Minnesota Hospital Association


December 04, 2017

MHA Newsline: Dec. 4, 2017

In this issue 

Minnesota releases new opioid prescribing guidelines

Joined by health care providers and state health experts including MHA and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), Lt. Gov. Tina Smith on Dec. 1 announced new guidelines designed to cut the risk of opioid addiction. The new guidelines were developed by a work group made up of health care providers and community partners and will help doctors and other health care providers decide when to prescribe these powerful painkillers, how much to prescribe and how to monitor their use.   

The new guidelines, currently in draft form, aim to curb the number of unnecessary opioid prescriptions for acute pain and promote effective alternatives, encourage careful monitoring of prescription opioid use and encourage compassionate care for chronic opioid users to help them to decrease opioid use over time.   

The new guidelines were developed collaboratively by the Opioid Prescribing Work Group, a group of physicians, pharmacists and consumer and law enforcement representatives, as well as staff from DHS, the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. Public input was solicited throughout the development of the new guidelines. Now that these draft guidelines have been released, a 30-day public comment period begins.   

“The guidelines being rolled out today put in place consistent, statewide recommendations for all health care providers who prescribe opioids,” said Dr. Rahul Koranne, chief medical officer, MHA. “Minnesota hospitals and health systems are working to decrease both the amount of opioids prescribed and the variation in prescribing among health care providers. We are ready to work with DHS to implement these guidelines to achieve those goals.”   

To learn more, view the press releasereturn to top   

DHS provides updated link to Mental Health Innovation Grant RFP

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) on Nov. 27 issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a qualified grantee to improve accessibility and quality of community-based outpatient mental health services and reduce admissions to and stays beyond medical necessity in regional treatment centers and Community Behavioral Health Hospitals. The RFP was publicized in the Nov. 27 issue of Newsline.   

After publication, DHS updated the link to the RFP. The RFP is now available here.   

Responses to the RFP are due no later than 4 p.m. on Jan. 8, 2018. Instructions for submission are outlined in the RFP.   

A RFP responders’ conference will be held Dec. 6 at 1:30 p.m. at the Elmer L. Anderson Human Services Building, Room 2333, 540 Cedar Street, St. Paul, MN 55155. Attendance is not mandatory but is recommended. Responders may attend via conference call; contact Amanda Calmbacher, Mental Health Division, DHS, 651-503-4050, for more information.   

To learn more, visit the DHS website or contact Amanda Calmbacher, 651-503-4050. return to top   

Senate approves Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The Senate approved its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by a vote of 51-49. The Senate-passed bill differs from the legislation approved by the House on Nov. 16. The differences between the Senate- and House-passed bills will be reconciled before final passage. Republican leadership aims to send the final tax bill to President Trump for his signature by the end of the year.    

The Senate bill, like the House bill, would amend the tax code to eliminate the ability of nonprofit hospitals to execute tax-exempt "advance refundings" of outstanding tax-exempt bonds. However, unlike the House-passed bill, the Senate legislation would not eliminate the tax exemption for private-activity bonds (PABs), including qualified 501(c)(3) hospital bonds.   

MHA and some Minnesota hospitals urged the Minnesota delegation to oppose the repeal of tax exemption for PABs in the final tax bill. Rep. Tom Emmer joined over 60 House Republicans in signing a letter to House and Senate leadership opposing the repeal of the tax exemption for PABs. MHA encourages hospitals in the sixth district to thank Emmer for working to protect hospital access to a vital source of low-cost capital. Hospitals in Minnesota’s second and third districts are encouraged to contact Reps. Jason Lewis and Erik Paulsen, urging them to ask leadership to exclude the tax-exemption repeal from the final tax bill.   

Other differences between the Senate and House legislation include the Senate bill’s provisions to repeal enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate, effectively repealing the mandate, and provisions to reduce the itemized deduction for medical expenses from 10 percent to 7.5 percent of income for two years. The House-passed bill would eliminate the deduction for medical expenses. return to top   

MHA joins efforts to prevent 340B Program payment cuts

MHA has joined the amicus brief filed in support of the American Hospital Association’s lawsuit to prevent the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from reducing payments under the 340B Drug Pricing Program. In its hospital outpatient prospective payment system final rule, CMS said Medicare payments to certain hospitals that participate in the 340B Program will be cut by approximately 28 percent beginning on Jan. 1, 2018.   

Additionally, MHA has asked the Minnesota delegation to cosponsor HR 4392, which would prevent the significant reduction in Medicare Part B payments for many hospitals that participate in the 340B Program. Rep. Collin Peterson has signed on as a cosponsor of the bipartisan legislation. The bill will not move through Congress as a stand-alone bill, but if there is wide congressional support it could be included in the end-of-the-year legislation package. return to top   

Minnesota Board of Pharmacy reviews supply shortage issues

The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy at its Nov. 29 meeting reviewed issues related to shortages of saline and other medical supplies manufactured in Puerto Rico, as a result of Hurricane Maria’s damage to Puerto Rico’s electrical, communications and transportation systems.   

Dr. Rahul Koranne, chief medical officer, MHA, shared information regarding mitigation and conservation strategies being implemented by Minnesota health system pharmacists, as well as concerns from hospitals and health systems.   

Cody Wiberg, Pharm.D., executive director of the Board of Pharmacy, asked that the board consider exercising enforcement discretion under specified conditions during this shortage situation. The board agreed by full consensus to support this request.   

More information will be forthcoming from the Board of Pharmacy. MHA members are also collaborating with the Minnesota Department of Health to address the shortage situation. MHA will continue monitoring developments and communicate any additional information with members. return to top