In this issue
spotlight: Hospitals engage patients and families to improve safety and quality
providing high quality, safe, patient-centered care is paramount. According to
the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), studies show that
providing patient-centered care has a positive impact on patient satisfaction,
length of stay and cost per case. Across Minnesota, hospitals are engaging
patients and their families as essential partners in efforts to continually
improve the quality and safety of care in our hospitals. To create an
environment that reflects these characteristics, hospitals share patient
stories, create patient and family advisory councils and patient safety
committees and task forces, hold focus groups, improve patient education
materials, and in general change the way they view patients and families served
by the hospital. Read more about what Minnesota hospitals are
doing to engage patients and families. return to top
MN ACOs first to earn NCQA's highest grade
Essentia Health and HealthPartners are the first two Accountable
Care Organizations (ACOs)in the nation to receive the National Committee for
Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) highest designation — level 3 ACO
Accreditation. The two organizations were among six early adopters when the
program launched in 2012.
NCQA ACO Accreditation is the first evaluation program to assess organizations'
ability to coordinate and deliver the care expected of ACOs. The program
evaluates whether ACOs:
- Ensure access to and
availability of care.
- Protect patient rights,
- Have a solid foundation of
patient-centered primary care.
- Have the necessary care
management and coordination capabilities.
- Monitor practice patterns and
use performance data to improve quality.
- Use decision support tools to
help patients and providers identify the best care.
- Have necessary stakeholder
participation, structure, contracting and payment arrangements.
To learn more about
NCQA ACO Accreditation, click here. return to top
stigma during Mental Health Awareness Week
Oct. 6-12 is National Mental Health Awareness Week. Stigma
around mental illnesses prevents people from seeking treatment, sometimes for
years. There are a number of ways MHA members can help fight the stigma of
living with mental illness and encourage people to seek treatment.
Participate in the Make it Ok campaign. The campaign, sponsored by
HealthPartners, Regions Hospital, and NAMI MN, aims to break down stigma by
encouraging people to talk about mental illnesses and ask for help.
Host a NAMI in the Lobby event,
in which National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota volunteers
offer information and support in hospital lobbies.
- Host a community speaker living
with mental illness to share his/her experiences.
- Provide information to patients
and staff about living with mental illness.
More ideas can be found on the MHA/NAMI MN hospitals resource guide. return to top
open for business
design will deter Minnesotans from comparing plans
Individuals and small businesses finally got a chance to view
health insurance options on Minnesota's health insurance exchange, MNsure. MHA has
begun reviewing the site to identify any potential issues, concerns or
opportunities for improving the state's health care environment.
One area of concern with the new website is one that that MHA previously urged
MNsure to avoid. Individuals shopping for coverage are unable to estimate their
potential premium subsidies until they create an account with MNsure and
provide detailed personal information.
In December 2011, MNsure provided several prototypes of its website for public comment
(see MHA’s comments). At that time, MHA raised concern that requiring people to
provide information such as a social security number and personal income before
determining whether they want to enroll in coverage will deter many individuals
from conducting the plan comparison and affordability tests necessary to
convince them that coverage is affordable and in their best interests. Instead,
MHA encouraged MNsure to allow individuals to provide estimated income amounts
and see what their net premium costs would be after any available subsidies.
Actual income amounts, social security numbers and other sensitive information
would only be required when they decide to follow through with enrollment.
The MNsure website, however, allows a person to see plans available in a
particular region of the state and the premium costs for those plans, but the
premiums displayed are not adjusted to reflect potentially available premium
subsidies. Consequently, some people will conclude that coverage is
unaffordable for them without understanding that their actual premium costs
might be significantly lower than the amounts displayed. Others might be
curious to find out what subsidies they could get, but then decide to abandon
their research when confronted with the requirement to create an account with
MNsure and provide significant amounts of personal information.
MHA plans to continue a more thorough review of the MNsure website and provide
feedback to MNsure officials in the coming weeks. return to top
submits comments on emergency medical assistance
MHA has submitted comments regarding emergency medical
assistance (EMA) in response to a Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS)
Request for Information (RFI). The RFI sought feedback on ideas for the
creation and funding of a coordinated care program for low-income individuals
who are ineligible for other state or federal programs, such as Medicaid or
MinnesotaCare. Current legislation restricts EMA funding to very limited
services, including cancer care and dialysis.
MHA’s comments highlighted that these low-income patients stay in hospitals for
unnecessarily extended periods of time because there is no funding mechanism to
pay for either their inpatient care or post-hospital care. MHA emphasized that
these community members need the same coordinated care services, such as health
care homes or similar delivery models that coordinate primary, behavioral,
emergency and hospital, post-acute and long-term and dental care, as well as
pharmacy and social services in order to effectively and efficiently manage
their health and reduce overall health care costs.
The RFI is the result of legislation passed in 2013 requiring DHS to identify
alternatives and make recommendations for providing coordinated and cost
effective health care to individuals who meet eligibility standards for EMA or
are uninsured and ineligible for other state public health programs as well as
federal assistance for purchasing insurance on MNsure.
For more information contact Jen McNertney, MHA policy analyst,
651-659-1405. return to top
final DSH rule released
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released an
interim final rule governing the methodology
for calculating adjustments to disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments
in federal fiscal year 2014, which began on Oct. 1. This rule is especially
important this year because it includes the first cuts to DSH payments required
by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
MHA is reviewing the rule and will send individual members their estimated
payment impacts resulting from its formula. MHA and the American Hospital
Association were pleased that CMS corrected a potentially problematic aspect of
a previous rule that would have negatively impacted most prospective payment
system hospitals across the country.
In particular, the previous rule stated that hospitals with fiscal years that
do not coincide with the federal fiscal year might not receive their full 2013
DSH payments until after their next fiscal year. Such a delay could create a
substantial hardship for some hospitals and put them at a competitive
disadvantage relative to other hospitals with fiscal years that mirror the
Instead, the interim final rule clarifies that CMS will settle final DSH
payments on the hospitals' 2013 fiscal year cost report as usual. return to top
proposes revisions to the MN Uniform Companion Guides
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is seeking feedback
regarding proposed revised versions (version 7.0) of the Minnesota Uniform
Companion Guides (MUCGs) for the implementation of certain ASC X12N
transactions. These are the electronic eligibility and billing transactions
routinely conducted between providers and health plans.
These revisions have been vetted through the Administrative Uniformity
Committee, of which MHA is a member. MHA staff and many hospitals participate
along with health plan representatives to develop these common
standards. The proposed changes can be found here. Comments are due by 4 p.m. Oct. 23.
For more information contact Judy Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit http://www.health.state.mn.us/asa/. return to top
opportunity to enhance ability of health systems to address tobacco use
ClearWay MinnesotaSM is seeking proposals from
Minnesota health systems to enhance their ability to address tobacco use. The
focus of this funding opportunity is to advance health systems change to ensure
that tobacco dependence treatment is fully integrated into the continuum of
health care delivery. Data from Minnesota illustrate that there is still
substantial room for improvement in integrating comprehensive tobacco
dependence treatment into routine care.
Links to full RFP along with the required forms for submitting a Letter of
Intent can be found here.
- Letters of Intent are due
Friday, Oct. 18 by 4:30 p.m. Central Time
- Qualified applicants will be
invited to submit a full application. Full applications are due Wednesday,
Dec. 4 by 4:30 p.m. Central Time
Questions about this funding opportunity can be directed to Dean Moritz,
ClearWay Minnesota Cessation Manager, 952-767-1412. return to top
accepted for Rural Hospital Flexibility Program grants
The Rural Hospital Flexibility Program grants
are open for application. Grants will be awarded for up to $25,000 in the areas
of quality improvement, financial and performance improvement, and community
engagement, with a focus on reaching critical access hospitals (CAH), other
rural hospitals, rural emergency medical services (EMS), and organizations
that partner with their local CAH or EMS. Applications are due by Nov. 15. More
information and instructions are available here. return to top