Minnesota Hospital Association


April 10, 2017

MHA Newsline: April 10, 2017

In this issue

From hospitals to neighborhoods, stepping up for mental health

HealthEast conducted its second community health needs assessment in FY 2015, including Ramsey, Dakota and Washington counties. Mental health was identified as a priority health concern by all stakeholder groups for the HealthEast assessment and in assessments completed by the three local public health departments. HealthEast took a multifaceted approach in responding to this need, improving access to mental health services through expanded inpatient and emergency department services, as well as community-led, culturally appropriate programs with community partners.

Conversations about mental health, increased environmental stress and ways to help people build resilience are changing and deepening. As a result, stigmas long associated with mental illness are beginning to fade. Within this changing context, HealthEast is taking an expansive approach to meeting growing mental health needs in the Twin Cities East Metro area.

“We want to provide a broad spectrum of services to ensure that our neighbors receive appropriate mental health treatment, have resilience-building resources and experience abundant mental well-being,” said HealthEast Chief Operating Officer Cathy Barr.

Visit the MHA website to learn more and read the full 2016 Community Benefit Report. return to top

MHA prioritizes member meetings with legislators this week

Legislators are back in their home districts on their annual spring break this week. MHA members are encouraged to meet with legislators. Please use the grassroots matching list found on our Member Center to contact your legislators’ offices today to schedule a visit. When speaking with legislators, please ask them to talk to their caucus leaders and urge them to allocate more money into the health and human services budgets. MHA has significant concerns about the budget bills under consideration right now. Both cut health and human services spending.

MHA now offers additional grassroots coordination support to help members plan legislative outreach. Karin Johnson, part of our team at Tunheim, is also serving in a contract role as MHA’s grassroots coordinator. Email Karin for assistance with legislative outreach.

HHS omnibus bill moves forward
Last week, the House of Representatives approved its version of the health and human services omnibus bill. There were no finance amendments impacting the hospital community on the House floor to change the funding in the bill from what has been previously reported in Newsline.

MHA opposes a part of the bill that would establish a new hospital reporting requirement. The legislation would require the Department of Human Services (DHS) to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to select methodology for identifying potentially avoidable hospital readmissions or complications within the state’s Medical Assistance (MA) program and for measuring hospital performance. The bill also requires DHS to establish a new hospital reporting system and to adjust hospital reimbursement based on rates of potentially avoidable readmissions and complications. This reporting by hospitals would be in addition to the requirements of the statewide quality reporting system (SQRMS) and CMS reporting. MHA is opposed to this provision.

In addition, this bill was amended to define “potentially avoidable complication” to add reporting on care “during the individual’s transportation to a hospital” and “caused by insufficient staffing due to a nurses’ union strike.” MHA is opposed to this language and will continue to educate legislators on all of the quality measures Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems are currently required to report.

The House and Senate are expected to begin meeting in conference committee the week of April 17.

The Senate unanimously passed legislation to allow public hospitals to make investments similar to not-for-profit hospitals. SF 341 (Ingebrigtsen – R – Alexandria) will be considered for passage by the House. 

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

House Rules Committee approves AHCA amendment to establish risk-sharing program

Before the House adjourned for its two-week recess, the House Rules Committee approved by a party-line vote an additional amendment to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that would establish and fund a federal risk-sharing program, which would create a federal insurance pool providing coverage for individuals with serious and expensive medical conditions such as cancer, congestive heart failure and HIV/AIDS. The new federal funding would be intended to subsidize coverage for patients with those serious preexisting conditions, so premiums for healthier patients do not continue to increase.

The AHCA included the Patient and State Stability Fund to allow states to provide financial assistance for high-risk individuals, stabilize individual and small group markets, lower the cost of insurance in the individual and small group markets, create incentives to purchase insurance, promote access to preventive health and dental services and provide assistance for out-of-pocket costs. The amendment would strike the provision that allows states to provide assistance to insurance companies in the individual market that have claims that exceed $1 million and insert the new federal risk sharing program.

The program would provide the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) $15 billion, $1.67 billion annually, starting in January 2018 until the end of the year 2026 to provide payments to insurance companies in the individual market that experience high claims. Beginning in 2020, states have the option to take over operations of the program.

Other than the funding amount, the amendment provides few details about the risk-sharing program. The legislative language directs the CMS administrator to define eligible individuals and conditions that would automatically qualify for automatic enrollment in the program and how insurers would apply for reimbursement from the fund.

The estimated deficit reduction generated by the AHCA would be $135 billion over 10 years, down from the previous estimate of $150 billion with the adoption of the amendment. Additionally, the amendment is expected to have little impact on the number of individuals covered under the AHCA.

The legislative text of the amendment introduced by Freedom Caucus members Reps. David Schweikert (R-AZ) and Gary Palmer (R-AL) is available online.

No deal among House Republicans has been brokered, but some conservative and moderate Republicans have said the amendment is a move in the right direction. House Democrats and Senators in both parties remain opposed to the AHCA.

MHA will continue to advocate for meaningful insurance coverage for all Minnesotans; coverage of all essential health care services; and for enhanced public health insurance program payments to providers to cover costs associated with caring for public program participants. We will continue to work with the Minnesota delegation to protect the interests of Minnesota’s hospitals and the patients they serve.

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

Hospital Quality Star Rating available for preview

Hospitals participating in the inpatient, outpatient and prospective payment system-exempt cancer hospital quality reporting programs can preview their overall hospital quality star rating and other quality data to be added to the Hospital Compare website in July. Hospitals will be able to preview the data through May 5.

The inpatient preview reports, hospital-specific reports and overall hospital quality star ratings will not include Patient Safety Indicator (PSI) results for fiscal year (FY) 2018 due to a PSI software issue, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). As a result, the overall hospital quality star rating for July will be updated using FY 2017 PSI results. CMS anticipates that updated FY 2018 PSI results will be available for the October preview period and incorporated into the October 2017 public release of star ratings.

To access the hospital-specific overall star rating and inpatient and outpatient preview reports, visit the QualityNet Secure Portal. return to top

Don’t miss your chance to participate in the 2017 Summer Health Care Internship Program

Deadline to apply is Friday, April 14

Employer applications are still being accepted for the 2017 Summer Health Care Internship Program (SHCIP). Hospitals, clinics, nursing facilities, home care providers and adult day services facilities are encouraged to participate on behalf of qualified students in their community.

The internship program benefits students by allowing them to explore health care careers and gain experience in a health care setting. The initiative also is a great opportunity for health care employers to become more involved in their communities. 

Up to half of an intern’s wages are reimbursed through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Rural Health and Primary Care. The grant is administered by MHA. The employer application form is available on the MHA website. The application deadline is Friday, April 14, at 5 p.m. 

For more information, visit www.mnhospitals.org/shcip or contact Sarah Bohnet, Summer Health Care Internship Program coordinator, 651-603-3494. return to top

2017 Workforce Planning Tool available online

The 2017 Workforce Planning Tool is now available online for participants to access their unique data and compare it to the statewide benchmark. Developed by MHA in 2016, the Workforce Planning Tool has been upgraded with several new features and analyses to better help members with their workforce planning efforts. We encourage users to provide feedback. If you need help accessing the tool, please contact Bonnie Terveer, data operations assistant, MHA, 651-603-3520.

Through the Workforce Planning Tool, 109 member hospitals provided demographic data on over 78,000 workers across 38 direct-patient care jobs. A statewide summary identifying high-level trends will be available on MHA’s website in May. The data is used to inform members and other stakeholders about workforce trends. We encourage all members to participate, so we can paint the most accurate and valuable picture of our workforce. If you are not yet a participant and would like information on how to join, please contact Nathalie Squire, workforce project manager, MHA, 651-603-3540. return to top

Register for April 20 patient and family engagement webinar

Are you looking for ideas to engage your Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) in meaningful projects? Have you wondered if your PFAC can use Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) results to find a project? MHA will present a webinar on March 20 from 11 a.m. – noon focusing on health care quality improvement and how you can engage your PFACs in projects to improve quality of care. 

During the webinar, participants will identify ways to engage a PFAC to identify project ideas, establish a timeline and come up with measures to gauge success. Participants will also discuss how they identified a person or team to be accountable for patient and family engagement work at their facility and how they overcome the challenge of balancing multiple responsibilities.

This networking webinar of the MHA Community of Patient Partners is open to all leaders, staff and patient partners who are interested in PFAC implementation and management. Participants need to register in advance. To learn more, contact Joy Benn, quality and patient safety specialist, MHA, 651-659-1441. return to top

Patient and family engagement conference to be held May 10

A one-day patient and family engagement (PFE) conference will take place May 10 from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Northfield Hospital conference center. “Partnering with Patients: Expanding Capabilities of Health Care Personnel and Patients/Families” will be the first in a series of regional PFE conferences to provide targeted training, inspiration and networking for hospitals working to build a culture of patient and family engagement and inclusion.

Leadership, providers, staff and patient partners from hospitals with or without an active Patient and Family Advisory Committee (PFAC) should plan to attend. Online registration is now open. To learn more, contact Joy Benn, quality and patient safety specialist, MHA, 651-659-1441. return to top