Minnesota Hospital Association


October 21, 2013

MHA Newsline

In this issue:

Hospital Spotlight: Hand hygiene helps Sanford Jackson dramatically reduce HAIs

Oct. 20-26 is International Infection Prevention Week, drawing attention to the fact that everyone within a hospital plays a role in infection prevention. One way hospitals are preventing infection is by building awareness of best practices for infection prevention. In 2011, all Sanford facilities started a WIPES Campaign to remind staff of key infection prevention steps:

  • Wash/Clean Hands
  • Identify and isolate early
  • Precautions use (use gown, gloves and masks)
  • Environment kept clean
  • Share the commitment, raise your hand

Sanford Jackson Medical Center has also placed an emphasis on hand hygiene monitoring and compliance and has raised its hand hygiene compliance scores from 52 percent to 92 percent, resulting in a dramatic drop in its hospital-acquired infections (HAI). In fact, so far this year the hospital has not had a single HAI. To learn more about Sanford Jackson Medical Center’s efforts to prevent infection, contact Sanford’s Michele Storbeck, RN, infection control preventionist, 507-847-6956. return to top

Hospitals encouraged to participate in project to prevent CAUTI

Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) are the most common type of health care-associated infection. As such, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) identified CAUTI prevention as a national priority through its Partnership for Patients program. Currently, 16 Minnesota hospitals are participating in Cohort 6 of the national On the CUSP: Stop CAUTI. Since beginning in 2011, 79 percent of participating hospital units nationally have reduced CAUTIs or maintained a rate of zero.  

To significantly reduce Minnesota hospitals’ CAUTI rates, more hospitals need to commit to CAUTI prevention. Hospitals are encouraged to join Cohort 7 of On the Cusp: Stop CAUTI. MHA also urges hospitals that have not completed the CHAIN HAI road map and CAUTI gap analysis to do so.  

Contact Karen Olson, MHA patient safety/quality coordinator, for more information on CAUTI prevention opportunities, or if you are interested in joining Cohort 7 of On the CUSP: Stop CAUTI. return to top  

HealthForce Minnesota releases request for proposals for workforce grants

HealthForce Minnesota will award up to $60,000 in grants to advance Minnesota's health care workforce, with individual awards expected to range between $5,000 and $15,000. Proposals are due by noon, Nov. 4.   

HealthForce is interested in proposals that fall under one of three priority areas: leadership in healthcare; employer/educator partnerships; and charting the future - the strategic framework for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Awarded funds will be available in November 2013 and must be spent by June 30, 2014.  

Matching funds are not required but encouraged and proposals must include support by one of HealthForce Minnesota's partners. View the request for proposals details and scoring rubric. return to top 

Communicating observation status for your Medicare patients

When a patient visits the hospital, physicians and caregivers are required to follow Medicare’s specific rules and protocols for designating their status as inpatient or observation. For patients whom a physician determines needs monitoring but does not meet Medicare’s inpatient admission criteria, this can sometimes be confusing.  

MHA reminds hospitals that it is important to clearly communicate a patient’s outpatient observation status to him/her. To help hospitals inform patients of their status, MHA partnered with other key stakeholders to develop a standard consumer-friendly document. This tool was tested with several Medicare beneficiaries to help simplify its language and message.  

If you have any questions about communicating outpatient observation status, contact Joe Schindler, MHA vice president of finance, 651-659-1415. return to top

MHA contributes to birth center study

MHA responded to a request from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to provide input regarding newly licensed birth centers in Minnesota (read the letter). MDH is completing a legislatively mandated study on birth centers.

MHA surveyed its members to better understand the kinds of experiences hospitals and health systems have had since Minnesota began licensing birth centers. Generally, only a handful of hospitals have received patients transferred from a birth center.

MHA’s letter to MDH emphasizes the wide variation that exists in hospitals’ experiences with birth centers. For example, one hospital reported excellent communication with, and timely transfers of, patients from a nearby birth center. Other hospitals report little or no communication or coordination from nearby birth centers, and delayed transfers jeopardizing the safety of the mother and infant.

Based on its members’ feedback, MHA encouraged MDH to include recommendations for statutory changes in its report to the Legislature. These changes would require birth centers to have transfer processes and care protocols developed in conjunction with hospitals as a condition of licensure. return to top

MHA urges state to leverage federal grant for health information exchange

Earlier this year, the State of Minnesota received a $47 million State Innovation Model (SIM) grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In developing the activities that will be funded with the new resources, the state issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input regarding health information technology (HIT) and data needs for delivering more coordinated, higher quality and cost effective care.

MHA responded and emphasized the need for health information exchange (HIE) capacity as a fundamental component of any care coordination or population health initiative (read the letter). To further HIE in Minnesota, MHA asked the state to support legislation to make it easier for health care providers to exchange clinically appropriate patient data for the purposes of care coordination.

MHA also encouraged the state to target the limited grant funding to projects aimed at providing better, more coordinated care to the five percent of residents who incur the greatest amount of health care expenses. By focusing on these “high utilizers,” MHA contended, the state can simultaneously lower total health care spending while improving the quality and outcomes of care for these residents. Because many of these high utilizers cross health care settings from emergency rooms to mental health services and pharmaceuticals, MHA wrote that they represent an ideal group of patients for the grant funding, which is designed to create greater alignment and communication across the continuum of care.

For more information, contact Matt Anderson, MHA vice president of regulatory and strategic affairs, 651-659-1421 or Mark Sonneborn, MHA vice president of information services, 651-659-1423. return to top

Final Medicaid DSH rule released

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final rule governing the methodology for calculating adjustments to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments in federal fiscal years 2014 and 2015. This rule is especially important this year because it includes the first cuts to DSH payments required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  

The final rule’s methodology will apply for only the first two years of the scheduled DSH reductions, which are slated to increase in FY2016 and beyond. In addition, in the final rule CMS does not factor individual state decisions on Medicaid expansion into the calculation for DSH reductions because it does not have sufficient data on the impact of state expansion decisions. Instead, CMS is applying a five-factor formula adjustment including a lower adjustment factor for low-DSH states such as Minnesota. 

MHA will share more detailed information about the actual allotment levels once it is published for 2014. For questions, contact Joe Schindler, MHA vice president of finance, 651-659-1415. return to top

MDH issues FAQ on home care licensing changes

During the 2013 session, the Legislature passed a new law that changes the way the Minnesota Department of Health licenses home care providers (see July 2013 notice: Important notice to MDH licensed home care providers). The current classes of licenses (i.e. Class A,B,C,F) will be replaced by two types of home care licenses: either Basic or Comprehensive. While new home care licensees will begin to comply with the new law beginning Jan.1, 2014, there will be a transition period for existing providers. For more information, please see the MDH FAQ online. return to top  

Hospitals asked to respond to AHA enrollment support survey

Last week, the American Hospital Association (AHA) sent a survey to its hospital members asking for feedback on the activities hospitals are engaged in to help people enroll in the new coverage options that take effect Jan. 1, 2014. MHA encourages you to take a few minutes to complete the survey by Oct. 25 to help AHA better understand hospital enrollment activities. If you have any questions, contact AHA Member Relations, 800-424-4301. returnto top