Minnesota Hospital Association


July 13, 2015

MHA Newsline: July 13, 2015

In this issue 

Member spotlight: George Gerlach earns Courage Award for dedication to quality caregiving

The Bruce and Denise Rueben Courage Award recognizes an organization or individual who has demonstrated great courage in their actions on behalf of Minnesota's hospital patients and their families. For nearly 30 years, George Gerlach has dedicated his life to providing quality health care to the Granite Falls area and has been deeply involved in the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) and other organizations such as Medi-Sota to extend quality health care across the region and the state.   

George began his professional career as a patient caregiver starting as an orderly in the National Guard and as a registered nurse, before becoming a hospital nursing supervisor. While he ultimately advanced his career to the position of hospital and nursing home chief executive officer and administrator, his focus remains on patient-centered care. George is a strong advocate for rural health care in Minnesota and provides leadership support for the Comprehensive Advanced Life Support program, the hospital's trauma designation, and telemedicine/telestroke to ensure his community has access to high-quality care.   

George has been instrumental in driving the new nursing home project for the Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and Manor to realize the vision of providing a continuum of care from birth through senior care. Learn more about the MHA awards on MHA’s websitereturn to top   

State councils have openings for health care providers

Three state advisory councils and one work group are seeking representation from health care providers. Hospital and health system representatives are encouraged to apply for these positions to ensure provider voices are included in this aspect of the policy-making process.   

The Health Services Policy Committee, also known as the Health Services Advisory Council, advises the commissioner regarding health services pertaining to the administration of health care benefits covered under the Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare programs. The committee has openings for the following providers:  

  • One licensed physician who represents a health plan currently under contract to serve medical assistance recipients 
  • One licensed physician actively engaged in the practice of medicine in Minnesota 
  • One non-physician health care professional licensed or registered in their profession and actively engaged in the practice of their profession in Minnesota 
  • One licensed physician specialist actively practicing their profession in Minnesota 

The Opioid Prescribing Work Group (OPWG) is charged with recommending to the commissioner the components of the statewide opioid prescribing improvement program, including criteria for opioid prescribing protocols, sentinel measures, educational resources, and quality improvement thresholds and provider disenrollment standards for opioid prescribers and prescriber groups. The work group has openings for the following providers: 

  • One licensed physician actively practicing in Minnesota and registered as a practitioner with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 
  • One licensed pharmacist actively practicing in Minnesota and registered as a practitioner with the DEA 
  • One licensed nurse practitioner actively practicing in Minnesota and registered as a practitioner with the DEA 
  • One licensed dentist actively practicing in Minnesota and registered as a practitioner with the DEA 
  • Two non-physician licensed health care professionals actively practicing in Minnesota and whose practice includes treating pain 
  • One licensed or registered mental health professional actively practicing in Minnesota and whose practice includes treating patients with chemical dependency or substance abuse 
  • One member of the Health Services Policy Committee (also known as the Health Services Advisory Council) 
  • One medical director of a health plan company doing business in Minnesota 
  • One pharmacy director of a health plan company doing business in Minnesota 

The Spinal Cord and Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council is established to develop criteria for evaluating and awarding research grants, review research proposals and make recommendations by Jan. 15 of each year for purposes of awarding research grants and perform other duties as authorized by the Commissioner. The following health provider or medical school representatives are sought: 

  • One Mayo Medical School representative 
  • One University of Minnesota Medical School representative 
  • One neurosurgeon 
  • One Hennepin County Medical Center representative 
  • One Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Center representative 
  • One Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare representative who is a physician specializing in the treatment of spinal cord injury 

The Registered Naturopathic Doctor Advisory Council seeks one licensed physician or osteopath with expertise in natural medicine and five registered naturopathic doctors residing in Minnesota.   

To learn more and apply, visit the secretary of state’s websitereturn to top   

MDH clarifies hospital construction process and bed licenses

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) issued an information bulletin to notify hospitals of a clarification of the construction review process with respect to hospital bed licenses. According to the new process, “MDH no longer requires a list of compliant bedroom space throughout the licensed facility when bedroom space is lost.”   

Previously, when MDH reviewed a hospital construction project it would ask a hospital to forfeit any bed licenses that exceeded the number of physical rooms that complied with all construction and code requirements for an inpatient hospital bed. In other words, the hospital completing the construction project could not continue to hold licenses for “licensed but unavailable beds” in addition to its licenses for “licensed and staffed beds” and “licensed and unavailable but not staffed beds.” The department’s clarification conforms the construction review process to recognize the fact that many hospitals have held and paid for “licensed but unavailable beds” since the Legislature enacted Minnesota’s hospital construction moratorium.   

MHA asked the department to revisit its process after members who forfeited licenses and those who were considering new construction projects expressed concerns. Lawrence Massa, MHA’s president and CEO, commended the department for listening to these concerns and taking steps to clarify the process going forward. “This issue certainly isn’t as high profile as our work together on Ebola preparedness,” said Massa, “but it is another example of the importance of having open lines of communication so we can make sure that the agency and our providers understand the regulatory environment and processes in play.” return to top   

SANE shadowing program

The Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA) is sponsoring a shadowing program for trained sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE), particularly those from greater Minnesota. This is an opportunity for SANE-trained nurses to keep their skills honed by observing seasoned SANE nurses in the metro area. MNCASA has limited funds for travel and lodging expenses. For more information visit MNCASA’s websitereturn to top   

PAC golf tournament Monday, Aug. 24

Registration is now open for the Minnesota Hospital Association Political Action Committee golf tournament. The tournament will be held 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. Contact Carol Eshelman, PAC coordinator, 651-603-3539 to register. return to top