Minnesota Hospital Association


December 15, 2015

MHA Newsline: Dec. 14, 2015

In this issue 

Minnesota leads the nation for health care access, quality and outcomes

Commonwealth Fund ranks Minnesota at top of all dimensions measured
For the second year in a row, Minnesota ranks first in the nation for health care access, quality and outcomes in a report issued Dec. 9 by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that promotes a high-performing health care system and supports independent research on health care issues. 

The report, “Aiming Higher: Results from a Scorecard on State Health System Performance, 2015 Edition,” ranks the health systems of every state and the District of Columbia based on 42 health care measures grouped into five dimensions of performance: access and affordability, prevention and treatment, avoidable hospital use and cost, healthy lives, and equity. Minnesota was the only state that was rated in the top quartile for all five dimensions measured.   

“MHA thanks our hospital and health system care team members for the exceptional care they provide and their prevention efforts," said Lawrence Massa, president and CEO of the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA). "These results tangibly demonstrate once again how Minnesota hospitals and health systems are strengthening healthy communities.”   

View the full report on the Commonwealth Fund’s websitereturn to top   

MHA publishes 2015 value highlights

The Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) works to enhance the ability of members to achieve their missions and goals. MHA annually publishes highlights of the value the association provides members during the year. The 2015 highlights publication is now available.   

View the publication to learn more about how MHA advocates for Minnesota hospitals and health systems, continues to bend the cost curve, leads the nation in patients safety and quality care, communicates Minnesota’s positive hospital and health system story and provides hospital and health system leaders with education and information. return to top   

Rooms sold out at MHA Winter Trustee Conference site

Alternate room block and registration still available  
The MHA Winter Trustee Conference will be held Jan. 8-10, 2016, at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest in Brooklyn Park. For more information or to register, download the conference brochure

While registration for the conference is still available, the conference site has completely sold out of rooms. If you plan to attend the conference and need accommodations, an alternate room block has been set up at the nearby Courtyard by Marriott Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove.   

To book your accommodations, visit the Courtyard by Marriott Arbor Lakes reservation website or contact the hotel at 763-370-4420. return to top   

MN Hospital PAC meets fundraising goal for 2015

Thank you to all of the 2015 MN Hospital PAC contributors. Because of your support, the PAC has met its fundraising goal for 2015.   

We are grateful to the MN Hospital PAC board members for all of their work in 2015. A special thank you to MN Hospital PAC Board Chair Brad Beard, Fairview Southdale Hospital, for his leadership.   

MN Hospital PAC board members include: 

  • Brad Beard, Fairview Southdale Hospital, PAC Board Chair 
  • Deb Boardman, Fairview Range Medical Center 
  • Craig Broman, St. Cloud Hospital 
  • Mary Maertens, Avera Marshall 
  • Michael Mahoney, Essentia Health 
  • Lawrence Massa, MHA 
  • Keith Okeson, LifeCare Medical Center 
  • Dan Olson, Sanford Bemidji Medical Center 
  • Randy Ulseth, FirstLight Health System 
  • Steve Underdahl, Northfield Hospital 
  • Carl Vaagenes, Douglas County Hospital 

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Minnesota cited as leader in telehealth legislation

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) on Dec. 10 issued a new report called “Telehealth: Policy Trends and Consideration” that examines telehealth adoption and barriers in three policy areas: reimbursement of telehealth encounters; licensure for telehealth providers; and patient privacy, safety and security.   

Speaking at the annual NCSL Capitol Forum, Mario Gutierrez, executive director of the Center for Connected Health Policy, cited Minnesota as a leader in telehealth legislation. MHA was instrumental in promoting the passage of the Minnesota Telemedicine act during the 2015 legislative session. The act will facilitate health care providers’ continued adoption and implementation of technology to deliver high-quality patient care in the most accessible and cost-effective ways possible.   

The report also credits Minnesota for adopting the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which creates an expedited process for eligible physicians to apply for licensure in compact states. As leaders on national telehealth issues, both MHA and the Minnesota Medical Association supported the passage of this bill. return to top   

Study of MHA data shows importance of culture of safety

A study published Dec. 9 in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons analyzed MHA survey and outcome data to find that hospital safety culture significantly influences the quality of patient care. Safety culture is the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and values of the individuals on the care team and in the hospital, from leadership to front-line staff.   

The study, “Association of Safety Culture with Surgical Site Infection Outcomes,” is one of the first to evaluate the impact of an organization's teamwork and safety culture on patient outcomes. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine used a cross-sectional sample from MHA to combine safety culture survey data with data on surgical site infections after colon operations during 2013. The study found that overall safety culture and eight other dimensions of better safety culture scores are associated with a lower incidence of surgical site infection after colectomy, or removal of part or all of the colon.   

All Minnesota hospitals are working to enhance safety culture with an ongoing focus on teamwork, communication and resiliency among the care team. MHA encourages hospitals to access resources such as the Alliance for Patient Safety Culture Road Map, which is divided into eight focus areas proven to facilitate the implementation of culture change, and Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety (TeamSTEPPS), an evidence-based set of teamwork tools aimed at optimizing patient outcomes by improving communication and teamwork skills among health care professionals. MHA’s Good Catch for Patient Safety award program also recognizes staff for speaking up to prevent a potential patient safety issue. return to top   

Positive $1.8 billion state budget forecast for FY2016-17

Minnesota Management and Budget released its latest projections of state financial health on Dec. 3. The forecast reflects a very positive economic environment with low unemployment and consistently growing tax collections. One-third of the FY2016-17 balance will be placed into budget reserves to address potential problems that could occur if the economy were to reverse. This is positive news going into the 2016 legislative session. While lower-than-expected health and human services costs produced some of the benefits to the forecast, there is growing concern about the long-term risks of a rapidly growing elderly and disabled population.            

Additional good news for the health care sector is that the Health Care Access Fund (HCAF), a dedicated fund to support low income Minnesotans in the MinnesotaCare program, has experienced lower-than-expected enrollments and overall costs, resulting in a very positive long-term outlook for this fund through 2019.    

For more information, contact Joe Schindler, vice president, finance, MHA, at 651-659-1415. return to top  

Congress passes another delay in enforcement of direct supervision policy

For the second year in a row, federal legislation (S. 1461) to delay enforcement of the Medicare policy requiring direct supervision of outpatient therapeutic services delivered at a hospital passed both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate with broad, bipartisan support. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.   

The direct supervision policy was adopted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) several years ago. It applies to outpatient therapeutic services at all hospitals, but CMS delayed its enforcement for rural hospitals with fewer than 100 beds, including Critical Access Hospitals, for several years. Congress intervened to block its enforcement for those hospitals in 2014, and this year’s bill will delay the enforcement through 2015.   

In addition to supporting the legislation to delay enforcement of the policy, MHA and the American Hospital Association (AHA) have urged Congress to pass the Protecting Access to Rural Therapy Services Act (S. 257/H.R. 1611). The PARTS Act would change the standard from direct supervision to general supervision so other caregivers can continue to deliver outpatient services within their scopes of practice without a physician or certain nonphysician providers immediately available.   

For more information about the direct supervision policy, the PARTS Act or the enforcement delay, please contact Ben Peltier, vice president of legal services, MHA, 651-603-3513. return to top  

Information sessions for 2015 Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative RFP

The Minnesota Department of Health Center for Health Equity will be releasing a new Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Eliminating Health Disparities Initiative (EHDI), a grant program focused on improving the health and well-¬≠being of American Indians and people of color.   

A series of EHDI RFP information sessions are being offered Dec. 15 and 18 to allow potential applicants the opportunity to discuss the RFP and learn about the elements of a successful application. Attendance is recommended but not required for submitting an application.   

For more information and to register, visit the MDH websitereturn to top   

New open appointments for health care-related members of state board

The following state open appointments may be of interest to MHA members.   

The State Advisory Council on Mental Health has two vacancies, including a family physician member. The council advises the governor, Legislature and state agency heads about policy, programs and services affecting people with mental illness. 

The Board of Dietetics and Nutrition Practice has one vacancy for a public member. The board licenses nutritionists and dietitians, investigates violations, conducts hearings and adopts rules. 

The Governor's Interagency Coordinating Council on Early Childhood Intervention has 17 vacancies, including one for a physician representative. The council must address methods of implementing a statewide system of comprehensive, coordinated, multidisciplinary interagency programs of early intervention services for young children with disabilities and their families. 

For more information about these open appointments and to apply, please visit the secretary of state’s websitereturn to top