Minnesota Hospital Association


April 29, 2013

MHA Newsline

In this issue:

MHA urges CMS to select recovery audit contractors based on quality of work

MHA President and CEO Lawrence Massa joined with leaders of six other state hospital associations in our region to urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to select contractors for the Medicare Recovery Audit program based on their qualifications, Medicare fee-for-service auditing experience, and responsiveness to the providers and suppliers they audit. In a letter to Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, the associations said recovery audit contractors (RACs) should not be selected based on the lowest bid without serious consideration of the quality of the work and their responsiveness to hospitals and to the agency. The letter goes on to explain that hospitals spend an enormous amount of time and resources to appeal erroneous findings of some RACs and in working with contractors who have been unresponsive at times. Click here to read the letter. ^top of page

Health and Human Services omnibus bills head to conference committee

Last week both the House and Senate passed on the floors of their respective bodies the omnibus Health and Human Services finance bills. The bills will now go to a conference committee that is charged with working out the differences between the House and Senate versions. This work will likely take a couple of weeks as lawmakers finish up the budget bills in time for a scheduled adjournment on May 20.

MHA wrote a letter of support for S.F. 1034, but did not do so for the floor debate on H.F. 1233 because of the bill’s inclusion of a significant increase in the hospital surcharge. House File 1233 calls for a surcharge increase from the current 1.56 percent to 2.68 percent. This increase would collect $202 million from the hospital community for the 2014-15 biennium. Fortunately, Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe) was able to author an amendment to sunset this new surcharge increase effective July 1, 2017. The bill does call for Medical Assistance rate increases to offset much of the surcharge increase (approximately $193.8 million) but that assumes federal approval, no problems accepting rate increases of this size because of Upper Payment Limit restrictions, and the potential for future legislatures to change the rate increases but leave the new tax in place.

Surcharge increases of this size are problematic for a number of reasons:

  • depending on the associated rate increases, surcharges inevitably benefit only a few hospitals, while many other hospitals are very negatively impacted;
  • with Medicare cuts are on the horizon, the amount of available Upper Payment Limit room is shrinking which means offsetting rate increases are unlikely to be sustained; and
  • surcharges as a funding mechanism for state Medicaid programs are garnering increasing federal scrutiny.

Other highlights of the bills include: extension of the MinnesotaCare program for an additional year, waiving the four-month enrollment waiting period and eliminating the $10,000 inpatient hospital cap. MHA was pleased to see full restoration of the Medical Education and Research Costs program cuts ($12.8 million) in the House bill and partial restoration in the Senate bill ($6.4 million.)

MHA has prepared a side-by-side comparison of the two bills, available here. Please contact your legislators and urge them to reject the inclusion of the House surcharge proposal in the final omnibus Health and Human Services finance bill. If you have any questions, contact 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

DHS to delay June Medicaid payments

Fee-for-service Medicaid payments will be delayed from June 18, 2013 to July 2, 2013 as a result of previous legislative action to balance the 2012-13 state budget. These payment delays apply to inpatient hospital services, non-hospital services, and home and community-based services. MinnesotaCare and Medicare crossover claims will not be delayed.

For more information from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, click here. For questions, contact Joe Schindler, MHA vice president of finance, 651-659-1415. ^top of page

MHA staff ‘March for Babies’

Team raised more than $8,200 for the March of Dimes On Sunday, April 28 a team from MHA and Aging Services of Minnesota walked in the March of Dimes’ March for Babies. MHA President and CEO Lawrence Massa was the statewide chair for the 2013 March for Babies, which raises money for research to help premature babies and to help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies. ^top of page

Celebrate excellence at MHA Awards banquet

All MHA members are invited to join us on Friday, May 17 at the MHA Annual Awards banquet at the Metropolitan Ballroom in Minneapolis. The awards honor individuals who have offered dedicated service to hospitals and organizations that have implemented successful, innovative programs in 18 categories. Click here to learn more about the awards.

Individual tickets are $60 and tables are $600. If your hospital would like to join us in this celebration, please complete this RSVP form and return it to Sarah Bohnet by Tuesday, May 7.

MDH to offer suicide prevention training

In the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) year-end survey for 2012, facilities expressed a need for suicide prevention training in the state. As a result, MDH will host a training with Dr. Dan Reidenberg from Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) on May 22 from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. at the Wilder Foundation in St. Paul.

Dr. Reidenberg will speak on current data on suicide and suicide attempts, research-based warning signs of suicide, risk and protective factors, brief risk assessment, what and how to ask about suicide, compliance/adherence issues for medications/treatment, documentation. The target audience for this training is: psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health professionals, counselors, chemical dependency professionals, nurses, nurse practitioners, nursing aides and social workers.

Please be sure your nurse leaders, mental health staff and social workers are aware of this opportunity. There will be no charge for this training; however, space is limited so please register by May 10. Registration is available here. ^top of page

“Clean Your Hands Day” promotes hand hygiene

The World Health Organization urges health care facilities to celebrate hand hygiene promotion on or around May 5 for its “Save Lives: Clean Your Hands” campaign. The campaign calls on the health care community to:
  • Continue to focus on hand hygiene monitoring and feedback
    Evaluation and repeated monitoring of a range of indicators reflecting hand hygiene infrastructures and practices, as well as health care workers’ and senior managers’ knowledge and perception of the problem of health care-associated infection and the importance of hand hygiene at the health care facility, is a vital component of any successful hand hygiene campaign.
  • Empower the patients’ voice
    Identify the best ways to gather patient participation in hand hygiene promotion and improvement, according to the local culture and your facility’s current hand hygiene strategy.

To learn more about the Clean Your Hands campaign, click here. ^top of page