In this issue
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
signs permanent physician payment reform
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
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
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
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
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