Minnesota Hospital Association


September 16, 2013

MHA Newsline

In this issue:

Hospital spotlight: Children’s reduces medication errors, improves safety for patients

Earlier this year, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota received the MHA Patient Safety Improvement Award in the large hospital category. Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota incorporated virtually all medications, including infusions, into a first-of-its-kind full-loop medication delivery system that has helped avert potential medication errors and potentially serious adverse drug events and has advanced patient safety throughout the hospital. In 2012, Children’s completed a pilot study in its pediatric intensive care unit showing the technology reduced adverse drug events by about 70 percent.

Please take a few minutes to watch this inspiring video and learn more about what makes Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota a leader in patient safety.


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Four new events to be reported to Adverse Health Events system beginning in October

In May, the Legislature added four new events to the list of reportable events under the Adverse Health Events law to reflect revisions adopted by the National Quality Forum. These changes affect events that occur on or after the start of the next reporting year on Oct. 7, 2013. The four new reportable events are:

  1. Death or serious injury of a neonate associated with labor or delivery in a low-risk pregnancy while being cared for in a health care setting.
  2. The irretrievable loss of an irreplaceable biological specimen (with or without injury).
  3. Patient death or serious injury resulting from failure to follow up or communicate laboratory, pathology or radiology test results.
  4. Death or serious injury of a patient associated with the introduction of a metallic object into the MRI area.

In addition, three events were deleted and minor definitional changes were made to others. The Minnesota Department of Health has prepared a fact sheet highlighting the changes. MHA has been working with MDH, Stratis Health and the Registry Advisory Council to develop definitions and guidance around the new events. An informational webinar/teleconference is scheduled for Oct. 1 from 2-3 p.m. The definitions and guidance will be sent to primary patient safety contacts and registry users and will be available on our website and in the registry toolkit. Below are details on how to join the webinar:

  1. Dial 1-800-791-2345
  2. When prompted enter the teleconference code: 19524
  3. Go to www.telspan.com/express
  4. Enter the conference reference code: 397826
  5. Enter the conference code: 31470
  6. Enter your name and click “Join Meeting”

If you have any questions about the Adverse Health Event reporting system, contact Julie Apold, MHA senior director of patient safety, 651-603-3538. return to top  

MNsure resources available for hospitals

Open enrollment for Minnesota’s health insurance exchange, MNsure, begins Oct. 1, 2013. MHA wants to help all of our members respond to the questions that patients, families and communities will be asking. MHA also wants to help ensure that as many Minnesotans as possible enroll in coverage so our patients, communities, hospitals and health systems get as many benefits as possible from additional coverage.  

We’ve developed two documents we hope will be helpful for hospitals that are participating in MNsure’s Consumer Assistance Partnership program AND those that are not participating at this time. These have also been posted on our website homepage.

Please share widely with your employees to help prepare them for their interactions with patients. Research shows that one of the following four messages will reach 89 percent of consumers:

  • All plans must cover the care you need, including doctor visits, hospital stays, preventive care, prescriptions, and more.
  • Low-cost and free plans are available, and financial help is available based on how much money you make.
  • No one can be denied coverage because they have a pre-existing condition.
  • There is no sales pitch or fine print, just side-by-side comparisons of each plan.

If you have any questions about MNsure, please contact Matt Anderson, MHA vice president of regulatory and strategic affairs or Jennifer McNertney, MHA policy analyst. return to top

CMS to host call on exchange outreach strategies

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will host a Sept. 19 teleconference on “Outreach and Education Best Practices for the Health Insurance Marketplace,” which will feature health coverage strategies from Arkansas, Connecticut, Kentucky and Minnesota. To participate in the teleconference, from 12-1 p.m. Central Time, register online. return to top

MHA staff shares key messages on budget, protecting CAHs and priority bills during visits with congressional staff

Last week in Washington, D.C., MHA’s senior staff met with the health care staff of Minnesota’s members of Congress. MHA covered key messages on the federal budget; the Office of Inspector General (OIG) report recommendations for critical access hospitals (CAHs); regulations regarding a 90-day grace period when individuals miss premium payments after purchasing a subsidized health plan through a health insurance exchange; and priority bills for which we are seeking co-sponsors.  

MHA staff outlined our opposition to cuts that are under consideration in the following programs: graduate medical education; CAHs; outpatient and evaluation management services; and Medicare bad debt payments.  

MHA requested that our members of Congress sign onto a Minnesota delegation letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to oppose recent recommendations by the OIG that could devastate the rural health care delivery system in Minnesota. Sen. Klobuchar led the letter and Sen. Franken and Reps. Walz, McCollum, Peterson and Nolan all showed their support for Minnesota’s CAHs.  

MHA staff briefed staff about a new CMS regulation which only requires health plans to pay for the first thirty days of the 90-day grace period when individuals miss premium payments after purchasing a subsidized health plan through a health insurance exchange leaving providers at risk for the remaining 60 days.  

View a complete list of MHA’s priority bills and cosponsors-to-date here.  

For more information on MHA’s work with the Minnesota Congressional delegation please contact Ann Gibson, MHA vice president of federal relations and workforce, 651-603-3527. return to top  

DEED announces grant for foreign trained health care professionals to earn state licensure

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has announced the availability of funding to help foreign trained health care professionals earn state licensure in their profession — $427,500 of funding is available in state fiscal years 2014 and 2015. Interested parties may apply for a one time allocation of up to $250,000. The deadline to submit applications is 4 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013.  

The goal of this project is to help foreign trained health care professionals, including physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, mental health professionals, and other allied health professionals overcome barriers and earn the state licensure necessary to practice their profession in Minnesota as well as contribute to better health care delivery for all Minnesota communities.  

The RFP can be downloaded here. For more information, email Ryan.Merz@state.mn.us. return to top 

New online mental health provider resource available

Fast-Tracker, an online mental health resource site, is available. Mental health providers, care coordinators and consumers can go to www.fast-trackermn.org to search for community mental health providers and information with a real-time, searchable directory of mental health resources and their availability within Minnesota. Fast-Tracker provides a companion service to the Minnesota Mental Health Access (mnmhaccess.com), the online service offered by MHA and DHS that provides information on available acute care and community based mental and behavioral health services. return to top  

Hospital employee flu vaccine protects patients, staff

Hospitals encouraged to join FluSafe

Last year, 73 percent of Minnesota hospitals participated in the Minnesota Department of Health’s FluSafe program, which aims to vaccinate health care workers against influenza. MHA’s board has a goal to have 100 percent of hospitals participate in this voluntary program that improves patient safety.

Participants in FluSafe receive statewide recognition for achieving 70, 80 or 90 percent vaccination rates among staff (see last season’s ribbon-earning hospitals). Facilities that did not participate last year can register for the 2013-14 influenza season by going to www.mdhflu.com and clicking the FluSafe link in the right-hand column. If your hospital participated last year, you will automatically be registered for this upcoming flu season. Changes to your hospital’s information can be made on the registration form or by contacting Jennifer Heath, MDH FluSafe coordinator. Visit the MHA website for resources to help communicate about FluSafe and influenza vaccination for health care workers. return to top

CMS releases final rule on Medicaid DHS payment reduction

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) has released its final rule on payment reductions for the Medicaid Disproportionate Share (DSH) program. The final rule provides a methodology for reducing rates nationally by $500 million in fiscal year 2014 and $600 million in fiscal year 2015; a future rule will include the reduction methodology for fiscal year 2016 and beyond. The rule establishes separate DSH reduction pools for low-DSH states and non-low DSH states. The Affordable Care Act required CMS to consider the following when creating the methodology:

  • Low DSH states receive smaller reductions.
  • States with lowest percentages of uninsured individuals receive larger reductions.
  • States that do not target their DSH payments to hospitals with high volumes of Medicaid beneficiaries receive larger reductions.
  • States that do not target their DSH payments on hospitals with high levels of uncompensated care receive larger reductions.
  • States that have increased coverage under section 1115 demonstrations as of July 31, 2009, and adjusted their DSH allotments will have these adjustments taken into account. 

Minnesota is a low DSH state with one of the nation’s lowest uninsured rates. In addition, Minnesota has taken advantage of the opportunity to expand eligibility for Medicaid to 133 percent of poverty.  

DSH payments are made to hospitals that serve high proportions of low-income individuals. DSH payments are reduced in the Affordable Care Act to account for the expected reduction in uncompensated care due to the expansion of Medicaid and online insurance exchanges like Minnesota’s MNsure. For questions, contact Joe Schindler, MHA vice president of finance, 651-659-1415. return to top