Minnesota Hospital Association


February 13, 2017

MHA Newsline: Feb. 13, 2017

In this issue

MHA welcomes new members to Board of Directors

MHA welcomes several new members to its Board of Directors. MHA is governed by a 29-member board of directors representing hospital leaders from across the state, including 10 standing directors, five at-large directors, six regional directors, five trustee directors and five ex-officio and officer directors. The board establishes and implements policies and decisions to advance the delivery of health care and health care policy in Minnesota and on the national level. Thanks to the following new directors for their commitment to advancing health care in Minnesota:

Standing Director
James Hereford
President & CEO
Fairview Health Services, Minneapolis

At-Large Director
Tammy Loosbrock
Senior Director
Sanford Luverne Medical Center

Regional Director
Region 3

Bill Nelson
Chief Executive Officer
Mille Lacs Health System, Onamia

Trustee Director
Sheila Riggs, DDS, DMSc
Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis

Trustee Director
John Strange
Lake View Hospital, Two Harbors

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Nominate your hospital or program for a 2017 MHA Award

Nominations due Friday, March 10

Is your hospital a best Minnesota workplace? Do you have an innovative patient safety program or exemplary caregiver who deserves recognition? If so, consider submitting a nomination for MHA’s annual awards program. For more than 30 years, the MHA Awards have celebrated outstanding work by Minnesota hospitals and health systems and we want to honor you.

MHA award categories recognize excellence involving community health, best workplace and patient care. Honors for individuals recognize trustees, volunteers, hospital executives, caregivers and public officials. Additional information on the categories and judging criteria can be found on the MHA website.

Entries are due by Friday, March 10; find the entry form here: Nomination Form.

MHA will notify all entrants whether they have won in mid-April. A reception and dinner will take place Friday, June 2, at the Metropolitan Ballroom in suburban Minneapolis. All MHA members and associate members are invited and encouraged to attend the awards ceremony. Mark your calendars and plan to join us for this celebration of excellence in Minnesota health care.

For more information, contact Sarah Bohnet, MHA visual communications specialist, 651-603-3494. return to top

Two MHA legislative proposals advance

Legislation to limit the authority of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to regulate locum tenens and other advanced health care professional agencies used by hospitals for temporary staffing, HF 582 (Schomacker-GOP-Luverne), advanced last week at the Capitol.

Kimber Wraalstad, administrator of North Shore Health, Grand Marais, testified in support of the legislation. She shared that the hospital community did not have concerns about the underlying law regulating supplemental nurse staffing agencies, which has been in place since 2001. Language added in 2015 to include other health care professionals, however, could be problematic, particularly for rural hospitals like North Shore Health that are extremely reliant on physician locum agencies to staff their emergency departments. It was estimated by the locum agency used by North Shore that costs would dramatically increase if this provision were to be enforced by MDH. The bill now advances to the full Health and Human Services Reform Committee.

MHA is advocating for a mental health innovation grand fund, HF 737 (Peterson-GOP-Lakeville), which was approved by the Health and Human Services Policy Committee for further consideration by the HHS Finance Committee. The goal of this bill is to provide seed money for community mental health collaborations and to direct money to mental health that currently flows to the state’s general fund. Currently, if a patient remains hospitalized at Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center or a Community Behavioral Health Hospital after he or she no longer needs hospital-level care because there are no discharge options in the community, the county pays the full daily rate into the general fund. This legislation allocates that money in a separate account and calls for those funds to be reinvested in a grant program focused on mental health care. The bill also calls for an initial $10 million appropriation to begin the grant program.

Dr. Paul Goering, vice president of Allina Health’s Mental Health and Addiction Services and a member of Governor Mark Dayton’s Mental Health Task Force, said the grant program could be a “game changer” that helps bridge the silos that exist between providers and counties, both of which face barriers to providing better patient care. Goering also stated that the bill was merely a “down payment” on what is truly needed to serve the mental health needs of Minnesotans. 

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

Price sworn in as HHS secretary, Verma’s confirmation hearing scheduled

Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) was sworn in as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary. On Feb. 16, Seema Verma, President’s Trump nominee for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator, will appear before the Senate Finance Committee for her confirmation hearing. Verma is known for advising Vice President Pence and helping to craft Indiana's Medicaid plan, which requires participants make monthly contributions into accounts similar to health savings accounts.

The HHS secretary and CMS administrator do not need to wait for Congress to act on repeal, repair or replacement of the Affordable Care Act. As HHS secretary, Price is empowered to interpret laws differently than the HHS secretaries who served in the Obama administration and rewrite regulations and guidance. For example, he could take administrative action to scale back, delay or cancel the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation’s Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement bundled payment model and eliminate no-copay birth control coverage from the benefits insurance plans must offer. If confirmed as CMS administrator, Verma will play a key role in any modifications to the Medicaid program, such as implementing block grants or requiring more personal responsibility from Medicaid enrollees.

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

2017 Rural Hospital Planning and Transition Grant Program application cycle begins

Applications are now being accepted for the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) Rural Hospital Planning and Transition Grant Program. Eligible applicants are non-federal, nonprofit, general acute care hospitals that have 50 or fewer beds and are located in a rural area or in a community with a population of less than 15,000 and outside the Twin Cities seven-county metropolitan area.

Grant funds provide support to small hospitals in developing strategic plans for improving access to health services or implementing transition projects to modify the type and extent of services provided, based on an existing plan.

Coordination with local community organizations is a key component of this grant program. Projects that connect hospital plans and resources to other stakeholders such as local public health, mental health, long-term care and social services are encouraged. Recent grant recipients were successfully able to show how a proposed project would plan for changes in service populations, bolster availability and sustainability of services, meet health reform objectives, address unmet health needs, and/or enhance recruitment and retention of health professionals. 

In total, $250,000 is available. Applicants may apply for grants of up to $45,000.

Applications are due March 17. The request for proposals and application guidelines are available on the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care website

For information, contact Lina Jau, Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, MDH, 651-201-3809. return to top