Faribault
  • Lana E. Hansen, Lakewood Health System, Staples
  • Katherine Hemmelgarn, Perham Health
  • James Hofer, Lakewood Health System, Staples
  • Wayne Hubin, Ridgeview Medical Center, Waconia
  • Robert Jensen, FirstLight Health System, Mora
  • Don Potter, Cook Hospital & C&NC
  • Eric E. Weiberg, Rice Memorial Hospital, Willmar

The trustees were honored at the biannual MHA Trustee Conference, Jan. 11-13, which experienced record attendance of more than 300 participants. The Summer Trustee Conference will be held in Alexandria, July 12-14. ^top of page

Pictured below, L to R: Don Potter, Wayne Hubin, Katherine Hemmelgarn, James Fuhrmann, Lana E. Hansen, Eric E. Weiberg, James Hofer, Robert Jensen, Lorry Massa, MHA. Not pictured: Robert Cooper and Kim Halvorson

photo of trustees










Health insurance exchange legislation moving forward

Legislation to create Minnesota’s health insurance exchange received its first hearing in the Senate. Senate File 1 was passed by the Senate State and Local Government Committee on a 7-5 vote. As predicted, the committee adopted several amendments; additional amendments are expected as the bill moves through the process. It is scheduled for its first House hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Meanwhile, the state received a $39 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to continue design and implementation of the exchange. The grant funds will be used for IT licenses and maintenance costs, call center operation, consumer outreach including training for customer assistance, navigators, brokers and in-person assisters, consumer testing, and other administrative functions. In total, Minnesota has received more than $112 million from the federal government for development of the exchange. ^top of page

NGS a step closer to Medicare A/B MAC for Minnesota

Minnesota hospitals will have a new Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded its MAC contract for Jurisdiction 6 (Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois) to National Government Services (NGS) on Sept. 27, 2012. Two protests were filed, but have now been dismissed by the Government Accountability Office. This clears the way for NGS to assume its new responsibilities for both Part A and Part B Medicare claims processing. Noridian Administrative Services currently services Minnesota’s Part A claims and Wisconsin Physician Services currently services the Part B claims.

No details about the transition timeline have been released. MHA will keep members informed as details are announced. ^top of page

Minnesota leading the nation to prevent drug diversion

Once again, Minnesota has demonstrated its leadership in patient safety. The

Road Map to Controlled Substance Diversion Prevention, developed by the Controlled Substance Diversion Coalition — of which MHA was a leading partner — is being used outside Minnesota to provide education and guide efforts to prevent drug diversion.

If your hospital is interested in participating in a learning network to prevent drug diversion contact Tania Daniels, MHA vice president for patient safety, 651-603-3517. The learning network provides peer-to-peer sharing of successes, challenges, and resources as you implement the MHA/MDH controlled substance diversion prevention road map. This informal learning network will provide your team an opportunity to talk to other hospitals about any areas of success or barriers. The first conference call will be Tuesday, Feb. 26 from 10-11 a.m. ^top of page