In this issue:
Earlier this year, MHA
named Karen Brill of Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare the recipient of
this year’s Spirit of Advocacy Award. Karen lent her
knowledge and expertise from 26 years as a nurse to further legislative outcomes
during the 2013 session that will ensure staffing decisions remain with the
state’s hospitals and health care professionals. As chair of MHA’s Nurse
Staffing Steering Committee, Karen mobilized nurse leaders to oppose the House
and Senate bills supporting government‐mandated nurse
staffing ratios. In addition to Karen’s work with MHA, she has championed
numerous safety and quality initiatives at Gillette Children’s Specialty
Healthcare as the vice president of nursing and patient services. return to top
In a letter to
Minnesota’s congressional delegation, MHA voiced strong opposition to the U.S.
Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) report that
recommends that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) seek
legislative authority to remove necessary provider critical access hospitals’
(CAHs) permanent exemption from the 35-mile distance requirement.
Prior to January 2006, states had the discretion to designate hospitals that
did not meet the distance requirement as “necessary provider” CAHs. At least 40
states, including Minnesota, created their own mileages requirements. If
necessary provider status was eliminated, approximately 75 percent of CAHs
would be impacted nationwide. In Minnesota, only eight of our 79 CAHs are more
than 35 miles from the next nearest hospital.
MHA, along with the American Hospital Association, continues to strongly
advocate for maintaining the current CAH program. Both organizations have
expressed that the OIG report demonstrates a lack of understanding of how
health care is provided in rural America. The CAH program provides essential,
high-quality access to care for Medicare beneficiaries living in rural areas.
The OIG report inappropriately focuses on potential savings Medicare could
realize with mileage restrictions, instead of the needs of individual
MHA plans to reinforce these messages with our delegation during in-person
meetings with the health care staff in September. Members are encouraged to
speak with members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation while they are home
in their districts during the August recess.
Please contact Ann Gibson, vice president, federal relations and workforce, MHA
at (651) 603-3527 with any questions. return to top
health insurance exchange, is developing a Consumer Assistance Partners (CAP)
program to help residents enroll in state public programs and subsidized
commercial health plans. MNsure expects to have additional information and
details soon for hospitals, health systems and other community organizations
that applied to participate in the CAP program.
MNsure will provide CAP program applicants, including more than 60 members of
the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA), with the ability to create a roster
of designated staff who will be trained and certified as navigators, in-person
assisters or certified application counselors. After the rosters are submitted,
those designated staff members will receive login passwords and instructions to
access on-line training modules, which are projected to be available later this
month. Although the training modules are still in development, MNsure estimates
that the training required for certification will take an individual 15 to 20
hours to complete.
On Friday, September 6, David Van Sant, who is leading the effort to develop
and launch the CAP program for MNsure, will be the featured speaker at an MHA conference (see below for more information).
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and patient services reps encouraged to attend Sept. 6 program
health care reform program manager, Minnesota Department of Human Services, has
been added as a speaker on enrolling patients in MinnesotaCare and Medicaid at
the Sept. 6 MHA event on MNsure.
Beginning Oct. 1, Minnesota's hospitals and health systems will play important
roles in helping our patients enroll in state public programs and new
subsidized coverage options through Minnesota's new Health Insurance Exchange.
Hammensten will join David Van Sant, navigator broker manager, MNsure, who will
provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date information available about how
hospitals and health systems will fulfill these roles. Other trainings from
MNsure are expected to be web-based and not in-person, so MHA urges your
attendance at this program.
The program is designed for CEOs, CFOs, financial counselors, business office
managers, social workers, patient services and government relations officers.
The program begins at 10 a.m. at the Ramada Plaza in Minneapolis. Please share
this information with the relevant people within your organization and
encourage them to attend. Click here to register. return to top
MNsure has released proposed rules that would govern how people
can appeal eligibility, coverage and subsidy decisions made by MNsure. In
response, MHA has submitted recommendations for changes and improvements to the
appeals process before MNsure finalizes the rules.
Some of the changes suggested by MHA include extending the window for filing an
appeal from 90 days to 120 days to give lower-income residents more time to get
legal advice and navigate the appeals filing process; allowing people who win
their appeals to receive retroactive coverage or subsidies; and imposing some
limits on the discretion of the MNsure board to reject the recommended
decisions from appeals examiners who reviewed the testimony, evidence and legal
arguments submitted by the parties.
MHA expects that MNsure will finalize the rules governing its appeals process
before October 1. For more information about the proposed rules, contact Matt Anderson, MHA vice president of regulatory & strategic affairs,
651-659-1421. return to top
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that federally subsidized
health plans give enrollees a 90-day grace period before dropping their
coverage for failing to pay premiums. In its final rule implementing this
provision of the law, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
requires those plans to pay for care and services during the first 30 days of
the grace period, but it allows plans to withhold payment to providers pending
the payment of premiums during the last 60 days of the grace period. As a
result, health care providers will have a considerable amount of new financial
risk associated with services and treatment provided during the last two months
of the grace period unless the rule is changed.
MHA, the Minnesota Medical Association (MMA) and the Minnesota Medical Group
Management Association (MMGMA) are submitting joint letters to CMS and to
Minnesota’s congressional delegation objecting to the final rule and proposing
alternative solutions to be adopted.
MHA, MMA and MMGMA suggest that the rule be changed to require the federal
government to continue paying its subsidies toward a portion of the premium
during the 90-day grace period, so the health plan would continue to receive a
significant portion of its expected monthly revenues, and to require the health
plan to continue to pay for care received during the 90-day grace period.
Another suggestion put forward by provider groups from Missouri -- and
supported as a less desirable alternative by the three Minnesota associations
-- would change the CMS rule to require health plans to deliver eligibility
information, including whether an enrollee is in a grace period, to providers
electronically within 20 seconds in most cases.
For more information about the CMS rule or for a copy of the associations’
joint letter, contact Matt Anderson, MHA vice president of
regulatory & strategic affairs, 651-659-1421. return to top
Minnesota hospitals participating in the RARE Campaign have
prevented 5,441 readmissions, resulting in 21,764 more nights of sleep at home
for patients. These results are from 2011 through the first quarter of 2013.
The RARE Campaign continues in 2013 with the goals to:
- Prevent an additional 2,000
avoidable readmissions in 2013 for a total of 6,000;
- Continue to make progress
toward our goal of reducing the percentage of avoidable readmissions by 20
- Help Minnesota residents sleep
in their own beds 8,000 more nights this year, for a total of 24,000 more
nights in their own beds; and
- Save an additional estimated
$20 million in health care expenditures.
To learn more about
the RARE Campaign, visit www.rarereadmissions.org.
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MHA Annual Meeting
attendees are invited to the Chair’s Reception and Minnesota Hospital PAC
Silent Auction on Wednesday, Sept. 18 from 8-10 p.m. at Madden’s in the Town
Hall Conference Center, lower level.
MHA is also seeking donation items from members and associate members to be
auctioned to raise money for the PAC which supports MHA’s advocacy efforts.
Suggested items to donate include: tickets to events, hotel stays, gift
certificates, spa visit certificates, art work, gift baskets, golf outings —
anything that you would like to bid on at a silent auction.
Deadline for donations is Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The Minnesota Hospital PAC is
a voluntary, bipartisan political action committee PAC that raises campaign
funds for candidates running for state and federal office in Minnesota. It is
the voice for hospital advocates seeking to help candidates who support the
goals of hospitals.
Please contact Kristin Loncorich, MHA director of government
relations, 651-603-3526 with questions and to donate items. return to top
Department of Health Office of Rural Health and Primary Care is taking
applications for the Rural Hospital Planning and Transition Grant Program. The
program helps small hospitals (50 or fewer beds) preserve or enhance access to
health services through planning or implementation projects. The grant program
supports small hospitals in: (1) developing strategic plans for improving
access to health services, or (2) 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. Applicants may apply for grants of up to $50,000, and
approximately $300,000 is available in the program as a whole.
Applications are due October 11, 2013. Application forms and guidance are
available on the Office of Rural Health & Primary Care (ORHPC) web site at:
For more information, contact Will Wilson, MDH, Office
of Rural Health and Primary Care, at (651) 201-3842. return to top
MHA members are asked
to provide examples to the American Hospital Association (AHA) of how your
organization’s services and/or programs will be negatively affected by further
Medicare and Medicaid cuts. Examples can be shared at www.aha.org/accessexamples.
Industries, organizations and interests compete for the attention of lawmakers,
and one of the most effective ways to ensure that the voice of the hospital
community is heard is to make the issues real and personal. When Congress
resumes in September, attention will quickly turn to passing a fiscal year 2014
budget and addressing the deficit. Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement
for hospitals will once again be on the table.
AHA and MHA will be strong advocates for protecting hospitals’ ability to
continue providing critical services and programs to their patients and
communities. To accomplish this, we will need to support our message with
specific examples of how federal budget cuts have impacted your services.
For questions regarding MHA’s federal advocacy efforts, please contact Ann Gibson, vice president, federal relations and workforce, MHA at 651-603-3527.
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The MHA board of
directors met over two days in Minneapolis to lay the groundwork for a new
three-year strategic plan.
MHA’s membership provided input through a member satisfaction survey,
environmental assessment, and focus groups. Advocacy and in-depth expertise in
issues concerning health care reform and helping members harness the power of
data to improve care quality and population health emerged as some of the key
strategic priorities for the association.
The MHA board will continue to develop and refine a strategic plan over the
next several months. return to top
NAMI Minnesota is offering mental health
certification training for staff working in adult foster care facilities. The
training is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the
University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center in
St. Paul. This mental health certification training meets the seven hours of
annual training as required under the law. The $75 registration includes lunch
and materials. Legislation passed in 2012 provides adult foster care providers
with the option of becoming certified in mental health; it is not mandatory.
For more information see https://adultmhfostercaretraining.eventbrite.com.
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