Minnesota Hospital Association


January 12, 2015

MHA Newsline: Jan. 12, 2015

In this issue 

2015 legislative session gets underway

The 89th session of the Minnesota Legislature began on Tuesday, Jan. 6. There are 26 new legislators and the Republicans now control the Minnesota House of Representatives. The House and Senate both introduced their priority bills last Thursday. The Senate Democrats are focusing on disaster funding, tuition-free two-year college programs, loan forgiveness for physicians and other health care professionals that agree to practice in rural areas, the child protection system, and free universal preschool for four-year-olds. The House Republican majority unveiled their priority legislation focused on business tax cuts, MNsure reforms, environmental permitting reforms, teacher seniority, transportation, and scholarship opportunities for newly hired nursing home workers to help them pay down their student loan debt as well as loan forgiveness for certain health care professionals.

Legislative hearings will begin this week
On Tuesday, Jan 13, at 2:45 p.m., the House will hold a joint meeting of the Health and Human Service Reform and Health and Human Service Finance committees for the purpose of an overview of the Minnesota Department Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). On Wednesday, Jan 14, at noon the Senate Health Policy committee will hold a hearing on the MDH report on Health Equity and get an update on Ebola and influenza from the agency. At 2:45 p.m. the House HHS Reform Committee and HHS Finance Committee will hold a hearing on an overview of MinnesotaCare and Medicaid. On Thursday, Jan. 15, at 12:45 p.m. the House HHS Finance Committee will receive an overview of the Health Care Access Fund. 

For a complete list of 2015 legislative bills MHA is tracking, visit the Member Center. For assistance accessing the Member Center, please contact Ashley Gauster, MHA member services and communications specialist, 651-603-3545. return to top   

MHA welcomes new directors to its Board

MHA welcomes several new members to its Board of Directors. MHA is governed by a 30-member board of directors representing hospital leaders from across the state, including nine standing directors, five at-large directors, six regional directors, five trustee directors and five ex-officio and officer directors. The board establishes and implements policies and decisions to advance the delivery of health care and health care policy in Minnesota and on the national level. Thanks to the following new directors for their commitment to advancing health care in Minnesota:   

Regional Directors
Region 1
Dan Olson
Sanford Bemidji Medical Center   

Region 2
John Fossum
Chief Executive Officer
Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital   

Region 5
Bryan Lydick
Chief Executive Officer
Redwood Area Hospital, Redwood Falls   

Standing Directors
Robert I. Bonar, Jr., Dr.H.A.
Chief Executive Officer
Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, Minneapolis

Kenneth D. Holmen, M.D.
President and CEO
CentraCare Health, St. Cloud   

David Herman, M.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Essentia Health, Duluth   

Daniel B. McGinty
Executive Vice President, Hospital & Specialty Services
Allina Health, Minneapolis   

At-Large Directors
Kathryn D. Lombardo, M.D.
President Olmsted Medical Center, Rochester   

Randy Ulseth
Chief Executive Officer
FirstLight Health System, Mora 

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Sens. Klobuchar and Franken and Rep. McCollum ask HHS to expeditiously distribute Ebola preparedness funding directly to Minnesota hospitals

Sens. Klobuchar and Franken and Rep. McCollum submitted requests to Secretary Burwell at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for swift distribution of Ebola preparedness funding to Minnesota hospitals.   

At the discretion of the HHS Secretary, Congress allocated $576 million for Ebola-preparedness efforts, including those by hospitals. The agency is expected to release guidelines for distribution in mid-January.   

Sens. Klobuchar and Franken and Rep. McCollum highlighted that four of the 35 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Ebola Treatment Hospitals are in Minnesota. In their letters, they outlined the significant costs that these hospitals have incurred and additional training, equipment and planning that will be ongoing. In fact, Minnesota’s four designated hospitals have already spent roughly $1 million each.   

The American Hospital Association estimates that non-designated hospitals have also incurred, on average, $40,000 each as they prepare to detect, isolate and initially care for suspected Ebola patients.   

Sens. Klobuchar and Franken and Rep. McCollum asked Secretary Burwell to consider how this time-sensitive funding can be effectively distributed to ensure continued preparedness for the patients and communities served by Minnesota hospitals.   

In addition, they requested flexibility for state agency funding so that each state can allocate money where it is needed most. Read Sen. Franken’s letter here. Read Sen. Klobuchar and Rep. McCollum’s letter here.   

New PPE resources  
The Minnesota Department of Health has developed a video demonstrating one sequence for donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE) suitable for evaluating a patient for Ebola in an ambulatory setting. The video incorporates CDC recommendations as well as input from APIC-MN. View the video here.   

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance to help hospitals determine how much PPE stock they should have on hand. The guidance builds on CDC’s three-tiered approach (frontline hospitals, assessment hospitals and treatment hospitals), and recommends that frontline hospitals have enough PPE on hand for 12-24 hours of treatment. In Minnesota, the four designated hospitals are serving as both the assessment and treatment hospitals. All other hospitals are expected to serve as frontline hospitals. Considerations for U.S. Healthcare Facilities to EnsureAdequate Supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Ebola Preparedness. return to top  

Federal government approves Minnesota’s Basic Health Plan waiver

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Minnesota’s request for a waiver that recognizes the MinnesotaCare program as the state’s Basic Health Plan (BHP) under the terms of the Affordable Care Act. With this approval, Minnesota becomes the first state in the nation with a BHP.   

MinnesotaCare is a subsidized insurance program for low-income Minnesotans who do not qualify for Medical Assistance (Medicaid). Over 80,000 Minnesotans are enrolled in the program.   

The Legislature made changes to MinnesotaCare in 2013 with the intent of bringing it into compliance with BHP requirements. Therefore, with those laws in place and the waiver approved by CMS, no additional MinnesotaCare program changes will be needed this legislative session to secure greater federal support.   

Transitioning MinnesotaCare to the state’s BHP means the program’s funding will change. The federal government will provide Minnesota with 95 percent of what individuals enrolled in MinnesotaCare would have received had they received advanced premium tax credits to purchase private insurance on MNsure. However, because of how the “95 percent of subsidies” is calculated and the projected total costs of MinnesotaCare coverage, Minnesota may need funding sources, such as the Health Care Access Fund, the General Fund, or other revenue sources to cover the remaining costs of the program. Any such state expense will be less than the amount Minnesota currently spends on MinnesotaCare coverage.     

For questions, contact Jennifer McNertney, MHA policy analyst, 651-659-1405. return to top  

Inpatient care for incarcerated individuals now covered by MA

Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, the Medical Assistance (MA) program covers inpatient hospital stays for individuals who are incarcerated in local or state correctional facilities. Inpatient hospital stays will be reimbursed through MA fee-for-service. Legislation passed in 2013 that moved these health care costs from counties to the state. Previously, many hospitals contracted with counties to provide inpatient care to individuals incarcerated in local correctional facilities. For more information, including how to bill for these services, see the Department of Human Services provider update. return to top   

Bill would remove 96-hour certification requirement for CAHs

The Critical Access Hospital Relief Act (H.R. 169), legislation that would remove the 96-hour physician certification requirement as a condition of payment for critical access hospitals (CAH), has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Medicare requires physicians to certify that patients admitted to a CAH will be discharged or transferred to another hospital within 96 hours for the CAH to receive payment for the patient’s services under Medicare Part A. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has not historically enforced the requirement, but in guidance related to its two-midnight admissions policy implied that it will — a situation that would threaten patients’ access to longer care when needed. The legislation would not remove the requirement that CAHs maintain an average annual length of stay of 96 hours, nor affect other certification requirements for hospitals. 

Minnesota’s Reps. Tim Walz, Collin Peterson and Rick Nolan supported the legislation in the last Congress and Sens. Klobuchar and Franken were cosponsors of the Senate version. The legislation is supported by the American Hospital Association, and MHA will make a request that our delegation sign onto the bill. 

For questions, contact Ann Gibson, MHA vice president of federal relations and workforce, 651-603-3527. return to top   

Hospital leaders earn certification

Sixteen hospital trustees from across Minnesota were recognized for earning certification through the Minnesota Hospital Association’s trustee certification program. The comprehensive certification process prepares hospital trustees to effectively meet the growing demands of serving on a hospital board and to be strong health care and community leaders.     

By participating in MHA’s voluntary certification program, hospital trustees receive training on current health care trends; governance best practices; ethics; government regulations; patient safety; and quality. Participants undergo 35 hours of coursework, making Minnesota’s initiative the most comprehensive in the nation. Following are the newly certified trustees: 

Community Memorial Hospital, Cloquet 

  • Alvin Alm 
  •  Steven Vopat, M.D. 

Cook Hospital & C&NC 

  • Eric L. Pederson 

District One Hospital, Faribault 

  • Julie Olson 

Essentia Health St. Mary’s Hospital-Detroit Lakes 

  •  LaVerne Moltzan 

Hendricks Community Hospital Association 

  • Allen R. Molascon 

Lakewood Health System, Staples 

  • Larry Lundblad 
  • William I. Mennis, M.D. 

Ridgeview Medical Center, Waconia 

  • Stanley R. Bandur 

RiverView Health, Crookston 

  • Susan Westrom 

Sanford Bemidji Medical Center 

  • Glen Lindseth 
  • Bruce Meade 
  • Dean Thompson 

Swift County-Benson Hospital 

  • Brian Samuelson 

United Hospital District, Blue Earth 

  • Roger W. Hanson 
  • Melanie Humburg  

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Open appointments available for health care providers

There are new opportunities for hospitals and other health care providers to participate in the policy-making process by joining a state task force. The following entities are seeking provider participants:

  • Governor’s Task Force on Broadband 
  • Maternal and Child Health Advisory Task Force 
  • Subcommittee on Children’s Mental Health 

Hospital and system representatives are encouraged to apply for these appointments. For more information and to apply, visit the Secretary of State website. return to top   

Check your inbox for MHA 2015 directory survey

Hospital CEOs, their administrative assistants and associate members should watch their email inboxes for the MHA 2015 Membership Directory survey.   

MHA annually updates contact information of senior leaders and key contacts within hospitals, health systems and associate member companies to ensure the MHA database is accurate, up-to-date and that communications reach the appropriate contacts.     

Please complete the survey and return by Friday, Feb. 20 to Ashley Gauster, MHA member services and communications specialist, 651-603-3545. return to top   

DHS issues reference lab payment provider update

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has published a provider update regarding payment for reference and outside labs under Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) fee-for-service.   

For dates of service on and after Jan. 1, 2015, MHCP fee-for-service will no longer pay a provider for laboratory services that the provider sent to a reference or outside laboratory. Outpatient hospitals, provider-based clinics, and independent laboratories are exempt until July 1, 2015. MHA will continue working with DHS to make the exemption permanent.   

For more information, contact Joe Schindler, MHA vice president of finance, 651-659-1415. return to top