Minnesota Hospital Association


September 04, 2013

MHA Newsline

In this issue:

Hospital spotlight: Fairview Northland a great place to work

Fairview Northland Medical Center in Princeton has paid close attention to creating the kind of environment that promotes both employee and patient satisfaction. Guided by the saying, “Our every day is their once in a lifetime,” Fairview Northland has built a culture that focuses on communication and places a strong emphasis on improving results. Read more about how Fairview Northland earned the small hospital award for MHA’s Best Minnesota Hospital Workplace. return to top  

Get your questions answered about enrolling patients through MNsure

Hospital financial and patient services reps encouraged to attend Sept. 6 program

Don’t forget to join us on Friday, Sept. 6 at the Ramada Plaza in Minneapolis to hear from the experts about enrolling patients in MinnesotaCare and Medicaid through Minnesota’s online insurance marketplace, 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. Susan Hammersten, health care reform program manager, Minnesota Department of Human Services, will join David Van Sant, navigator broker manager, MNsure, in providing 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

Hospitals at risk for additional cuts to reimbursement during upcoming budget and debt ceiling debates

Minnesota hospitals’ ability to maintain our current level of high-quality, low-cost access to care will once again be threatened as Congress faces the looming challenges of passing a fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget and the need to raise the debt ceiling. Congress resumes on Sept. 9 from its August recess and has just nine session days to handle these issues or face a government shutdown.  

The federal FY begins on Oct. 1 and Congress must decide if they will pass a new budget, a continuing resolution which funds the government at current “sequester” levels, or face a government shutdown. In addition, the Treasury Department is expected to announce that a debt-ceiling increase will be needed by the end of October.  

During the Congressional recess, top White House officials are negotiating with Republican Senators in an effort to reach a deal that cuts the deficit, lifts the debt ceiling and funds the government.  

Republican leadership would like to use this opportunity to defund elements of the Affordable Care Act, although neither the Republicans nor Democrats have fully shown their “hand” in this debate.  

As Congress looks for savings, cuts to hospital reimbursement that have been on the table in previous proposals will likely be considered once again. These previously proposed cuts include:

  • reductions in reimbursement for outpatient evaluation and management services;
  • reductions in direct and indirect graduate medical education funding;
  • restrictions in mileage or reductions in reimbursement for critical access hospitals and sole community hospitals;
  • and assistance to low-income Medicare beneficiaries or “bad debt” reimbursement cuts.

MHA staff will be in Washington D.C. in mid-September to meet face-to-face with the health care staff from our delegation to discuss how further cuts to hospitals and health systems could limit patients’ access to care.  

MHA members are also encouraged to reach out to federal lawmakers to discuss the impact of the cuts we are already facing, including the sequester. Hearing first-hand how these cuts have impacted your facility and the patients you serve is one of our most powerful ways to advocate.  

For questions regarding federal advocacy efforts with our delegation, please contact Ann Gibson, MHA vice president of federal relations and workforce, 651-603-3527. return to top  

New study to look at collaborative models for improving community health

Minnesota hospitals and health systems have an opportunity to participate in a new study which seeks to identify, compare and contrast exceptional models of collaborative partnerships involving hospitals, public health departments, and other stakeholders who are committed to improving community health and determine the key lessons learned from their experience.  

The study, which is being sponsored by a coalition including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and supported by the American Hospital Association, will be led by Lawrence Prybil, PhD., LFACHE, at the University of Kentucky, College of Public Health.  

An executive summary of the study can be found on the MHA website here. In particular, the study looks to identify models that demonstrate the core characteristics of successful partnerships outlined on pages 3-4 of the executive summary. Nomination materials to participate in the study can be found at http://www.uky.edu/publichealth/nominationForm. Nominations should be submitted by Sept. 12, 2013. return to top  

Medicaid presumptive eligibility hospital tool kit available

The Affordable Care Act allows hospitals to use “presumptive eligibility” in determining patients’ eligibility for Medicaid. Under the new regulations, hospitals can temporarily enroll patients in Medicaid coverage at the point of service with a few basic pieces of information such as income and household size. This not only will help patients get connected to needed health coverage, but also will help hospitals receive payment for services provided before a full Medicaid determination is made. For more details on Minnesota’s presumptive eligibility rules, see this July 29 Newsline article.

To help hospitals get started and learn more about making presumptive eligibility determinations, Enroll America has developed a web-based tool kit. Enroll America is a nonpartisan organization whose mission is to enroll uninsured Americans in available health coverage. Click here to access the tool kit.

The American Hospital Association has also developed a new website, www.aha.org/getenrolled, with resources on ways hospitals can get involved in health insurance outreach and enrollment. return to top

96 Minnesota hospitals recognized for high flu vaccination rates

The Minnesota Department of Health recently recognized hospitals and nursing homes for achieving high levels of vaccination rates among their employees for the 2012-13 influenza season. A total of 106 hospitals participated in MDH’s FluSafe program and 96 achieved vaccination rates of at least 70 percent. Among the 2012-13 hospital participants, 31 reached vaccination levels of 90 percent or greater, earning blue ribbons; 35 were between 80-89 percent, earning red ribbons; and 30 were between 70-79 percent, earning white ribbons. Check out the full list of ribbon-earning hospitals.  

Information on how to participate in FluSafe for the 2013-14 influenza season will be available soon. return to top  

First Contact video, form fields online

The Minnesota Board on Aging (MBA) has posted a video of the recent First Contact Road Show meetings on its website. Those who were unable to attend the meetings in person can watch the videos to receive the information.  

In addition, MBA will be posting the First Contact referral form fields online to allow providers to incorporate these fields into their electronic medical records system and help streamline the process at discharge. The fields will be available this week on the MBA website.  

First Contact is the new hospital discharge protocol for adults discharged to a Medicaid-certified nursing home, including swing beds. The protocol is scheduled to be implemented Oct. 1. For more information, click here. return to top  

Normandale College offers workforce training in health IT

The need for health information technology (HIT) professionals is at critical mass for hospitals due to federal and regulatory requirements that are driving software, hardware and many other IT and business needs. Normandale Community College offers a six-month Health IT Training program (100 percent online) designed to give students the knowledge, skills and critical thinking to work as an HIT professional within healthcare, IT, insurance, pharmacy, medical device, allied health and other related industries that utilize health information systems for electronic medical records and health information exchange. So far, more than 450 health IT professionals have completed this program and are helping with HIT needs for providers across the state.  

An information session will be held Sept. 11 at Normandale College and the next cohort begins Sept. 23. To learn more about the program and how you can train in Health IT, visit www.MNHealthIT.com. return to top  

ECHO Minnesota seeks input from health professionals

ECHO Minnesota has provided various multilingual resources about health and safety to the health community since 2004. With the insight of public health professionals, the cultural and linguistic knowledge of ECHO’s Bilingual Ambassadors, and the expertise of medical professionals from various cultural backgrounds — ECHO has been able to create relevant, needed and helpful multilingual multimedia materials to help Minnesotans be healthy, safe and ready.   

You are invited to complete ECHO’s “Service Provider Survey” to ensure multilingual health education materials are created for our community. Your opinions are anonymous and your input is important.  

ECHO encourages you to also forward the survey to friends and colleagues and invite them to share their feedback and suggestions. The survey deadline is Sept. 30. A summary of results will be shared with survey participants this fall. return to top