Minnesota Hospital Association


January 11, 2016

MHA Newsline: Jan. 11, 2016

In this issue 

Strengthening the spine and core limits concussion effects

When it comes to brain injuries, there’s no predicting what the outcome or prognosis will be, but this daily challenge is why Rachel Winthrop loves her job.   

As a community liaison with the HealthEast Concussion Clinic at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, Winthrop educates community members, primary care doctors and athletes to detect and treat concussions. “I’m out there trying to make sure that people understand what a concussion is and where you should go for help,” said Winthrop. “Let’s recognize it so that athletes know when to tell their parents or coach.”   

Studies have shown that among young athletes, football, ice hockey and girls’ soccer are the sports in which concussions occur most frequently. In Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health found that for sports with both male and female teams, females had higher rates of concussion. This fact made HealthEast Care System staff like Winthrop look at the abundance of concussion research and ask, “Why do girls playing soccer experience more concussions than boys playing the same sport?”   

HealthEast’s care teams found supporting evidence that concussed athletes tend to have necks with smaller circumferences than athletes who withstand contact sports without receiving concussions. Leading researchers think perhaps because young women tend to have necks with smaller circumferences than those of young men, they may have less strength to absorb the force that comes with a blow to the head.   

Visit the Minnesota’s Hospitals: Strengthening Healthy Communities website to learn more about how HealthEast Care System is helping young women who participate in sports prevent concussions.   

Like 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   

Rice Memorial Hospital CMO selected to serve on CMS panel

Dr. Kenneth Flowe, chief medical officer (CMO) of Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar, was selected to serve on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment.   

The 15-member panel will advise the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the administrator of CMS on two areas: 

  • The clinical integrity of the Ambulatory Payment Classification (APC) groups and their associated weights, which are major elements of the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) 
  • The appropriate supervision level for hospital outpatient services to ensure an appropriate level of quality and safety for delivery of a given service, as described by a Healthcare Common Procedure Code System (HCPCS) code. 

Flowe will offer the advisory panel an essential perspective thanks to his understanding of the complexities of providing care and access to patients in a rural community. As a member of MHA’s Chief Medical Officer Group, Flowe will gather input and feedback from MHA members through that group to share with the advisory panel.   

“We are pleased with Ken's selection to be on this important CMS advisory panel,” said Dr. Tim Sielaff, chief medical officer of Allina Health and chair of MHA's CMO Group. “Our CMO Group will continue to actively pursue appointments like this to ensure that Minnesota’s clinical leaders are represented on national decision-making bodies, both in order to learn from experts across the nation and also to share the innovations we are spearheading in Minnesota.”   

In addition to serving as CMO at Rice Memorial Hospital, Flowe is also a practicing emergency physician and medical director of the hospital’s Emergency Department. return to top   

AHA Task Force on Ensuring Access in Vulnerable Communities to hold field hearings

The American Hospital Association (AHA) Task Force on Ensuring Access in Vulnerable Communities is working to confirm the characteristics of vulnerable rural and urban communities and identify strategies and federal policies to help ensure access to care in these areas.   

AHA will hold three field hearings across the country to gather member feedback on the following topics: 

  • Characteristics and parameters that define vulnerable rural and urban communities 
  • Emerging strategies, delivery models, payment models and best practices for providing health care services in rural and urban communities 
  • Federal policy issues that impede, or could help create, an appropriate climate for transitioning to a different payment model or model of care delivery 

The dates and locations for the first two field hearings are: 

  • Wednesday, Jan. 27, at the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport from 2:30-5 p.m. 
  • Tuesday, Feb. 9, at the Arizona Grand Hotel in Phoenix from 1:30-4:15 p.m. (Note: this hearing will be held during the AHA Health Forum’s Rural Leadership Conference.) 

The third field hearing will be held in March in Atlanta. More details related to that field hearing will be available in the near future.   

MHA is monitoring the activities of the AHA task force and encourages members to participate in field hearings to share their perspectives, concerns and suggestions. Register online to attend a field hearing. With questions, contact Joe Schindler, vice president of finance, MHA, 651-659-1415. return to top   

New open appointments for health care-related members of public entities

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

The Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Advisory Council is seeking one person with training or interest in drugs other than alcohol. The council advises the commissioner of human services on matters of policy and funding for the prevention and treatment of chemical dependency.   

The Minnesota Board on Aging has a vacancy for one member. The board develops, coordinates, evaluates and administers federal and state funds for programs for the aging; makes grants to seven area agencies on aging and nonprofit agencies; and serves as an advocate for older persons.   

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

DHS adds telemedicine to provider manual

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has updated its Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) provider manual to include requirements to comply with the new Minnesota Telemedicine Act.   

Effective Jan. 1, 2016, Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare cover expanded telemedicine services in fee for service. According to the new law, Prepaid Medical Assistance Program (PMAP) plans must cover telemedicine services beginning Jan. 1, 2017. Until 2017, PMAP plans may choose whether to cover these services. Payment is allowed for real-time interactive audio and video telecommunications as well as “store and forward,” or the transmission of medical information to be reviewed at a later time by a physician or practitioner at a distant site.   

Providers cannot be reimbursed without completing the Provider Assurance Payment Statement for Telemedicine. MHA members are encouraged to complete this statement as soon as possible if they have not already done so. The updated manual is available online.   

The Minnesota Telemedicine Act was a top legislative priority for MHA in 2015 and will lead to increased access to care for Minnesotans across the state. With questions, contact Jen McNertney, policy analyst, MHA, 651-659-1405. return to top