Minnesota Hospital Association


January 23, 2017

MHA Newsline: Jan. 23, 2017

In this issue 

MHA members testify at HHS Finance Committee

Last week, MHA members testified before the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee on the topic of narrow insurance networks in Minnesota. They shared patient concerns about accessing health care locally and maintaining existing relationships with health care providers in rural parts of Minnesota.   

Members present included Sharon Williams, vice president, finance, Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center; Susan Grafstrom, development coordinator, LifeCare Medical Center, Roseau; Brad Burris, CEO, Pipestone County Medical Center; Richard Ash, CEO, United Hospital District, Blue Earth; and Dr. Aaron Johnson, chief of staff, United Hospital District, Blue Earth.   

Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems want to help ensure that patients maintain access to high-quality health care close to home. Thank you to our members for speaking to the committee! return to top 

Premium subsidy bill moving forward; other amendments added

Last week at the state Capitol, the bill to provide relief to Minnesotans in the individual insurance market, Senate File 1 (Hoppe – GOP - Chaska), passed the House floor. The House added an amendment to allow insurance companies to sell health plan products that do not contain all of the state and federal mandated benefits (e.g. maternity, mental health, prescription drug coverage), as long as they sell at least one product that does contain all of the mandated benefits in this market. MHA is reviewing this amendment, but several members have expressed concerns about this language. The conference committee will begin meeting to work out the difference between the House and Senate version of the legislation.   

Mary Krinkie, MHA’s vice president of government relations, testified before the House Health and Human Service Finance Committee at an informational hearing on the Department of Human Services’ Direct Care and Treatment programs. Krinkie provided MHA perspective on issues MHA members face related to timely discharge and community-based placement options for mental health patients. Krinkie reviewed MHA’s study on potentially avoidable mental health bed days with the committee.   

Today, Gov. Mark Dayton delivers his State of the State address. On Tuesday, the governor will release his proposed budget for the 2018-19 biennium.  

With questions, contact Mary Krinkie, vice president of government relations, MHA, 651-659-1465, or Kristin Loncorich, director of state government relations, MHA, 651-603-3526.  

Session bill tracker
For a complete list of 2017 legislative bills MHA is tracking, visit the MHA Member Center. For assistance accessing the Member Center, contact Emily Lowther, communications manager, MHA, 651-603-3495. return to top   

President Trump issues executive order on ACA

Shortly after being sworn in, President Trump demonstrated his commitment to addressing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by signing an executive order designed to “ease the burden” of the health law. Per White House press secretary Sean Spicer, the executive order “directs the departments and agencies to ease the burden of Obamacare as we transition to repeal and replace.” However, it is unclear what actions the six-section order directs agencies to take. It is possible that the order could be used to end the enforcement of the ACA’s individual mandate or to repeal certain taxes established by the bill, including those on insurers and drug manufacturers.   

On Jan. 18, members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee questioned Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), President Trump’s nominee for Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, about the future of ACA repeal and replacement. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) was among the committee Democrats who expressed concern that repealing the ACA could reduce health insurance coverage and create more instability in the insurance market. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) expressed support for the administration to reduce the law’s regulatory burden for rural hospitals.   

During the confirmation hearing, Price said the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) “has great promise and possibility,” but added, “I adamantly oppose the mandatory nature with which it has approached problems.” Price has expressed strong opposition to the Innovation Center’s Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement model.   

Price will appear before the Senate Finance Committee, which will vote on whether to confirm the nominee, on Jan. 24.   

MHA will continue to provide Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Minnesota’s House delegation with information about how Minnesota has been impacted by the ACA, as well as the potential effects of repeal and replace proposals as they are released.   

With questions, contact Briana Nord Parish, policy analyst, MHA, 651-603-3498, or Ben Peltier, vice president of legal and federal affairs, MHA, 651-603-3513. return to top   

MHA members encouraged to attend AHA annual meeting May 7-10 in Washington, D.C.

MHA will coordinate visits with the Minnesota congressional delegation     
After a period of relative stability in federal health policy, the election of 2016 has led to a major realignment of leadership in health care policy. This spring, Congress will consider a variety of changes in health care, including the future of the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid expansion, insurance regulation and Medicare reforms. MHA members’ help is needed to deliver a unified message on these important health care issues during the American Hospital Association (AHA) annual meeting in Washington, D.C., May 7-10.   

AHA will host a strong line-up of speakers who will address the most immediate and long-term issues facing hospitals and health systems. With approximately 1,500 attendees in attendance, this is a unique opportunity to network with peers from across the country. In addition, MHA staff will schedule congressional office visits and help prepare MHA members for those visits during a special briefing.  

To register for the meeting, visit the AHA website. About a week prior to the annual meeting, MHA will send participants additional information on special Minnesota-only events.  

For more information, contact Ben Peltier, vice president of legal and federal affairs, MHA, 651-603-3513. return to top   

Register for annual ICSI Colloquium on Health Care Transformation

Registration is available for the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI) Annual Colloquium on Health Care Transformation, which will take place May 8-10 at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest.   

The event will examine the new and evolving teams and teamwork needed, both inside of health care and reaching outward, to meet the coming shift to value-based payment systems and achieve the Triple Aim. Program and registration information can be found on the ICSI website. With questions, contact Lisa Carlson, ICSI. return to top