Minnesota Hospital Association


May 01, 2017

MHA Newsline: May 1, 2017

In this issue 

Lakeview 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 patient.   

“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 patients safe.”   

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   

Sanford 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 Reportreturn to top   

Little 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 midnight.   

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   

Senate 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   

House 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 allowed. 
  • 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 coverage. 
  • Stabilize the health insurance marketplace. 
  • 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   

Regional 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 inclusion.   

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 patient partners.   

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