Minnesota Hospital Association


October 05, 2015

MHA Newsline: Oct. 5, 2015

In this issue:   

Ensuring health care for all: Why hospitals support free clinics

Valerie was self-employed as a contract worker for a large company in Hibbing, working more than full-time as well as helping to raise her grandkids while living with diabetes. Unfortunately, she didn’t qualify for Medical Assistance and, before the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), she couldn’t purchase private insurance because of her pre-existing conditions. Valerie was spending so much out of her pocket on insulin and diabetes supplies that she could barely afford bandages for the three-times-a-day dressing changes she applied to painful leg ulcers, a result of her diabetes.   

With help from Project Care Free Clinic, including insulin and other prescriptions, Valerie is able to afford the supplies she needs. She is on the road to improved health, achieving significant weight loss and managing her diabetes more effectively. That means fewer emergency room visits, fewer days in the hospital and a much better life for Valerie and her family.   

To learn more about Valerie's story and how Minnesota's hospitals are bridging the health care coverage gap, visit the Minnesota's Hospitals: Strengthening Healthy Communities website. You can also interact with this story on Facebook by “liking” the Strengthening Healthy Communities Facebook page and clicking “like” and “share” on the post. return to top    

Minnesota Hospital Association selected to continue improvements in patient safety

Hospital Engagement Networks will continue patient safety improvement efforts in hospitals  
The Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) has been selected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as one of 17 hospital associations and health system organizations in the country to continue efforts in reducing preventable hospital-acquired conditions and readmissions.

Through the Partnership for Patients initiative – a nationwide public-private collaboration that began in 2011 to reduce preventable hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent and 30-day readmissions by 20 percent – MHA will participate in a second round of Hospital Engagement Networks (HEN) to continue working to improve patient care in the hospital setting.    

“We are pleased to continue our work to improve the quality and safety of care of Minnesotans through the Partnership for Patients initiative,” said Rahul Koranne, M.D., senior vice president of clinical affairs and chief medical officer, MHA. “Our Hospital Engagement Network has made tremendous strides toward the partnership’s goals of reducing hospital-acquired conditions and readmissions, as well as reducing harm across the board. Collectively, our 115 participating hospitals have prevented nearly 15,500 patients from being harmed and saved more than $112 million in health care costs. Our selection as a returning participant in the Partnership for Patients will allow us to build on these efforts to make a positive difference in the health of communities statewide.”   

MHA will host two HEN informational webinars on Wednesday, Oct. 7, from 2-3 p.m. and Tuesday, Oct. 13, from 10-11 a.m. to review the program requirements, focus areas, quality measures and data submission dates, program communication methods and mini-grant requests for proposal. Register to attend one webinar by clicking on a link below:  

Thank you to the 68 hospitals that submitted their signed commitment letters. Previous MHA HEN members who have not yet submitted their letter are encouraged to reaffirm their commitment to this important program by signing the commitment letter and including updated patient safety and HEN contact information by email to Susan Klammer, MHA quality/safety project coordinator, or by fax to 651-659-1477. Learn more about MHA’s continuing involvement with HEN on the MHA websitereturn to top 

Hospitals, nursing homes recognized for efforts to vaccinate health care workers against influenza

The Minnesota Department of Health’s FluSafe program completed its fifth year by awarding a record number of blue ribbons to hospitals and nursing homes that vaccinated 90 percent or more of their health care workers against influenza last season.   

For the 2014-15 season, 175 health care facilities participated. Of the 151 facilities that earned ribbons, 70 reached vaccination levels of 90 percent or greater, earning blue ribbons; 51 were in the 80-89 percent range, earning red ribbons; and 30 reached 70-79 percent, earning white ribbons.   

The FluSafe program aims to get all health care workers, except those with medical exemptions, at hospitals and nursing homes in Minnesota vaccinated against influenza each season. Anyone can get very sick from the flu, including people who are otherwise healthy. Unvaccinated health care workers can potentially pass highly contagious influenza to their patients, many of whom are at high risk for complications of influenza. Vaccination helps protect health care workers, their families and their patients.   

FluSafe registration for the 2015-16 season is now open. Facilities can register at Participatein FluSafe. Facilities that completed FluSafe in 2014-15 do not need to re-register but may use the link above to update their contact information, if necessary.   

More information on the FluSafe program, including a list of the 2014-15 facilities earning blue, red and white ribbons, can be found on the MDH website. Questions from new or existing participants may be directed to health.flusafe@state.mn.us. return to top     

Mental Illness Awareness Week is Oct. 4-10

Mental Illness Awareness Week was established by Congress in 1990 to take place the first full week in October. This year, the 25th annual Mental Illness Awareness Week is Oct. 4-10. The week’s theme revolves around building a movement through the new StigmaFree initiative.  

One in five adults experiences mental illness problems every year; however, 50 percent of chronic mental illness begins by age 14 and three-quarters by age 24. Although many people today understand that mental illness is a medical condition, individuals and families affected by mental illness are still often subjected to stigma and discrimination.   

Being stigma-free means learning about and educating others on mental illness; focusing on connecting with people to see each other as individuals and not a diagnosis; and, most importantly, taking action on mental health issues and taking the StigmaFree pledge.   

For more information, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)website. return to top      

MDH medical cannabis meetings continue; new date for Minneapolis meeting

There are still three opportunities left to attend an Office of Medical Cannabis community session. Please note the date change on the Minneapolis meeting.   

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Office of Medical Cannabis is holding a series of community sessions around the state this fall offering members of the public the opportunity to learn more about the state’s medical cannabis program. Participants also will have the opportunity to provide input on the question of adding intractable pain to the list of medical conditions that qualify people to participate in the program.   

  • Tuesday, Oct. 20 5:30- 7 p.m. Bemidji Holiday Inn Express Conference Center 2422 Ridgeway Ave. NW Bemidji, MN 56601 
  • Thursday, Oct. 22 5:30- 7 p.m. Minneapolis Minneapolis Urban League Glover Sudduth Center - Laura Scott Williams 2100 Plymouth Ave. N. Minneapolis, MN 55411 
  • Tuesday, Oct. 27 5:30- 7 p.m. St. Cloud St. Cloud Public Library Mississippi Room 1300 W. St. Germain St. St. Cloud, MN 56301                         

For more information, visit the MDH website. return to top    

NAMI Minnesota state conference Nov. 7

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)-Minnesota will hold its state conference on Saturday, Nov. 7, at the RiverCentre in St. Paul. Dr. Lisa Dixon of the Columbia University Medical Center and comedian Kevin Breel are the keynote speakers. The daylong event features multiple breakout sessions, including a youth track. For more information and to register, visit the NAMI-Minnesota website. return to top    

MNsure advisory committees seeking applicants

Applicants are being sought to fill open seats on the Consumer and Small Employer Advisory Committee and on the Health Industry Advisory Committee.   

The advisory committees provide guidance, advice and recommendations to the MNsure Board as it carries out its mission. MHA members are encouraged to apply for the Health Industry Advisory Committee.   

Applications are due Thursday, Oct. 15. For more information and to apply, visit https://www.mnsure.org/about-us/jobs/advisory-opportunities.jsp. return to top       

Resources for hospitals developing nondiscrimination policies

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization, has queried 1,000 hospitals across the country on their policies regarding LGBT patients, employees and visitors. HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) asks health care organizations whether they meet HRC’s “Core Four” criteria for LGBT patient-centered care:  

  • Patient nondiscrimination
  • Equal visitation
  • Employment nondiscrimination
  • Training in LGBT patient-centered care   

The annual HEI report indicates, for each rated organization, which of the Core Four criteria were met. Organizations that meet all Core Four criteria are awarded the status of “Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality.” 

Resources for developing policies in each of the Core Four areas – including sample policies, guidelines, legal references and definitions – are available on the HRC website. MHA is also seeking example policies from hospitals to share with all members. Hospitals with policies to share should submit them to Wendy Burt, vice president of communications and public relations, MHA, 651-603-3549. return to top    

Minnesota hospitals prepared for ICD-10 implementation

The MHA Finance Committee at its Sept. 30 meeting conducted a roundtable discussion on hospital preparedness for the implementation of ICD-10 beginning Oct. 1. The committee agreed that hospitals were extensively prepared for the change and were equipped to deal with challenges that might arise since there had been two former delays to its implementation.   

Hospitals and health systems began conducting training on ICD-10 well in advance of implementation. To help prepare coding staff for the switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10, many hospitals hired additional staff and practiced dual coding to allow coders to become accustomed to the ICD-10 coding process while still accurately recording information with the previous codes. Hospitals also worked to familiarize physicians and professional staff at all levels of their organizations with ICD-10.  

Committee members said they anticipate that additional bill processing time will be necessary as billing offices and insurance carriers become familiar with the vast number of new codes. Most said they transmitted test files with their payer partners.  In addition, they expect that coding productivity may decline until coding staff have fully adapted to the new system, although they are optimistic that this decline will be offset by no longer dedicating staff time to dual coding. Finally, they anticipate an adjustment period will be necessary to fully acclimate to the new codes used in ICD-10.   

With questions about ICD-10, contact Joe Schindler, vice president of finance, MHA, 651-659-1415. return to top