In this issue:
Legislation to impose mandated staffing quotas receives its first hearing
Legislation to advance mandated staffing quotas for hospitals received its first hearing last week in the House Labor, Workplace and Regulated Industries Committee. In his testimony opposing the legislation, MHA President and CEO Lawrence Massa reiterated that hospitals and nurses share the same goal of delivering safe patient care. He went on to tell the committee that the bill was not about standards of care but rather government-mandated staffing quotas that will take decisions away from local hospitals and the nurse leaders who work closely with nurses and other caregivers to determine staffing. MHA was joined by several members in testifying against S.F. 471/H.F. 588:
- Carolyn Wilson, president, University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, Minneapolis;
- Sandra McCarthy, vice president of hospital operations and chief nursing officer, Essentia Health, Duluth;
- Roger Lloyd, nurse manager, Essentia Health St. Mary’s Medical Center, Duluth; and
- Mary Pynn, vice president and chief nursing officer, HealthEast Care System, St. Paul.
Carolyn Wilson told the committee that Minnesota is on the forefront of developing innovative, new models of care delivery, and this legislation would significantly impact hospitals’ ability to deliver the right care at the right time to patients. Sandra McCarthy continued with the message that health care delivery is changing and today care is delivered by a team of professionals. This legislation ignores the important role that other members of the care team play. Many thanks to everyone who testified.
In response to concerns that this legislation would cause layoffs in other areas, an amendment was added to the bill to prohibit hospitals from laying off staff: “The number of full-time equivalent positions of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants shall not be reduced as a result of the Standards of Nursing Care for Patient Safety Act. This amendment makes a bad bill even worse; it takes away flexibility and innovation to reform health care delivery and exacerbates cost concerns of this bill.
The bill, as amended, passed the committee on a 9-6 party-line vote and moves next to the House Government Operations Committee. A hearing has not yet been scheduled in that committee. Please continue to reach out to your legislators to convey why hospitals are opposed to this legislation. If you have any questions or need further information, call Mary Krinkie, MHA vice president of government relations, 651-659-1465 or Kristin Loncorich, MHA director of government relations, 651-603-3526. ^top of page
Gov. Dayton signs bill expanding Medical Assistance for low-income Minnesotans
Last week, Gov. Dayton signed into law the expansion of eligibility for Medicaid (Medical Assistance in Minnesota) to 138 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Medicaid expansion has been an MHA priority since 2010, when the option became available under the Affordable Care Act.
Expanding Medical Assistance eligibility means 87,000 Minnesotans will have affordable, comprehensive health insurance coverage. The coverage is effective Jan. 1, 2014. ^top of page
Gun control bills could affect mental health and substance abuse treatment
MHA works to protect patients with mental illness and substance abuse disorders
MHA is working with National Alliance on Mental Illness-Minnesota (NAMI) and the Mental Health Association of Minnesota (MHAM) to protect mental health and substance abuse treatment patient data from mandatory disclosure as part of the universal background check process necessary to receive a permit to purchase a firearm in Minnesota. So far, the House version of these bills has addressed MHA’s concerns and work continues to make similar changes to the bills in the Senate.
Numerous gun control bills have been introduced at the state Legislature this year. Three particular bills would expand background checks to include people “confined or “hospitalized (i.e., placed on a 72-hour hold) and make them ineligible for a permit to purchase a firearm; allow someone with a history of mental illness to receive a permit to purchase only with a letter from a mental health professional attesting that the person will not act violently in the future; and require mental health professionals to provide information to patients about a voluntary registry of people who are ineligible to purchase a firearm.
MHA, NAMI and MHAM worry that enacting legislation with these provisions could deter people from seeking mental health or substance abuse treatment. The three organizations will continue working to exclude these measures before any gun control bills are enacted.
For more information, contact Jen McNertney, MHA policy analyst, 651-659-1405. ^top of page
Minnesota awarded $45 million Innovation Model grant
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that Minnesota has been awarded a $45.2 million State Innovation Model (SIM) grant for the Minnesota Accountable Health Model. The SIM grants are intend to fund improvements to health care delivery and payment for Medicare, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program beneficiaries. MHA participated in several planning meetings and submitted a letter of support for the state’s grant application.
The overarching goals of Minnesota’s Accountable Health Model are to implement and test delivery and payment models designed to better coordinate care for patients through health information technology, increase workforce training and development, and engage communities in improving their health. More specifically, the state intends to use the funding to bolster health information technology capacity among providers and the Department of Human Services, continue and expand Health Care Delivery System demonstration projects, and launch broader community-driven Accountable Communities of Health across the state.
Lawrence Massa, president and CEO of MHA, applauded the state for pursuing the grant and looking for opportunities to drive care coordination: “This is a great example of the confidence that the state and federal governments have in the commitment of Minnesota’s health care providers to change our system. Massa said that MHA will continue working closely with Minnesota’s Departments of Health and Human Services as they implement the ambitious projects under the grant. ^top of page
Bill to exempt hospitals from new advanced diagnostic imaging accreditation requirements passes Senate committee
On Feb. 20, the Minnesota Senate Committee on Health, Human Services, and Housing took an important first step toward addressing a duplicative and burdensome obligation on hospitals related to advanced diagnostic imaging equipment. The Committee, by voice vote, forwarded to the full Senate legislation promoted by the Minnesota Hospital Association (S.F. 493/H.F. 582) to exempt Minnesota hospitals from new state-imposed accreditation requirements.
The new legislation would correct a 2012 law that has been interpreted as requiring Minnesota hospitals to undergo duplicative accrediting requirements for MRI, CT, and nuclear medicine equipment. Legislative supporters of the 2012 law believed the new requirement would not apply to hospitals.
During the hearing Gerri Burmeister, CEO and administrator of Windom Area Hospital, and Rick Ash, CEO of Ortonville Area Health Services, testified in support of the legislation. Both witnesses outlined the extensive state requirements already in place to ensure that hospital diagnostic imaging services are safe and effective. They also explained that the current interpretation of existing law would require substantial duplication of the accreditation processes.
MHA members should contact their state senators to encourage support for S.F. 493 when it comes before the full Senate.
For additional information about this issue, or for assistance in contacting state legislators, please contact Ben Peltier, MHA vice president of legal services, 651-603-3513. ^top of page
MHA issues call for entries for 2013 awards program
Nominations due Friday, March 15
MHA seeks nominations for its 29th annual awards program that celebrates outstanding work by Minnesota hospitals and health systems.
Entries are due by Friday, March 15; find the entry form here: MHA Awards: Nomination Form.
MHA award categories recognize excellence involving community health, workforce issues, patient care and career promotion, for example. Honors for individuals recognize trustees, volunteers, hospital executives, caregivers and public officials. Further information on the categories and judging criteria can be found here on our website.
MHA will notify all entrants whether they have won in mid-April. A reception and dinner for winners will take place Friday, May 17 at the Metropolitan Ballroom in suburban Minneapolis.
For more information, contact Sarah Bohnet, MHA visual communications specialist, 651-603-3494. ^top of page
Healthcare Executives’ Institute approved for nursing home credit
The Minnesota Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators has approved MHA’s Healthcare Executives’ Institute for up to 14.75 clock hours.
The conference, “Adapting to Leadership in Changing Times, will feature sessions on health-care reform, workforce issues, physician integration and other topics. The March 6-8 program will take place at the Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West in Plymouth.
For information on institute programs and sessions, download the brochure here. ^top of page
Thanks to sponsors of MHA Healthcare Executives’ Institute
MHA thanks the following sponsors of the Healthcare Executives' Institute March 6-8 for their generosity and continued commitment to Minnesota health care.
ACT Services LLC
Integrated Healthcare Strategies
Eide Bailly LLP
JE Dunn Construction
Eide Bailly LLP
For more information about sponsorships, contact Cari Kronschnable, MHA program coordinator, 651-659-1428. ^top of page
MHA mental health conference scheduled
MHA has scheduled the association’s first-ever conference dedicated to mental health and behavioral health issues for Friday, Nov. 8 in the Twin Cities. Keynote speakers for the event will be David Wellstone and Ken Barlow of the Wellstone-Barlow Mental Health Initiative, who have joined forces to fight stigma against mental illness.
The “reducing harm conference will provide an opportunity for hospital staff to learn evidence-based best practices in addressing patients who are at risk of harming themselves, staff or other patients.
Mark your calendars and look for more details to be released closer to the event. ^top of page
Hospital participation requested in AHA Annual Survey
MHA is coordinating the collection of the AHA Annual Survey of services, staffing, finances and electronic health record implementation. The cover letter, survey, step-by-step walkthrough guide and login/password were emailed to CEOs on Feb. 21. We appreciate your attention to this request and for completing the survey. The AHA directory of hospitals is useful for identifying trends and the information is used for analysis in a variety of ways at the national level. Please enter your survey information online at www.ahasurvey.org by April 1. If you need your login and password, email Jenny Sanislo. ^top of page
Conference to focus on collaboration across communities to improve health and wellness
Locally and nationally there is growing support to prevent disease and promote health to improve the health of individuals (both children and adults) and communities. To achieve improved health for all, evidence-based policy, systems and environmental change is necessary. However, how do we move from theoretical frameworks to practical application? More collaboration across entire communities (i.e., cities, counties, states) is the key to success. In order for any health improvement efforts to work, it’s clear that all stakeholders must work together to create communities that foster and encourage healthy living for all.
Allina Health and the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation present “Connecting to Transform Communities: Stakeholders in Health and Wellness April 25-26 in Minneapolis. The conference will provide a forum for discussion of innovative approaches and solutions, to help engage communities, maintain momentum, measure impact and sustain your efforts.
Click here for full details and registration. ^top of page