In this issue:
MHA monitoring attorney general actions on potential merger between Fairview Health Services and Sanford Health
On Sunday, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson held a public hearing regarding a potential merger between Fairview Health Services and Sanford Health. Talks have been characterized by both Fairview and Sanford as being in the early, exploratory stages. MHA asked to testify to provide context on health care integration and consolidation and to represent the interests of all its members, but was asked not to by the attorney general’s office. MHA is concerned about the way in which the hearing was orchestrated as well as the overall tone of media coverage following the hearing.
A second public hearing has been scheduled for Sunday, April 21 at 1:30 p.m. at the Capitol. MHA will continue to monitor this proposed merger with the interest of all of its members in mind and will provide input and perspective on today’s health care environment as needed. ^top of page
IRS releases long-awaited proposed rule on community health needs assessments
Charitable hospitals have waited more than three years since passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for regulatory interpretation of new requirements regarding community health needs assessments. Although final rules on the issue remain months away, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) took an important step by releasing proposed rules on the issue last week. The proposed rule can be found here.
The ACA requires private, tax-exempt hospitals to complete a community health needs assessment at least once every three years. On the surface, the new requirement seems relatively straight forward. However, without important details set forth in IRS rules, hospitals have been left to move forward with meeting this new standard without definitive direction on how they must define the "community" that must be assessed, how specific the assessment must be, or how multiple hospitals within a single health care system can coordinate with one another to minimize administrative costs associated with their assessments.
MHA is reviewing the details of the proposed rule. It contains some important and hoped-for provisions, such as clarifying that the IRS will employ a reasonable approach toward enforcement of the new requirements by refraining from imposing automatic penalties or revocation of tax-exempt status for mere technical or inadvertent noncompliance. Likewise, the proposed rules state that a single hospital's failure to comply with the new requirements does not necessarily jeopardize the tax-exempt status of the health system to which it belongs.
MHA will submit comments to the IRS regarding the proposed rules. Members are encouraged to contact Matt Anderson, MHA vice president of strategic and regulatory affairs, 651-659-1421, with concerns or issues you would like MHA to include in its comments, as well as to consider submitting your own comment letters. ^top of page
MHA launches third cohort of Transforming Care at the Bedside
TCAB engages bedside nurses to implement positive change
Last week, 75 participants from hospitals across the state took part in the kickoff for MHA’s third cohort of Transforming Care at the Bedside (TCAB). TCAB empowers nurses and other bedside caregivers to suggest, test and implement potential solutions to problems and find new ways to improve patient care. It aims to increase the time nurses spend in direct patient care; to improve quality, reliability and safety of patient care; to create patient-centered care; and to improve nurse retention by improving workforce vitality. Past TCAB participants note that it’s often small changes that make a big impact on patient experience. Examples of changes TCAB teams have implemented include moving supplies to the bedside to eliminate the amount of “hunting and gathering” by nurses, creating quiet hours on units to improve rest and recovery for patients, and changing whiteboards to improve team communication.
To find out how your hospital can get involved with TCAB, contact Kattie Bear-Pfaffendorf, MHA patient safety/quality specialist, 651-659-1404. ^top of page
Sanford Canby and Sanford Clear Lake Medical Center CEO Bob Salmon to retire
Lori Sisk named new CEO
After 42 years in health care, Bob Salmon, CEO of Sanford Canby and Sanford Clear Lake (SD) Medical Centers, is retiring. Salmon served on the MHA Board of Trustees for six years. He also served on MHA’s Policy and Advocacy Committee and the Policy Development Task Force. Salmon notes some of the highlights of his long career as, “working with legislators and securing special legislation for the [Canby] hospital district, being the first hospital in the Federal Health & Human Services Region V to implement swing beds, being one of the first Provider Based Rural Health Clinics and Home Health Services in Minnesota, and drafting legislation to qualify many rural hospitals as critical access hospitals."
Sanford Health Network has named Lori Sisk as CEO of the two facilities, effective April 29. Sisk has served as Sanford Canby’s chief nursing officer since 1998, responsible for nursing staff supervision, development, and regulatory compliance for critical access hospital designation. In addition, she oversaw the wellness center and the ambulance service, among other duties. ^top of page
Hospital success story: St. John’s Hospital recognized for eliminating CLABSI
The Intensive Care Unit at St. John's Hospital in Maplewood has been selected by the National Awards Program to Recognize Achievements in Eliminating Healthcare-Associated Infections. The hospital will receive the Outstanding Achievement and Leadership Award for Eliminating Central-Line Associated Bloodstream Infections. This program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Healthcare Quality and the Critical Care Societies Collaborative (CCSC).
The annual awards program recognizes teams of critical care professionals and health care institutions that show excellence, leadership and notable, sustained improvements in preventing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), specifically infections of critically ill patients.
Hospitals, units and teams that successfully reduce or eliminate HAIs for 25 months or longer are eligible for the awards. Recipients also demonstrate national leadership in sharing and disseminating information.
St. John’s Hospital participates in the MHA Hospital Engagement Network.^top of page
National Healthcare Decisions Day is April 16
Tuesday, April 16 is National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD), which aims to inspire, educate & empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning. It is an initiative to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be. In addition to NHDD, the American Hospital Association developed the “Put it in Writing” campaign. The campaign provides resources to enhance education efforts and raise awareness about the need to develop an advanced directive. ^top of page
Perinatal Hospital Leadership Summit focuses on quality improvement in maternity care
The Minnesota Perinatal Hospital Leadership Summit will bring together leaders from around the state to learn about quality improvement in maternity care that supports breastfeeding. Two leaders from each birth hospital or health system are invited to attend the Summit on May 7 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center. Attendees will learn from the Joint Commission about the Perinatal Core measurement set and hear what other hospitals are doing to improve mother-baby care. The event is designed for hospital and health system administrators; chief nursing officers/patient services directors; and birth center directors. To learn more, visit www.mnbreastfeedingcoalition.org. Click here to register. ^top of page