Minnesota Hospital Association


November 02, 2015

MHA Newsline: Nov. 2, 2015

In this issue:

St. Cloud’s BLEND program partners with schools to reduce childhood obesity

Many healthy practices fall by the wayside as kids get back into the busy school routine. Fast food replaces home-cooked meals because of sports and after-school activities. Sitting all day in classrooms and doing homework means less time for physical activity.

Today’s hectic lifestyle has created generations of people who are unhealthier than the last — and the most recent obesity statistics don’t paint a pretty picture.

In September, it was reported that the obesity rate in Minnesota rose to 27.6 percent in 2014, according to The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America. While Minnesota remains the 15th lowest state for obesity rates, the state was one of five across all 50 states and the District of Columbia to see an increase in obesity rates. If obesity rates continue on their current trajectory, by 2030 the obesity rate in Minnesota could reach 54.7 percent.

This is why Better Living: Exercise and Nutrition Daily (BLEND), staffed and funded by CentraCare Health Foundation, is dedicated to reducing childhood obesity rates in central Minnesota. The program — started in 2006 to reduce the body mass index (BMI) of children by 10 percent by 2016 — is tackling the obesity epidemic by reaching kids at an early age.

To learn more about how BLEND is partnering with schools and the community to impact kids' health, visit the Minnesota's Hospitals: Strengthening Healthy Communities websiteLike the Minnesota’s Hospitals Facebook page to get regular updates on how Minnesota’s hospitals work beyond physical walls to strengthen the health of Minnesotans and our communities. return to top

Sen. Franken holds access to mental health care services stakeholder meeting

Minnesota Senator Al Franken held a meeting with key stakeholders on Thursday, Oct. 22, on access to mental health care services.

Franken was gathering feedback on S. 1945, the Mental Health Reform Act, which will soon have a hearing in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where Franken holds a seat. The group discussed top federal priorities for increasing access to mental health services; stakeholders that should be added to future discussions; and new ideas.

Franken and staff met with MHA and representatives from the mental health community including NAMI-Minnesota, Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs (MACMHP), Minnesota Council of Child Caring Agencies (MCCCA), Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery and Chemical Health (MARRCH) and the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS).

Jen McNertney, policy analyst, MHA, shared some of MHA’s federal action requests for increasing access to services for mental health including:

  • Waive the Medicaid Institute for Mental Disease (IMD) payment exclusion for Minnesota’s large stand-alone mental and behavioral health settings
  • Authorize Medicaid payment for room and board costs associated with mental health intensive residential services
  • Allow Medicare credentialing and coverage of licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed professional clinical counselors and licensed alcohol and drug counselors
  • Address the psychiatrist shortage in part by protecting graduate medical education and indirect medical education funding.
  • Update restrictions on exchanging patient record information between providers.
  • Allow Medicare coverage for telehealth provided in non-rural settings.

For more on MHA’s federal action requests, view MHA’s fact sheet.

There was consensus from the group on changes that should be made to S. 1945 including:

  • The IMD exemption should be 90 days, instead of 30
  • Addressing children’s residential treatment
  • Addressing Medicare’s lack of coverage for community mental health services and the lifetime limit on inpatient behavioral health care

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Congress passes two-year budget agreement that includes cuts to hospitals

Last week the U.S. House and Senate passed a budget agreement that will raise the nation’s debt limit until March 2017 and set spending targets for the federal budget for the next two fiscal years. The cost of the legislation is partially offset by implementing site-neutral payments for new provider-based hospital outpatient departments (HOPD) and extending the 2 percent Medicare sequester for an additional year.

The site-neutral payment policies would cap payment of services in new provider-based HOPDs at the rate paid to physicians for providing services in their private offices. The American Hospital Association provided a frequently asked questions document on its website to help members further understand the definition of a new off-campus HOPD.

Discretionary spending caps will be raised $80 billion above current levels, split between defense and non-defense spending. The agreement also staves off impending increases in Medicare Part B premiums for some seniors.

Minnesota Senators Klobuchar and Franken voted in favor of the measure as well as Minnesota Representatives Ellison, Kline, McCollum, Nolan, Peterson and Walz. Minnesota Reps. Paulsen and Emmer voted against the bill.

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

SAFER Care Action Day webinar to be held Nov. 18

A SAFER Care Action Day webinar be held Wednesday, Nov. 18, from 1-4 p.m. The webinar will highlight resiliency, SSI surveillance, laboratory management, medication therapy management and Critical Access Hospital (CAH) data.

MHA will provide updated rural hospital-specific benchmarking information for most Partnership for Patients topics, in addition to a patient safety comparison of larger hospitals and CAHs. Stratis Health will provide the latest on Minnesota state measures for CAHs. Hospitals will also learn from peers’ implementation of best practices.

Register online to attend the webinar. return to top

MHA Winter Trustee Conference registration opens

Registration is open for the MHA Winter Trustee Conference, which will be held Jan. 8-10, 2016, at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest in Brooklyn Park. This year’s conference will offer participants seven general sessions and 15 breakout sessions on issues of governance, finance, patient safety and the future of health care. Friday will also feature the popular four-hour Training Camp for Rookie Trustees.

For more information or to register, download the conference brochure. return to top

2015 PAC contribution deadline is Dec. 4

MHA members are asked to make their final 2015 MN Hospital PAC contributions by Friday, Dec. 4, to be counted toward 2015 goals. Please make every effort to meet your 2015 hospital goal.

Members are encouraged to involve key management staff and trustees in their fundraising efforts and let them know that any amount they contribute is appreciated. Every donor’s name will be listed in the PAC annual report.

All contributions are voluntary. If you have questions about your hospital PAC goal, please contact Carol Eshelman, PAC coordinator, MHA, 651-603-3539. return to top

Assault Survivor Kits available for hospitals

The Minnesota Hospital Association and the Assistance League of Minneapolis/St. Paul have been partners for more than 20 years in providing Assault Survivor Kits free of charge to hospital emergency rooms throughout Minnesota.

Patients at Minnesota hospitals’ emergency departments who seek care after being sexually assaulted often must give what they are wearing to prosecutors for evidence. The goal of these kits is to comfort victims of sexual assault by providing needed toiletry and clothing items to wear home.

“MHA urges all Minnesota hospitals to order the free kits,” said MHA President and Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Massa. “Hospital emergency rooms are often the first place sexual assault survivors turn for help. We’re proud to be part of this important effort.” 

The Assault Survivor Kits are free to all Minnesota hospitals and contain a t-shirt, sweatpants, socks, underwear, a sports bra and toiletries. To order Assault Survivor Kits for your hospital, please visit the MHA store or contact Sarah Bohnet, MHA, 651-603-3494. Copies of the book “Recovering from Rape” are also provided free of charge to hospitals. return to top

PIPELINE Project dual-training grant applications due Nov. 16

The 2015 Minnesota Legislature provided funding for dual-training competency grants for the Minnesota PIPELINE (Private Investment, Public Education, Labor and Industry Experience) Project in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. The program, administered by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) in collaboration with the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI), will provide grants to train employees to achieve competency standards for a project approved occupation

Dual-training grants can be used toward the cost of providing dual-training-related instruction through partnerships with education and training providers. Employers can apply for grants to help create or expand dual-training programs in the following eligible health care service occupations:

  • Health support specialist
  • Inpatient psychiatric/mental health technician
  • Outpatient psychiatric/mental health technician

Employers must submit completed applications by Monday, Nov. 16. The maximum total grant application is $150,000; the maximum grant award for each employee participating in dual training is $6,000. Grants will be awarded in January 2016 and will be balanced between metro and greater Minnesota needs for each of the four industries.

For more information, resources and planning guides, view the grant application. Please contact the PIPELINE team with questions. return to top