Minnesota Hospital Association


January 18, 2016

MHA Newsline: Jan. 18, 2016

In this issue 

Sideline support: Caring for concussions at Minnesota high schools

Concussion statistics are alarming: 

  • An estimated 3.8 million concussions occur in the United States every year; 
  • 3,000 sports-related concussions occurred among Minnesota high school students in the 2013-14 school year; and 
  • 1 in 5 high school athletes will sustain a sports concussion during the season. 

That’s why Minnesota’s hospitals are working collectively to prevent, detect and treat concussions on and off the sidelines.   

“There is new information every day regarding concussions, so we’re constantly adapting our treatment and applying the newest research to create better, more consistent care and concussion management,” said Angel Clark, an athletic trainer at CHI St. Joseph’s Health in Park Rapids.   

Clark is placed full-time in Park Rapids Area High School. When students sustain a concussion, she provides extensive education for parents, coaches and teachers to help athletes safely return to school and play. She is involved in treating students and plays an active role as an athletic trainer for the high school sports teams.   

At Marshall High School, Catie Dahl, an athletic trainer, works with Dr. Jane Hartman of Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center’s Family Medicine Clinic to provide similar care to student athletes there. Every day Dahl’s training room in the school is a hot spot for students once the last bell rings, with athletes seeking ice packs, bandages, stretching exercises and other help. When those athletes are competing, Dahl and Hartman are on the sidelines, ready to respond to any athlete’s injury.   

Visit the Minnesota’s Hospitals: Strengthening Healthy Communities website to learn how Minnesota hospitals partners with schools to raise awareness among athletes, parents and coaches of concussion injuries and create a baseline for concussion care.   

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   

Member news: George Gerlach

MHA has received sad news that George Gerlach, former MHA board member and chair, died Sunday, January 17. He had been hospitalized with pneumonia for the past week. He had recently retired as CEO from Granite Falls Municipal Hospital & Manor. George had been a very active member of MHA, had served as the MHA board chair in 2009, and will be missed. Last year, he was honored by MHA with the Bruce and Denise Rueben Courage Award.   

Please check his area’s local papers for a funeral notice. None was available at the time our newsletter was published. return to top   

Check your inbox for MHA 2016 membership directory survey

Hospital CEOs, their administrative assistants and associate members should watch their email inboxes for the MHA 2016 Membership Directory survey.   

MHA annually updates contact information of senior leaders and key contacts within hospitals, health systems and associate member companies to ensure the MHA database is up-to-date and communications reach the appropriate contacts.     

If you have questions regarding the membership survey, contact Ashley Beno, MHA member services and communications specialist, 651-603-3545. return to top   

USDA accepting applications for rural telemedicine grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Jan. 12 that hospitals and others can apply through Monday, March 14, for grants of up to $500,000 each for equipment and technical assistance to provide telemedicine services in rural areas. The fiscal year 2016 grants are through the Rural Utilities Service Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program, which provides funds to improve telemedicine and distance learning services in rural areas.   

Applicants must serve a rural area, demonstrate economic need and provide at least 15 percent in matching funds. For more details about the program and how to apply, visit the USDA website. With questions, email [email protected], call 202-720-0800 or contact Dominic A. Henderson, Minnesota field representative, USDA, 218-765-3854. return to top   

Free telepsychiatry webinar offered

The National Network of Telehealth Resource Centers, including the Great Plains Telehealth Resource and Assistance Center (GPTRAC), is holding a free webinar on developing a telepsychiatry program. The webinar is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 21, at 1 p.m.   

During the webinar, two leaders in the field of telepsychiatry will explore effective telepsychiatry models, from traditional clinical settings to integration into rural primary care, nursing homes and beyond.   

Telemedicine offers great promise for expanding access to mental health care in Minnesota. This is particularly true in underserved areas, such as rural Minnesota. Increasing access to mental health is one of the driving forces for MHA’s advocacy on the Minnesota Telemedicine Act, which passed in the 2015 legislative session and brings payment parity to services delivered in-person and via telemedicine.   

View the flier to learn more and register for the webinar. return to top   

NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program

The 2016 NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program application cycle is now open and will close on Thursday, Feb. 25. The purpose of the program is to assist in the recruitment and retention of professional registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice registered nurses dedicated to working in health care facilities with a critical shortage of nurses, or working as nurse faculty at an eligible school of nursing.   

The program offers these RNs substantial financial assistance to repay a portion of their qualifying educational loans in exchange for full-time service at either a health care facility with a critical shortage of nurses or at an eligible school of nursing in the case of nurse faculty.   

Two technical assistance conference calls will be offered: 

  • Thursday, Jan. 28, 1-3 p.m. 
  • Thursday, Feb. 11, 6-8 p.m. 

 The dial-in number for both calls is 1-888-790-3148 and the participant passcode is 7775191.   

To learn more and access the application and program guidance onlinereturn to top   

MedPAC votes to reduce 340B payments to hospitals

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) voted to recommend a 10 percent payment reduction of the average sales price of discounted drugs. They further backed a plan that would recirculate the estimated $300 million in savings back to hospitals treating the neediest patients. This provision will be part of a larger report to Congress expected in March.   

MHA, the American Hospital Association (AHA) and other hospital advocacy organizations are concerned by the MedPAC vote. Little analysis was done of the recommended reduction’s negative impacts on patients and hospitals. In addition, there is a view that MedPAC has overstepped its scope since the 340B program is a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) program. The AHA immediately issued a criticism of the recommendation.   

MHA will continue to monitor this issue and advocate on behalf of urban and rural safety net hospitals that have access to the discounted drug pricing program. With questions or concerns, contact Joe Schindler, vice president of finance, MHA, 651-659-1415.  return to top