Tag Archives: Affordable Care Act

Minnesota Hospitals Reduce Charity Care, Increase Profits

30 Sep

Mat Keller headshot

By Mathew Keller RN JD, Regulatory and Policy Nursing Specialist

We all knew big insurers would benefit as more individuals sign up for health insurance under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. What is surprising to me, at least, is just how much Minnesota hospitals are profiting as well.

In the latest sign of sickness in the corporate healthcare world, the Minnesota Department of Health reports that our hospitals have reduced the amount of charity care they provide to our sickest and poorest citizens by 22.4 percent.

Much of this decrease is driven by a sharp increase in the number of patients with health insurance across the state — up to 94.1 percent, an all-time high.

Hospitals, as they reduce their charitable care, should pass those cost savings on to their patients and communities. They should allow more patients to qualify for charitable care. They should increase the quality of care they provide through appropriate nurse staffing. They should engage their communities in public health outreach.

Instead, our non-profit hospitals are pocketing the money, giving it out as bonuses, spending it on advertising and branding, building the latest and greatest waterfall in the lobby. Enough is enough.

Charitable care forms the backbone of our societal contract with our non-profit hospitals — we grant them tax exemptions, and in return, we expect that they will strive to help the sickest and poorest among us in a charitable manner. It might be time to re-examine that contract.


MNA Daily NewsScan, July 16, 2012 – Corporate Insurance Giants Plan to Cash in on ACA

16 Jul


Health Care insurance industry whistleblower Wendell Potter talks about the next PR move insurers are likely to make in order to keep putting profits ahead of patients.

More from Potter: Want proof that Big Insurance has figured out how to make a lot of money off reform? Last Monday WellPoint announced it will pay nearly $5 billion to buy the country’s largest private Medicaid managed care company, AmeriGroup. Rest assured that lobbyists for WellPoint and other firms wanting to get their hands on that new Medicaid money will have a “here’s how it has to be” talk with their buddies on Capitol Hill. If you look at recent quarterly earnings reports from the big five for-profit insurance companies (UnitedHealth, WellPoint, Aetna, Cigna and Humana), you’ll see that the biggest growth in their membership has come not from the private sector but from public programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

MNA Daily NewsScan: July 6, 2012 – What Happens When the Nurse Needs Looking After?

6 Jul

What is this? The MNA Daily NewsScan rounds up the day’s biggest nursing, health care and organized labor stories.  As news unfolds in real-time, we update the NewsScan with new links and info, so check back often!

Stories we’re scanning:


  • The New York Times explores what happens when the nurse needs looking after. The story notes: “Nurses’ work is not easy, particularly in the hospital setting, where they must deal with intense intellectual and significant physical demands over three or more grueling 12-hour shifts each week. Not surprisingly, nursing ranks among the worst occupations in terms of work-related injuries, and studies have shown that in a given year, nearly half of all nurses will have struggled with lower back pain. The obvious question, then, is this: If the nurses are grappling at work with all these injuries, what is happening to patients?”


  • From FierceHealthcare: Monitoring patients within and outside healthcare encounters, whether through telehealth services, home-based programs or transitional care interventions, not only costs healthcare organizations a lot of money but also makes it difficult to keep patients engaged. Hospitals looking to improve patient care and protect their wallets, however, may find solace in “automated hovering,” according to a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine.
  • “Not-for-profit” hospitals’ CEO pay is skyrocketing despite the recession, according to a recent report out of New Hampshire.
  • From Hospital Impact: Compassion is vital for better outcomes and care delivery.

MNA Daily NewsScan: July 2, 2012 – More ACA Reaction, Northland Nurses in Need

2 Jul

What is this? The MNA Daily NewsScan rounds up the day’s biggest nursing, health care and organized labor stories.  As news unfolds in real-time, we update the NewsScan with new links and info, so check back often!

Stories we’re scanning:




  • Health Care whistleblower Wendell Potter weighs in with a take on how to read health insurance companies’ reaction to the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act.
  • MNA President Linda Hamilton and 1st Vice-President Bunny Engeldorf also shared their reactions and thoughts to the Supreme Court ruling in the Twin Cities media late last week. Here’s a sampling of the interviews:

MNA Daily NewsScan: June 29, 2012 – MNA Reacts to Supreme Court Ruling, Rock Center Checks Out Accretive

29 Jun

What is this? The MNA Daily NewsScan rounds up the day’s biggest nursing, health care and organized labor stories.  As news unfolds in real-time, we update the NewsScan with new links and info, so check back often!

Stories we’re scanning:


  • Please keep the unidentified St. John’s Hospital nurse in your thoughts today: The nurse was punched and kicked while trying to stop a man from assaulting a pregnant woman in her hospital room.
  • Report: Hospital nurses suffer from depression at twice the rate of the general population.


  • NBC’s national “Rock Center” program landed in Minnesota last night with its coverage of the ongoing scandal involving debt collectors behaving badly inside Twin Cities Hospitals.
  • MNA President Linda Hamilton and 1st Vice-President Bunny Engeldorf talked with several news outlets yesterday about how nurses are reacting to the Supreme Court’s Ruling regarding the Affordable Care Act. Here’s a sampling of some of the coverage:

MNA Reacts to Supreme Court Ruling on Affordable Care Act

28 Jun

MNA President Linda Hamilton spoke to KSTP-TV this morning about the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act.

MNA President Linda Hamilton has been busy talking to several reporters today, giving MNA’s official reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Here it is, in a nutshell:

“While we are pleased the Supreme Court upheld the entire Affordable Care Act and that millions of deserving Americans will receive the health care coverage they so desperately need as a result, the job isn’t done,” Hamilton said. “The ACA is an important first step, but the key here is just that – it’s only the first step. As nurses, we don’t want to see a single patient suffering because he or she doesn’t have adequate and affordable health care coverage. We need Medicare For All, and it’s our mission as nurses to keep this country moving toward that goal.”

For more details, visit National Nurses United’s website to get more information, videos, photos and blog posts!

Thursday Media Availability: MNA President to Comment on Supreme Court Health Care Ruling

27 Jun

MNA President Linda Hamilton

Contact: John Nemo, MNA, 651-414-2863 or john.nemo@mnnurses.org

ST. PAUL (June 27, 2012) – Linda Hamilton, RN, BSN, President of the Minnesota Nurses Association, will be available Thursday to comment from an everyday nurse’s perspective on the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding the Affordable Care Act and how it impacts Minnesota patients and families.

“Our concern is that a system of unaffordable, under-insurance will persist. No matter the outcome, millions will effectively be denied regular quality care,” said Hamilton, who is a staff nurse in the Twin Cities-based Children’s Hospitals and Clinics system. “In the past year, nurses have been especially alarmed at what they see as broad declines in health and living standards for substantial segments of the U.S. population. These declines are directly linked to the persistent economic crisis our country continues to find itself mired in.”

Health conditions nurses identified as linked to the loss of jobs, homes, poor nutrition, and resulting from un-payable medical bills or high out-of-pocket costs for care include: stress-induced heart ailments in younger patients, anxiety and “gut” disorders, higher asthma rates prompted by delays tied to poverty or insurance obstacles, and illnesses formerly associated primarily with adults now seen in children.

To arrange interviews with Hamilton, contact MNA’s John Nemo at 651-414-2863 or john.nemo@mnnurses.org .

MNA is a founding member of National Nurses United (NNU), the nation’s largest union of Registered Nurses, with more than 175,000 members across the United States.

In advance of the Supreme Court’s decision, NNU began a three-week bus tour across California holding free health screenings and town hall meetings where community members were invited to tell their health care stories.  Following is a link to two accounts shared: http://youtu.be/LKCRIOAoGHs

Overflow crowds in San Diego, Fresno and other cities have greeted the nurses. Nurses have heard testimonials from town residents denied care due to cost or insurance obstacles. Nurses also have also been discussing the upcoming ruling and the nurses’ RX for the healthcare crisis – expanding Medicare to cover everyone.

In addition, later this week in Philadelphia, eight real life stars of Michael Moore’s 2007 film on the healthcare crisis, “SiCKO,” will hold a five-year reunion. Titled “Still SiCKO After All These Years,” the public event will be held on Saturday, June 30 at 7 p.m. Moore is also scheduled to speak. For information on that event, contact Donna Smith, one of the stars of the film who is also currently on the California tour, at 773-617-4493.

Founded in 1905, the Minnesota Nurses Association represents more than 20,000 nurses in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. Learn more online at http://www.mnnurses.org.

MNA President Linda Hamilton hosts health care discussion with national leaders

26 Mar

MNA President Linda Hamilton opened up her home and hosted a special health care discussion on March 23 with Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius, Gov. Mark Dayton, Sen. Al Franken, Rep. Betty McCollum and others to talk about the Affordable Care Act and its positive impact in the lives of Minnesota women and their families.

Use the links below to view photos from and read news stories about this amazing event:

In addition, here’s a quick video roundup of some local TV news coverage: