Minnesota Hospital Association


August 20, 2012

MHA Newsline

In this issue:

Health care finance conference Oct. 11-12

Preparing for the Transformation of Health Care Finance”

Co-sponsored by MHA and the Minnesota Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), the annual fall conference on health care finance issues will include updates on federal and state policy issues, along with programs to improve hospital operations such as billing and collections, quality measurement benchmarking and technology assessment.

The event will take place Oct. 11-12 at the Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West in Plymouth. The deadline for a group room rate at the hotel is Sept. 21, so call 753-559-6600 to make reservations.

To learn more, download the brochure on “Preparing for the Transformation of Health Care Finance.” Visit MHA's event registration site to login and register for this event. For other details, contact Joe Schindler, MHA vice president of finance, 651-659-1415. ^top of page

AHA asks hospitals to submit comments to feds on burden imposed by new regulations

Comments due by Aug. 27

The American Hospital Association (AHA) is encouraging hospitals to submit comments to the federal government with detailed estimates of the burden hospitals expect in order to implement new tax- exempt hospital requirements. The new requirements, which were enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, require adoption of a variety of hospital policies, limitations on the amount a hospital may charge individuals eligible for financial assistance, and limits hospital collection activities. AHA believes that the IRS has underestimated the time and effort hospitals will need to comply with the new requirements.

Under the federal Paperwork Reduction Act, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) must approve any regulatory requirement involving the collection of information and the public must have an opportunity to comment on the burden. As a result, hospitals should submit comments to the OMB. A separate comment period, ending in September, is available to submit substantive comments to the IRS.

AHA has provided a model comment letter and a worksheet hospitals can use to estimate the resources required to comply. The new requirements are similar in many respects to the obligations imposed through the billing and collections agreement between Minnesota hospitals and the Minnesota attorney general. As a result, when submitting information to OMB, Minnesota hospitals may want to identify the time and effort already invested in complying with the requirements. The experience of Minnesota hospitals over the past seven years will provide a good example of what the rest of the nation’s hospitals can expect if the new IRS rules are finalized.

Comments on the paperwork burden are due Aug. 27 and can be submitted at the following address:
Office of Management and Budget
Attn: Desk Officer for the Department of the Treasury
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
Washington, D.C. 20503

If you have questions, contact Ben Peltier, MHA vice president of legal services, 651-603-3513. ^top of page

Sponsors help deliver quality annual meeting

MHA would like to thank the following sponsors for their generosity and support in helping to deliver a quality Annual Meeting Sept. 19-21 in Brainerd:

Gold Sponsors
CliftonLarsonAllen LLP
McGough Construction

Silver Sponsors
Acute Care, Inc.
BMO Harris Bank
Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq Healthcare
Real Estate Advisory
Dougherty & Company LLC
Eide Bailly LLP
JE Dunn Construction
Knutson Construction
Kraus-Anderson Construction Company
Leonard, Street and Deinard
Medcare Products
Memorial Blood Centers
Meridian Leasing Corporation
Nor-Son, Inc.
Northland Employment Services, Inc.
Sanford Health
Wipfli LLP

Bronze Sponsors
ACT Services LLC
DMS Health Technologies
MMIC Group

Continuing Education
The Minnesota Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators has approved the conference content for a total of 11 clock hours.

For more information about sponsorships, contact Cari Kronschnable, MHA program coordinator, 651- 659-1428. To register for the MHA Annual Meeting, click here. ^top of page

Minnesota hospitals, nursing homes take steps to prevent influenza

80 percent of hospitals participate in FluSafe program

Nearly 200 hospitals and nursing homes across Minnesota increased their rates of influenza vaccination among their health care workers in 2011-12 as participants in the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) award-winning FluSafe program. MHA has been a partner in the FluSafe program, actively promoting participation by hospitals.

Eighty percent of hospitals in Minnesota participated in the voluntary program last year, with 46 new hospitals joining FluSafe during the last influenza season. Twenty-six Minnesota hospitals achieved vaccination rates of 90 percent or higher, earning the blue ribbon; 30 had vaccination rates between 80-89 percent and earned the red ribbon; and 31 hospitals achieved vaccination for 70-79 percent of workers and earned the white ribbon.

The FluSafe program aims to get all health care personnel at hospitals and nursing homes, except those with medical exemptions, vaccinated against influenza each season. Unvaccinated health care workers can pass highly contagious influenza to their patients, many of whom are at high risk for complications from influenza. Nationally, approximately 63.5 percent of health care workers are vaccinated for influenza. While the overall rate in Minnesota is better at 72 percent, more work needs to be done to protect patients from influenza. The state has set a goal of having 90 percent of health care workers vaccinated against influenza.

MDH is getting set to launch FluSafe for the 2012-13 flu season so watch for more information on how your hospital can get involved in this important program. A webinar is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 10; more details coming soon. For questions about FluSafe, contact Jennifer Heath, MDH FluSafe program coordinator, 651-201-541^top of page

Johnson Memorial Health Services receives safety certification

Johnson Memorial Health Services (JMHS) located in Dawson, has been named a Minnesota Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (MNSHARP) certified worksite. MNSHARP is a Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MNOSHA) program of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (MNDLI) that recognizes companies’ exemplary health and safety programs that supersede applicable OSHA standards. As one of 39 MNSHARP certified worksites, JMHS is the second health care facility and first care center to become certified. Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aikin is the other Minnesota hospital to earn certification. Learn more about MSHARP certification.^top of page

Essentia Health reaches lease agreement with Sandstone-area health district

Essentia Health and the North Pine Area Hospital District board have reached a new three-year lease agreement. Essentia Health has been managing the Sandstone hospital and nursing home under a lease agreement since 1997. “This new lease clearly outlines plans for enhancing health care delivery in Sandstone,” says Ron Osladil, Chairman of the North Pine Area Hospital District board (NPAHD). “Part of that planning will include identifying parts of our facilities that need to be upgraded or replaced.”

The two parties reached an agreement that gives NPAHD board members a voice in selecting citizens for a new local hospital board. Those two boards will be involved in planning a new health care delivery model for the hospital that will include facility upgrades. If local board members feel Essentia isn’t meeting the lease commitments, the NPAHD can terminate the lease after 18 months and either run the hospital itself or look for a new partner.^top of page