Minnesota Hospital Association


August 15, 2012

MHA Newsline

In this issue:

Primary election day is Tuesday

For the first time, Minnesotans will vote in a primary election in August instead of September. On Tuesday, Aug. 14, voters will determine which Democrats and which Republicans will face off against each other Nov. 6. All 201 state legislators are up for election this year, and because of a large number of retirements, about one quarter of the 2013 Legislature will be new members. MHA encourages you to ask candidates about their positions on health care and offer to share examples of the importance of your hospital to your community. If you are not registered to vote, you can do so at your polling place. For more information, the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office provides answers to your voting questions. You can find your polling place here. ^top of page

DHS hospital discharge protocol road show begins

Hospital staff encouraged to attend and provide input on development

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) is conducting a series of road shows in August and September to acquaint hospitals and other providers with a new protocol that hospital discharge staff will be required to conduct for some older adults at high risk of nursing home placement. The new protocol becomes effective Oct. 1, 2012. Hospital discharge planners and health care home administrators are encouraged to participate to provide input into the protocol development.

Some important questions about who should be included in receiving this referral were raised at the first two meetings held at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale and at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul. In particular, questions arose regarding patients being discharged after observation days and with patients being transferred from one acute setting to another. MHA encourages hospital staff to attend the upcoming meetings to address these and other issues that might be raised.

The next meetings will be Monday, Aug. 20 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at RiverView Health in Crookston and Tuesday, Aug. 21 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Lake Region Healthcare in Fergus Falls. A full list of stops is available here.

As of Oct. 1, hospital discharge planning responsibilities for older adults will include checking for high risk of nursing home admission or hospital readmission in the near future and referring certain older adults at high risk to the Senior LinkAge Line. This process is NOT for individuals on Medicaid or going into a nursing home because they need nursing home care. The requirement passed in the 2012 Health and Human Services omnibus bill (2012 Regular Session, Minnesota Session Laws, Chapter 247, Article 4, Sections 14 and 23). More information is also available here.

Please contact Jen McNertney, MHA policy analyst, 651-659-1405 for more information.

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Spare Key makes big change in program requirements for Minnesota families with seriously ill and critically injured children

Spare Key, a Minnesota non-profit that makes mortgage payments for Minnesota families with seriously ill and critically injured children, is making it easier for families to take advantage of its services. Effective Aug. 1, the required number of days a child must be hospitalized before a family is eligible for a mortgage payment has been reduced from 21 to 14 days.

Since 1997, Spare Key has made mortgage payments to nearly 1,500 Minnesota families in over 320 Minnesota cities, and 77 of the state’s 87 counties. With mortgage payments totaling more than $1.8 million, Spare Key is working harder to expand its primary source of referrals, which currently come from hospital social workers.

Spare Key is unique in serving Minnesota families in that it provides mortgage payments to Minnesota homeowners who are current on their mortgage, have had a child hospitalized 14 out of 90 days and are able to demonstrate an increase in expenses, or decrease in income, as a result of the child’s hospitalization. The organization makes it clear that the cause of the child’s illness or injury makes no difference to qualifying for its program, but that the nature of the injury or illness must be serious or critical.

For more information, as well as applications and guidelines for potentially eligible families, social workers, case workers and other medical professionals can go to the Spare Key website or contact Spare Key Program Manager Joyce Giedt, 952-406-8872.

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Hospitals prevent more than 2,600 readmissions

Reducing readmissions is seen as a key element in driving avoidable cost and utilization out of the health care delivery system, while also improving care for patients. According to the Health Research and Education Trust, unplanned readmissions cost Medicare $17.5 billion.

Minnesota hospitals participating in the RARE Campaign (RARE stands for Reducing Avoidable Readmissions Effectively) have prevented 2,607 readmissions over the past 15 months ending in March. RARE is engaging hospitals and care providers across the continuum of care to reduce 4,000 readmissions by the end of 2012. To achieve this goal, the campaign is focusing on five key areas that, if not managed well, are known to be main contributors to avoidable hospital readmissions:

  1. Comprehensive discharge planning
  2. Medication management
  3. Patient and family engagement
  4. Transition care support
  5. Transition communications

Learn more about the RARE campaign. ^top of page

Rural Palliative Care Networking Group to meet in September

On Tuesday, Sept. 18 from 10 a.m. to noon the Rural Palliative Care Networking Group will convene at the Fairview Lakes HomeCaring & Hospice in Chisago City for an educational discussion on “One Agency’s Path to Palliative Care.” The session will:

  1. Describe steps to establishing a home
  2. Describe opportunities and barriers of a home
  3. Explore funding options for a home

This group meets quarterly to network and learn from those interested in providing palliative care services in rural areas. People from all disciplines and settings are welcome and encouraged to participate. The Rural Palliative Care Networking Group is coordinated by Stratis Health and supported with funding from UCare. There is no fee to participate. ^top of page

Deer River Healthcare Center to join Essentia Health

Starting Sept. 1, Deer River Healthcare Center (DRHC) will become part of Essentia Health. While the integration officially takes effect next month, Essentia and DRHC have been working together to improve health care for many years.

“This affiliation is a natural extension of our relationship with Essentia,” says DRHC Administrator Jeff Stampohar. “Our teamwork in the area of orthopedics and heart care has reduced the distance patients must travel for these services. In coming years, we hope to offer local access to other services, including cancer care, in Deer River.”

Stampohar notes that health care reform is making it more challenging for community hospitals to stand alone. Now, DRHC and its patients will benefit from the resources and support of a four state, fully-integrated health system, while maintaining the hometown feel of a small health care center.

Along with the hospital, DRHC operates a long-term care facility and senior apartments in Deer River and two clinics in nearby Grand Rapids. The hospital will be named “Essentia Health-Deer River.” ^top of page

Find MHA on Facebook and Twitter

Did you know that MHA is on Facebook and Twitter? Like MHA on Facebook, where we’ll share hospital stories and help share the message about the high quality, safe care delivered in Minnesota’s hospitals. We’ll also keep you informed of hot issues and conversations taking place about health care. You can also follow us on Twitter for the latest in health care news and legislative and policy information.

Also watch for a brand new website to be revealed in the next week. MNhospitals.org has received a complete makeover and you’ll be able to experience the exciting changes soon! You can look forward to a more user-friendly layout, great hospital success stories and the important, timely information you’re used to getting from MHA. ^top of page