Hospital staff member receives Minnesota Hospital Association’s Good Catch for
Patient Safety award
Robert Litchy recognized for speaking up to prevent potential
adverse health event
A Lakeview Hospital
MRI technologist has received the award that recognizes hospital professionals
who demonstrate their commitment to keeping patients safe by speaking up to
prevent a potential patient safety issue.
Robert Litchy accepted the quarterly Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) Good
Catch for Patient Safety award at a presentation on April 28.
While Litchy performed an MRI safety screening interview with a patient prior
to conducting an MRI of the cervical spine, he uncovered that the patient had
previously had metal removed from his eye. The patient thought he had received
an MRI since the removal of the metal, but Litchy wanted to verify using the
patient’s electronic health record (EHR).
A review of the patient’s EHR revealed a previous CT scan of the head that
included views of the eyes, confirming that metal remained in the eye area.
After review from the on-duty radiologist, the MRI was canceled immediately and
the ER physician was notified.
Litchy’s persistent action stopped a procedure that might have risked the
patient’s eyesight. Because of Litchy’s attentive work, no harm came to the
“It is because of actions taken every day by dedicated professionals like
Robert that Minnesota hospitals continue to be front-runners in patient
safety,” said MHA Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety Tania Daniels.
“Robert’s efforts remind us what a difference each person can make to keep
The Good Catch for Patient Safety program recognizes hospital professionals for
actions that protect patients. Individuals seeking to nominate an employee or
team for the award can visit the MHA website to complete a nomination form.
For more information, visit the MHA website or contact Tania Daniels, 651-603-3517, or Dr. Rahul Koranne, MHA’s chief medical
officer, 651-659-1445. return to top
Thief River Falls offers comprehensive behavioral health services
In 2012-13, a formal community health needs assessment was
conducted in the Thief River Falls area. Community stakeholders identified
mental/behavioral health as the top priority. Seeing the need for more and
enhanced services, Sanford Behavioral Health Center in Thief River Falls and
its community board of directors worked together on implementation strategies
to address the behavioral health needs in the community.
One of the first priorities was to increase the number of beds for the
inpatient psychiatric facility. In 2014, after Sanford Thief River Falls
Medical Center moved to a new campus, its former campus was remodeled to expand
the inpatient psychiatric facility from 10 to 16 beds. Sanford Behavioral
Health Center in Thief River Falls currently serves as the only freestanding
behavioral health hospital and primary provider of inpatient psychiatric
services for northwest Minnesota. Sanford Thief River Falls employs
psychiatrists, psychologists and 86 other behavioral health staff.
Sanford Behavioral Health Center in Thief River Falls was designed with the
distinctive patient populations for behavioral health in mind. There is a
general pod of eight beds, a high acuity pod of four beds and a flex pod of
four beds. A sensory room offers a safe and comfortable environment for
patients to relax and work on their coping skills. Furniture on the unit was
supplied from a vendor that specializes in safety for psychiatric facilities.
The décor offers natural light, a healing environment color palette and open
space for activities and dining.
Visit the MHA website to learn more and read the full 2016 Community Benefit Report. return to top
improvement in HHS budget target
Last week, the House and Senate released joint spending targets
for the state budget. MHA was disappointed that leadership in the House and
Senate are proposing to cut over $500 million dollars from health and human
services spending for fiscal years 2018-19. This target number improved very
little from their originally proposed budget cuts. The conference committees
are expected to finish work on the spending bills early this week. MHA
urges members to continue to advocate for no cuts to provider payments
and full funding for hospital rebasing.
Legislative leaders asked the governor to join with them in negotiations to
release final spending targets by May 4. Once the governor and legislative
leaders agree on spending targets, negotiations on the final budget bills will
begin. The legislative session is scheduled to end on Monday, May 22, at
Public hospital investment
bill becomes law
Last week, Gov. Dayton signed legislation to allow public hospitals to invest
in a variety of investments similarly to Minnesota’s nonprofit hospitals. MHA
wants to thank Carl Vaagenes, CEO of Douglas County Hospital, and the bill’s
authors, Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria) and Rep. Mary Franson
(R-Alexandria) for their work on this legislation, as well as the other public
hospital leaders who expressed support. This legislation, now Chapter 18,
is effective Aug. 1, 2017.
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.
Advocacy resources available
MHA offers resources to help members prepare for conversations with
legislators. Visit the MHA Member Center and read MHA’s latest advocacy
alerts. If you have questions about your legislative advocacy efforts, please
contact MHA’s grassroots coordinator, Karin Johnson.
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 Ashley Beno, member services and
communications specialist, 651-603-3545. return to top
Bonding Committee considers key mental health investments
At the Senate Capitol Investment Committee last week, Sen. Dave
Senjem (R-Rochester), committee chair, asked his colleagues to commit the
needed resources to address mental health issues in Minnesota. The testimony
also included information from stakeholders about the collaboration that has
been developing to address the problems with access to mental health services
in regions around the state.
SF 2159 is a bill calling for the development of permanent supportive housing
for people with mental health needs. These bonds would be administered though
Minnesota’s Housing Finance Agency. Currently the bill calls for spending up to
$50 million in bonding.
A second bill, SF 2161, calls for the development of two regional behavioral
health crisis facilities. The bond applicant would be a county, and these
facilities would be designed to screen and assess patients at these locations.
Currently the bill calls for spending up to $30 million in bonding.
A third bill, SF 2086, specifically calls for a Carver County mental health
regional residential crisis stabilization facility.
Each of these bills was laid over for possible inclusion in the Senate’s
Capital Investment Bill. MHA supports these initiatives and will assist the
stakeholder groups involved in trying to get these important provisions
included in a bonding bill this year. return to top
Republicans propose amendment to AHCA
House Republicans have proposed an amendment to the American
Health Care Act (ACHA). The amendment would allow states to waive certain
Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance rules and consumer protections. The
amendment does not make changes to the underlying AHCA. The AHCA’s Medicaid
reform proposal and repeal of the Medicaid expansion would remain in place.
Under the amendment, states could apply for waivers that would allow them to:
- Beginning in 2020, establish
state-specific essential health benefit (EHB) standards, meaning insurers
would not be required to cover the ten EHBs required under the ACA,
including maternity care and mental health services or prescription drugs.
- Beginning in 2018, waive the
community rating rules with respect to age, under which insurers are
currently capped at charging older consumers three times more than what
they charge younger consumers; under the AHCA, a 5:1 ratio would be
- Beginning in 2019, waive the 30
percent premium penalty for individuals who fail to maintain continuous
coverage and instead allow insurers to medically underwrite the premiums
for such individuals, which may enable insurers to charge individuals with
pre-existing conditions significantly more.
To be eligible for a waiver, states would need to identify one
or more of the following goals:
- Reduce average health coverage
premiums in the state.
- Increase enrollment in health
- Stabilize the health insurance
- Stabilize premiums for
individuals with pre-existing conditions.
- Increase the choice of health
plans in the state.
It is being reported that the amendment is still short of the
216 votes needed to pass the House. A House floor vote on the ACHA and the
amendment have not been scheduled.
MHA maintains its position of opposing the ACHA and 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 House delegation
and Sens. Klobuchar and Franken 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
PFE workshops to be offered starting May 10
MHA is holding patient and family engagement
(PFE) workshops in each of the non-metro regions of Minnesota over the next 12
months. These PFE events are designed to provide nuts-and-bolts training,
inspiration and networking for hospitals working to improve the patient
experience and to build a culture of patient and family engagement and
The first event is planned for Wed., May 10, at the Northfield Hospital
conference center, located in MHA Region 6. This will be the first in a series
of regional PFE workshops planned for health care leaders, providers, staff and
The May 10 workshop will feature a presentation by Dr. Summer Allen from the
Mayo Clinic titled “Patients as Partners – A Movement Toward Careful, Kind
Care.” The workshop is designed for hospitals with or without an active patient
and family advisory council (PFAC).
There is no charge for the event but registration is required. Lunch will be
available for $10. Online registration is
open. To learn more, contact Joy Benn, quality and patient safety
specialist, MHA, 651-659-1441. return to top