Minnesota Hospital Association


June 24, 2013

MHA Newsline

In this issue:

Hospital spotlight: Perham Health volunteer shares her passion for patient advocacy

photo of Marlene FondrickMarlene Fondrick, a volunteer with Perham Health was recognized with the 2013 MHA Volunteer of the Year Award. Marlene has volunteered her time to teach, mentor and contagiously share her passion for patient advocacy. Her initial investment began as a family member of a Perham Health patient, later as a patient herself and now as an advocate for all patients and families. She helped start a patient and family council and continues to be a member of this group known as the Partners in Care Council. She also serves on the Quality Council, Just Culture Task Force and the Home Care Advisory Committee. Marlene chose to use her personal experience fighting breast cancer to improve local and regional health care processes related to communication, referrals and transitions of care. Perham Health CEO Chuck Hofius remarked, “I have never seen one individual that has had more impact on the lives of patients, families and caregivers than Marlene Fondrick." ^top of page

Sen. Franken co-sponsors legislation to protect access to outpatient therapeutic services

MHA appreciates Sen. Franken’s support of S. 1143, the Protecting Access to Rural Therapy Services Act. This legislation would protect access to outpatient therapeutic services delivered in hospitals by establishing a different, more practical physician supervision standard than the one taken by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in recent years. In particular, the legislation would:

  • Adopt a default standard of “general supervision” (rather than “direct supervision”) by a physician or non-physician practitioner (NPP) for outpatient therapeutic services;
  • Create an exemption process using a provider advisory panel to identify those outpatient services that are sufficiently complex to require direct supervision;
  • Ensure that the “direct supervision” standard is consistent with existing conditions of participation for critical access hospitals (CAHs) that require a physician or NPP to be present within 30 minutes; and
  • Hold hospitals and CAHs harmless from civil or criminal action resulting from any retroactive application of “direct supervision” requirements for the period 2001 through 2014.
  • CMS has scheduled another meeting of its Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment (HOP Panel) for Aug. 26-27 in Baltimore. The HOP Panel advises CMS with respect to outpatient therapeutic services delivered in a hospital that should have different physician supervision requirements than CMS’s current requirement of direct physician supervision.

MHA encourages members interested in recommending that particular outpatient therapeutic services be subject to a level of supervision other than direct supervision testify at the August hearing and submit a presentation to CMS by July 19. Further details regarding the hearing, how to request to testify, and the requirements for presentations are available here. ^top of page

Sens. Franken and Klobuchar support legislation to help reduce hospital readmissions through telehealth technology

Senators Franken and Klobuchar are original co-sponsors of S.596, the Fostering Independence through Technology Act. This legislation was introduced by Sen. Thune (R-SD) on March 18 and is supported by the American Hospital Association, among other national advocacy groups.

The bill would establish pilot projects under Medicare aimed at increasing the use of remote monitoring technology for home health patients that can improve care and outcomes and help reduce unnecessary hospital readmissions or patient transfers from home to higher acuity settings. This technology provides patients the ability to stay in their homes longer without jeopardizing their health while reducing overall health care costs and improving outcomes.

If you have any questions about this legislation, contact Ann Gibson, MHA vice president of federal relations and workforce, 651-603-3527. ^top of page

Members reminded to be wary of ‘pay-for-play’ solicitations

An increasing number of companies are reaching out to hospitals with pitches that promise to gain publicity or positive press for the hospital. Often these solicitations are presented as an opportunity to have your hospital or individuals within your hospital be the “local face” associated with a well-known figure or organization. MHA urges hospitals to review these opportunities carefully as they are often nothing more than “pay-for-play” marketing that come with steep price tags and little outcome.

If you have any questions about whether a solicitation is reputable or a good opportunity for your organization, don’t hesitate to contact Wendy Burt, MHA vice president of public relations and communications, 651-603-3549. ^top of page

FAQ on new transitional care management codes

Effective Jan. 1, 2013, two current procedural terminology (CPT) codes were added for hospitals to report transitional care management (TCM). The codes are to be used on new or established patients whose medical or psychosocial problems require moderate or high-complexity decision making during transitions in care from an inpatient hospital setting. The American Academy of Family Physicians recently provided a Frequently Asked Questions document that is available here. ^top of page

Got a good story?

Do you have a good story to tell about how your hospital, an individual, or team is making a positive impact on patient safety and quality of care in Minnesota? We would love to hear about it. Please send an email to Sarah Ford, MHA communications specialist/writer and you could be an upcoming hospital spotlight. ^top of page