2008 MDH Policy Initiatives Summary

Printable version (PDF: 66KB/4 pages)

Abigail Taylor Pool Safety Act (HF3812/SF2833*)
This legislation is named for six-year-old Abigail Taylor from Edina, Minnesota. Abigail died in March 2008, after complications from a pool accident in June 2007. 

This legislation modifies Minnesota Statutes, Chapters 144 and 157 that authorize licensing, inspection and enforcement for public swimming pools by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). The new law requires immediate and future changes to public pools to ensure the safety of pool users.

Implementation actions include:

  • All public pools in Minnesota are now subject to licensure and inspection. Pool operators are required to conduct daily physical inspections of drain covers every day when the pool is in use.
  • All drain covers and grates must be installed with screws that meet the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • All public pool owners must certify to MDH by July 1, 2008, that all drains have been inspected and are properly installed.
  • By January 1, 2009, all pools four feet or less must have an unblockable drain, at least two outlets, or a gravity drain. Pools deeper than four feet must meet this requirement by January 1, 2011.
  • MDH will establish a group of stakeholders to address the licensing, inspection and enforcement for swimming ponds.

Administrative Simplification (HF3372/SF3245)
This legislation builds on and enhances a 2007 governor’s initiative that required three, high-volume health care administrative transactions to be exchanged electronically using a single standard for content and format. Once implemented, the requirements passed in 2007 and enhanced through this legislation, will reduce billing and claims processing costs by $60 to $70 million per year by fiscal year 2011.

This legislation makes three changes to ensure that the estimated savings of $60 to $70 million per year are fully recognized by the health care system. Specifically, this legislation:

Minnesota Responds Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) (HF3654/SF3135*)
This legislation provides important liability and workers’ compensation protection for registered health volunteers who are deployed by the commissioner of health outside their jurisdiction. 

The legislation also offers local government employees deployed through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact state liability protection.

Minnesota Responds Medical Reserve Corps (MNResponds MRC) are medical and non-medical professionals skilled and trained in emergency or disaster response.  They are recruited by local jurisdictions, healthcare facilities, the University of Minnesota, professional associations, as well as other emergency response partners. The commissioner of health may mobilize MRC volunteers to provide disaster medical assistance both within and outside Minnesota.

The legislation also offers state liability protection to local government deployed outside Minnesota through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.  

Nursing Home Regulation (HF3648/SF3227*)
This year, MDH introduced a nursing home policy bill. This legislation modifies provisions relating to nursing home regulations.  Specifically, this legislation:

  • Requires MDH to electronically distribute resident case mix classifications to nursing homes after receiving the facility’s assessments. With this change, facilities will receive the classifications much quicker than what is currently possible using the U.S. mail system.
  • Makes technical changes to the construction provisions of the nursing home moratorium law and clarifies procedures MDH uses in reviewing moratorium exception proposals.
  • Gives MDH the discretion to suspend or revoke a nursing home license when a nursing home corrects the violation. Current law requires suspension or revocation even when the nursing home has corrected the violation. 

Additional amendments were added by members of the House and Senate as the bill moved through the legislative process. Specifically, these changes:

  • Require all facilities that serve persons with Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders to provide training about the disease to their direct care staff and supervisors. Currently, the law restricts the training requirement to only those facilities that advertise they serve persons with Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders. This legislation requires each facility to document they have complied and gives the commissioner of health the authority to enforce the requirement and issue a corrective order.
  • Require MDH to consult with the Department of Human Services (DHS) regarding provider standards for personal care assistants and provide a report to the Legislature by February 15, 2009. The legislation clarifies that until the February 15, 2009, report recommendations are implemented, personal care assistants paid through Medical Assistance are exempt from home care provider licensing requirements.

Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Formula Change (HF3412/SF3135*)
This legislation will revise the formula for calculating the FQHC subsidy based on the most recent year of uncompensated care data available.

The FQHC subsidy program, enacted in 2007, distributes $1.5 million per year to support, expand, and improve FQHC services to low-income populations. Funds are allocated to each FQHC based on the amount of uncompensated care they provide.

Office of Health Care Consumer Assistance (HF3649/SF3286*)
This legislation deletes the phrase “the Office of Health Care Consumer Assistance, Advocacy and Information” from Minnesota Statutes, § 62Q.69, subdivision 2, paragraph (a). 

The Office of Health Care Consumer Assistance, Advocacy, and Information was created by the Legislature in 1998 and abolished by the Legislature in 1999. When the Office was abolished, it was removed from another chapter of laws and the language in Minnesota Statutes Chapter 62Q was not updated. This is a technical correction to update the statute.

MDH provides health plan consumers with assistance and information through its Information Clearinghouse as required by Minnesota Statutes, § 62J.2930. 

This legislation will clarify to health plans that they do not need to add a telephone number of an abolished office on their complaint forms and the legislation will also prevent consumer confusion about this office.  

Health Occupations Program (HOP) Housekeeping Bill (HF3708*/SF3427)
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) introduced housekeeping legislation to the regulations for audiologists, hearing instrument dispensers, and occupational therapy and speech-language practitioners to improve regulatory effectiveness. Amendments regarding other regulated occupations were added by members of the House and Senate.
The MDH initiatives in this legislation make the following changes for the various regulated occupations:

  • Hearing instrument dispensers, occupational therapy and speech-hearing practitioners:
    • Add a requirement to notify (MDH) of a change in a regulated person’s name, address or employment.
    • Clarify language for penalty fees applicable to continuing education (CE) reports by defining when CE coursework is missing.
  • Hearing instrument dispensers and audiologists:
    • Clarify that an audiogram must include the dispenser or audiologist’s name, signature, credential number and date.
  • Speech language pathologists and audiologists:
    • Clarify language concerning documentation required for the application for clinical fellowship and doctoral externship licensing.
    • Specify conditions for extending temporary licenses.
    • Clarify the definition of supervisor.
  • Occupational therapists:
    • Clarify the time periods in statute for obtaining continuing education to renew after a lapse in the license.
    • Clarify the language requiring commissioner approval prior to using Physical Agent Modalities in occupational therapy practice.
    • Delete business related topics from a two-hour restriction on CE hours so that more such hours may be taken if related to a practitioner’s current professional role.
  • Hearing instrument dispensers:
    • Make dates for obtaining CE hours coterminous with effective and expiration dates of the certificate and recognize audiology associations as CE providers for hearing instrument dispensers.
    • Require trainees to use the title “dispenser trainees.”
      • Other provisions added by the House and Senate:
        • Modify the language of prohibited sexual conduct and practitioner-client relationship provisions for complementary and alternative health care practices.
        • Add an exception to complementary and alternative health care bill of rights for practitioners providing services to a client in a hospital setting or under a hospice plan of care, requiring patients to be made aware of their right to file a complaint with the hospital or hospice.
        • Modify board of medical practice physician examination requirements
          for the licensing of foreign medical school graduate applicants.
        • Duty to warn language elsewhere in statutes is made applicable to marriage and family therapists.
        • Transportation by other than a licensed funeral director is specifically authorized when transporting a dead human body from the death scene to the place where an autopsy is to be conducted.
        • Practice of pharmacy language is modified to specify pharmacist participation in administration of influenza vaccines to eligible persons over ten years of age and all other vaccines to patients over age 18.


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Updated Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 12:27PM