Min­nesota hos­pi­tal group has ties to gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date it en­dorsed

Hos­pi­tal group has ties to gov hope­ful it en­dorsed

Modern Healthcare - - News - Joe Carl­son

When the po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tee of the Min­nesota Hos­pi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion en­dorsed a can­di­date in the state’s gover­nor’s race, it was an un­usual move for the group, and not merely be­cause the cho­sen can­di­date was nei­ther a Repub­li­can nor a Demo­crat.

In a news re­lease dis­trib­uted na­tion­ally, the Min­nesota Hos­pi­tal Po­lit­i­cal Ac­tion Com­mit­tee ac­knowl­edged that en­dors­ing In­de­pen­dence Party can­di­date Tom Horner was atyp­i­cal.

“The pro­jected state bud­get short­fall and the sig­nif­i­cant changes that lie ahead for health­care de­liv­ery and fi­nanc­ing over the next sev­eral years call for us to speak in sup­port of the thought­ful, bal­anced po­si­tions and lead­er­ship Tom Horner of­fers,” said Lawrence Massa, a mem­ber of the PAC’s board of di­rec­tors and pres­i­dent and CEO of the state hos­pi­tal as­so­ci­a­tion, which is a legally sep­a­rate en­tity.

The hos­pi­tal as­so­ci­a­tion was break­ing with the Min­nesota Cham­ber of Com­merce’s Lead­er­ship Fund, the cham­ber’s PAC, which en­dorsed Repub­li­can Tom Emmer. In sid­ing with Horner, MHA chose a can­di­date run­ning on the ticket of for­mer Gov. Jesse Ven­tura’s po­lit­i­cal party in the Nov. 2 elec­tion.

The move comes on the heels of the state’s hos­pi­tals, health plans and physi­cians go­ing around cur­rent Gov. Tim Paw­lenty in an at­tempt to get a fed­eral grant to cre­ate a health in­surance ex­change (Oct. 18, p. 17).

The Min­nesota Nurses As­so­ci­a­tion, how­ever, cried foul af­ter the hos­pi­tal as­so­ci­a­tion PAC’s en­dorse­ment.

Horner is the co-founder of Himle Horner, a large Minneapolis pub­lic re­la­tions firm that was em­ployed by hos­pi­tals in Minneapolis and St. Paul last sum­mer to han­dle PR dur­ing pro­tracted la­bor strife be­tween the hos­pi­tals and the union. The firm has also pro­vided coun­sel to MHA com­mit­tees and sub­sidiaries.

“To us, it felt like a big con­flict of in­ter­est,” nurse union spokesman John Nemo said.

Horner han­dled PR for Min­nesota hos­pi­tals in a la­bor dis­pute.

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