Minnesota Hospital Association


April 20, 2015

MHA Newsline: April 20, 2015

In this issue 

House omnibus budget bill includes elimination of MinnesotaCare

A key provision of the House Health and Human Services omnibus budget bill, H.F. 1638, which was released late last week, eliminates MinnesotaCare as the Basic Health Plan and replace it with tax credits to purchase commercial coverage on MNsure. The bill also includes the Minnesota Telemedicine Act, supported by MHA; funding for critical access hospitals; nursing home payment reform; 5 percent increases for home and community-based services waiver providers; and primary care residency grants.   

A proposal requiring hospitals to inform patients when they are on observation status and to provide information about long-term care options at discharge is part of the legislation as well. The bill also has a number of mental health initiatives, including: additional funding to increase access to crisis services; defining crisis services as emergency services to ensure insurance coverage; creation of and some funding for psychiatric residential treatment facilities for children with mental illnesses; a 2.5 percent increase for chemical dependency treatment providers; and moving toward a new service for people needing withdrawal management from alcohol or drugs.   

The Senate is expected to release their version of the omnibus bill Monday, April 20. For a complete list of 2015 legislative bills MHA is tracking, visit the Member Center. For assistance accessing the Member Center, contact Ashley Gauster, MHA member services and communications specialist, 651-603-3545. return to top   

President signs permanent physician payment reform

Significant hospital cuts avoided and extensions of crucial programs included
Last Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation to repeal the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula for physician payments under the Medicare program, and the president signed it into law on Thursday. Both Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken voted for the bill. 

About $70 billion of the roughly $210 billion cost of replacing the SGR is offset by reductions to payments to providers and structural changes to the Medicare program; the remainder would not be offset. 

MHA weighed in with our congressional delegation and joined a Health Care Quality Coalition letter to Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid in support of the bill. The legislation was also supported by the American Hospital Association.   

Unfortunately, there are some hospital payment cuts included as an offset even though Medicare already pays less than the cost of delivering services. The final bill, however, rejected a number of options that were considered as offsets such as reductions to hospital outpatient services; cuts to Graduate Medical Education; cuts to critical access hospitals; and cuts to certain services in rehab hospitals. The final bill also did not include a much talked about further delay in the ICD-10 program. 

Several extensions of important programs were included in the bill, such as: the Children’s Health Insurance Program; the Medicare Dependent Hospital program; rural low-volume adjustments; the rural ambulance add-on; and the partial enforcement delay on Medicare’s two-midnight policy.   

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

Grants for employers to help integrate emerging professions

Last week, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Office of Rural Health and Primary Care released a request for proposals for the Emerging Professions Integration Grant Program. Awards will be up to $30,000 each for up to five grant projects.   

Eligible applicants include organizations that have the capacity to employ a community health worker, community paramedic, dental therapist, or advanced dental therapist.   

Examples of potential eligible organizations include:  hospitals, clinics, ambulatory services, health care providers in a cost sharing arrangement, nonprofits, educational settings, mental health centers, dental offices, senior centers, faith-based programs, nursing homes, local public health programs, group homes, inpatient mental health facilities, and human services programs, including substance use disorder treatment programs.   

Proposals must be received by 4 p.m., Friday, June 12, 2015. For more information contact Kay Herzfeld, MDH, 651-201-3846. return to top  

Trends in health care philanthropy at upcoming foundation education program

MHA is offering a full-day education program for health care foundation professionals on July 21. The program will feature education sessions and roundtable discussions on topics such as engaging physicians in foundations, legal issues in philanthropy, board development and engagement, and adapting to health care reform.   

The program will be held at the Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West in Plymouth. Click here for the full programbrochure. For more information, visit MHA’s website; login, click on “Calendar of Events” and select the program title to register. return to top   

PAC golf tournament scheduled for Aug. 24

Registration is now open for the Minnesota Hospital Political Action Committee golf tournament. The tournament will be held on Monday, Aug. 24 at Territory Golf Club in St. Cloud. Lunch will be served at noon, shotgun start at 1 p.m., with a dinner buffet and awards to follow at 5 p.m. Please contact Carol Eshelman, MHA division assistant, 651-603-3539 for information and to register. return to top