Minnesota Hospital Association


May 18, 2015

MHA Newsline: May 18, 2015

In this issue

Hospital spotlight: Owatonna Hospital increases patient and employee satisfaction

Owatonna Hospital, part of Allina Health, was honored this spring with the 2015 MHA Best Minnesota Hospital Workplace Award in the small hospital category. Owatonna Hospital has worked diligently to instill in its employees that they make a difference in the care of each patient and to reinforce the significance of their work in achieving the hospital's vision. Leadership and staff have worked as a team by implementing improvements that engage staff in owning relationship-based care and nurse-to-nurse bedside shift handoffs. The hospital has employee-led teams that create fun in the workplace and contribute to a positive work environment. And the work is paying off. Patient satisfaction scores have increased to 80.1 percent and employee satisfaction has improved from 54 percent in 2009 to 88 percent in 2013. Read more about Owatonna Hospital and the other 2015 award recipients here. return to top  

MHA’s telemedicine bill passes Legislature

Minnesota is on the cusp of joining almost two dozen states with telemedicine parity laws that help extend access to health care services for patients, decrease the costs of care and help providers meet the growing demands for care in the midst of existing health care workforce shortages. Over the weekend, the Minnesota Legislature passed the Minnesota Hospital Association’s (MHA) Minnesota Telemedicine Act as part of the Health and Human Services Omnibus Finance bill that now awaits the Governor’s signature. Before being incorporated into the Omnibus bill, the telemedicine legislation was authored by Sen. Julie Rosen (R – Vernon Center) and Rep. Tara Mack (R – Apple Valley).   

The final version adopted by the state legislature will prevent health plans from excluding coverage for a service delivered via telemedicine if it otherwise would have been covered if the patient and provider were face-to-face under the patient’s policy. Also, the bill will require health plans to pay for a telemedicine service at the same rate the plan would pay if the service was delivered face-to-face.   

MHA advocated for language requiring payment of a negotiated originating site facility fee if the patient received telemedicine services at a health care facility, which would have held the greatest benefit for providers in rural communities. Strong opposition from health plans and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce dissuaded legislators from including the provision.   

Lawrence Massa, MHA president and CEO, hopes Governor Dayton will sign the bill because “the legislation is an important step for expanding access to care in a time of workforce shortages.” In addition to the strong engagement from MHA members, Massa acknowledged the important support MHA received from the Minnesota Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), HealthForce Minnesota, and the Minnesota Rural Health Association.    

For more information about the Minnesota Telemedicine Act, contact Matt Anderson, MHA senior vice president of policy and strategy, 651-6591421. For information about the Health and Human Services Omnibus Finance Bill, contact Mary Krinkie, MHA vice president of government relations, 651-6519-1465 or Kristin Loncorich, MHA director of government relations, 651-603-3526. return to top     

Minnesota likely to join Interstate Physician Licensure Compact

Both the state Senate and House of Representatives voted unanimously to adopt legislation authorizing Minnesota to join the new Interstate Physician Licensure Compact. The bill is awaiting Governor Dayton’s signature before becoming fully enacted. The Minnesota Hospital Association and Minnesota Medical Association support the bill.   

The Interstate Physician Licensure Compact was developed by the Federation of State Medical Boards to create an expedited process for physicians to be licensed in other states participating in the Compact. The Compact does not decrease or change any state’s standards for licensure, allow a physician to avoid each state’s licensure requirements or practice standards, or alleviate the licensure costs of each state. Instead, if a physician in a state participating in the Compact wants to be licensed in another Compact state, he or she has the option of pursuing an expedited process to become licensed more quickly.   

The Compact also allows participating states the ability to exchange information about disciplinary actions taken against physicians, making it easier for state medical boards to ensure the safety and standards of practice for physicians.   

Six other states, including South Dakota, have enacted the Compact already. Three other states, including Minnesota, are awaiting gubernatorial action to officially adopt the Compact legislation.   

For more information about the Interstate Physician Licensure Compact, contact Matt Anderson, MHA senior vice president of policy and strategy, 651-659-1421. return to top   

Make It OK ambassador training available

May is Mental Health Month, and MHA has been working with HealthPartners, the creator of Make It OK, to amplify the anti-stigma campaign throughout the state. The Make It OK campaign aims to reduce the stigma of mental illness by encouraging open conversations and education on the topic.   

The Make It OK campaign will hold an ambassador training where you can learn more about mental illnesses from experts and learn how to talk about mental illness and stigma. The training is May 27 from 1:30-3 p.m. at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. Click here for more information and to register.   

MHA and HealthPartners held a webinar on how to become a campaign partner. You can access the webinar at MHA’s Member Center. The Make It OK tool kit with resources your hospital can use to amplify the anti-stigma campaign are forthcoming.   

For more information, contact Ashley Gauster, MHA member services and communications specialist, 651-603-3545. return to top

Accountable Health Model Practice Transformation grants now available

Applications are now being accepted for the second round of Practice Transformation grants under the Minnesota Accountable Health Model (AHM). The grant program supports a range of providers and teams in primary care, behavioral health, and social services to allow team members to participate in transformation activities that advance the goals of patient-centered, coordinated and accountable care.   

Practice Transformation supports the broad goals of the Minnesota Accountable Health Model related to providing Minnesotans with better value in health care through integrated, accountable care using innovative care delivery models that are responsive to local health needs.   

$300,000 is available for implementation of up to 15 grants from $20,000-$30,000 per grantee for nine months.   

Eligible applicants include: 

  • Primary care providers including health care homes, rural health providers, federally qualified health centers, or a group of primary care providers seeking to transform their practice to a certified health care home or implement integration of services with behavioral health or social services. 
  • Behavioral health providers working with primary care providers to implement integrated services such as behavioral health homes. 
  • Social service providers working with primary care and behavioral health to implement integrated services; including a community mental health center. 
  • Tribal primary care and behavioral health providers.   

Applications are due June 26, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. A copy of the complete request for proposal may be found on the Minnesota Accountable Health Model website. An optional informational webinar will be held on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am CDT. For questions, click here. return to top

Meaningful Use live chat to answer questions

Hosted by the Lake Superior Quality Innovation Network, a complimentary live chat will answer participant questions about meaningful use, changes to the program, audits and meeting requirements, among other topics.   

Meaningful use project directors, office managers, health IT staff, eligible professionals in the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program and anyone else interested in meaningful use are encouraged to join in. 

The live chat will occur on Thursday, May 28 from noon to 1 p.m.; advance registration is not necessary. To access the live chat, click here on May 28. A user guide has been provided in advance. For questions, contact Marni Anderson, MetaStar, Inc., 608-441-8253. return to top