IHA Daily Briefing: Feb. 7

Thursday, February 7, 2019

IL Senate Passes Minimum Wage Bill
U.S. Senate Bill Addresses GME Shortage
Hearings on ACA Protections and Gun Violence
Wilhelmi to Discuss Medicaid in Springfield Feb. 20
Accreditation Expert Leads March CAH CoP Webinars


IL Senate Passes Minimum Wage Bill
Voting along party lines, the Illinois Senate this afternoon voted 39-18 to pass Senate Bill 1, legislation that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2025.

The bill, which now goes to the Illinois House, would increase the minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $9.25 on Jan. 1, 2020. After going to $10 on July 1, 2020, it would increase $1 each Jan. 1 until 2025.

The bill also includes income tax credits for employers with fewer than 50 employees, equal to 25 percent of the difference between an employee’s wage at the end of the last fiscal quarter and the current minimum wage rate for the first year of the program. The 25 percent credit would decrease by 4 percent each year until it remained static at 5 percent until 2027, when it becomes unavailable to businesses with more than five employees.

Democratic Senators said the legislation would help hard working, low-income employees, whose wages have not kept up with increases in the cost of living, create economic activity and decrease reliance on government.

Republican Senators opposed the bill, expressing concerns about the negative impact on employers and communities across the state, saying it increases the minimum wage too quickly for businesses to absorb the cost.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who called for a $15 minimum wage during last year’s election campaign, has asked Democrats who control the General Assembly to send him a bill to sign by the time he presents his state budget proposal on Feb. 20.            


U.S. Senate Bill Addresses GME Shortage
IHA-supported bipartisan legislation, introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), John Boozman (R-AR) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), would add 15,000 Medicare-funded graduate medical education (GME) residency positions and help address physician shortages, which are predicted to reach up to 120,000 by 2030, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

In addition to increasing the number of new Medicare-funded residency positions, the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act would assign priority to certain facilities, including those which currently exceed their GME residency slot cap; emphasize training in community-based settings or hospital outpatient departments; and operate an approved "rural track" program in a non-rural area.


Hearings on ACA Protections and Gun Violence
A hearing yesterday in the U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee attacked the Trump Administration’s efforts to weaken protections for patients with pre-existing conditions established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Prior to the hearing, Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL-14) introduced legislation on the issue, saying in a statement, “A pre-existing condition shouldn’t be some kind of scarlet letter Americans have to wear around their neck as they try to get the quality, affordable healthcare everyone deserves. I’m one of the 300,000 people in Illinois’ 14th Congressional District who have a pre-existing condition, so this is personal: no insurer should ever have the option to discriminate against us.”

At a hearing in the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on reducing gun violence, important healthcare perspectives were discussed. Witness Joseph Sakran, a trauma surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, told committee members, "Every day, we are the ones on the front line caring for patients who suffer injuries from bullets ... telling families that their loved ones are never coming home." Sakran called for a broad multidisciplinary, multi-strategy approach supported by science and research. Also testifying at the hearing was Diane Latiker, Founder and President of Chicago-based Kids Off the Block, which helps low-income youth in the Roseland community find alternatives to gangs and violence.


Wilhelmi to Discuss Medicaid in Springfield Feb. 20
IHA President and CEO A.J. Wilhemi will be at the Sangamo Club in Springfield on Feb. 20 to participate in a breakfast briefing on “What’s Next for Medicaid?” hosted by Health News Illinois.

Other panelists include:
•    Illinois Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon;
•    Illinois Rep. Camille Lilly, D-Oak Park; and
•    Samantha Olds Frey, Executive Director, Illinois Association of Medicaid Health Plans.

Tickets are $30 for Health News Illinois subscribers; $40 for non-subscribers. Breakfast and beverages are included.


Accreditation Expert Leads March CAH CoP Webinars
Keeping up with regulatory changes can feel like a next-to-impossible task. Prepare now for your next survey with IHA is hosting a four-part webinar series, Critical Access Hospital CoPs Made Easy, with accreditation expert Sue Dill Calloway, RN, MSN, JD. Calloway is currently president of Patient Safety and Healthcare Education and Consulting and an expert in risk management. The content-heavy series will cover the entire Critical Access Hospital (CAH) Conditions of Participation (CoP) manual.


Clinicians, managers and administrators in several departments are encouraged to attend, including medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dietary, legal affairs and quality improvement.

Each webinar in this series will be held from 9-11 a.m. and a 15 percent series registration discount is available. Register today.