IHA Daily Briefing: April 28

Wednesday, April 28, 2021
IDPH Offering More COVID Vaccine Allocations to Hospitals 
Chicago RFP for Healthy Equity Zones 
IHA Urges Hospital Priorities for Infrastructure Bill 
Register: Virtual Small & Rural Meeting on June 23-24 
Updated Family Support Program Guidance  
New CDC Report on Effectiveness of Vaccines 
State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates 
Briefly Noted

IDPH Offering More COVID Vaccine Allocations to Hospitals 
The COVID-19 vaccination team at the Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH), which has jurisdiction over all areas of the state outside of the city of Chicago, has asked IHA to communicate to hospitals that vaccine supply is growing and IDPH wants to help ensure hospitals have the vaccine they need for their patients and communities. IDPH can arrange doses through your local health department or through a direct allocation from IDPH.

The Department is asking hospitals to continue to be creative in doing outreach outside of usual patient channels, advertising your clinics in the community and reaching out to nearby schools, community colleges, workplaces and community groups that could benefit from a vaccine event.

In an effort to enhance vaccine opportunities for hospitals, IDPH is planning to implement direct ordering in I-CARE in the next couple of weeks. Until that time, hospitals and systems can reach out to their local health department for vaccine allocations or they can contact Lori Weiselberg at lori.weiselberg@illinois.gov or Jordan Hatcher at jordan.hatcher@illinois.gov to inquire about direct allocations from IDPH.

Chicago RFP for Healthy Equity Zones 
Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Dept. of Public Health (CDPH) yesterday announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) to address the impacts of COVID-19 to promote health and racial equity, starting with targeted vaccine outreach.

CDPH has allocated $9.6 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding to establish Healthy Chicago Equity Zones – six geographic areas covering the entire city that will be led by regional and community organizations. In 2021, the Zones will focus on increasing vaccine uptake in the neighborhoods that have been most impacted by COVID-19. As the city continues to recover from the pandemic, these coalitions will lead local strategies to confront factors that contribute to health and racial disparities, including healthcare and social service access, food access, housing conditions, community safety, and the physical and built neighborhood environment.

The Healthy Chicago Equity Zones RFP is open for applications through May 28, 2021, at noon. 

IHA Urges Hospital Priorities for Infrastructure Bill 
Today, IHA sent a letter to the Illinois Congressional delegation urging key hospital and health system priorities be included in federal infrastructure legislation.

“Illinois hospitals and health systems are a critical part of our state’s physical, social and economic infrastructure. From providing access to 24-hour care and responding to natural and manmade disasters to partnering to address health disparities and social determinants of health, Illinois hospitals are steadfast in their commitment to serving their patients and communities. Yet, without additional federal support, many hospitals will struggle to maintain and update aging facilities, invest in the healthcare workforce, and purchase new technology and equipment to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead,” wrote A.J. Wilhelmi, IHA President & CEO in the letter.

Also today, President Biden released the American Families Plan, a $1.8 trillion social infrastructure proposal that includes free community college and universal pre-school, child care subsidies for low-income families, and paid family and medical leave, among other policies. The plan would also extend the expanded Affordable Care Act premium tax credits that were included in the recently-passed American Rescue Plan (IHA summary here).

On March 31, President Biden released the American Jobs Plan, a more than $2 trillion proposal focusing on, among other priorities, investing in roads, bridges, transit systems and expanding broadband. The legislative path for both proposals is unclear, although it is expected the reconciliation process will be used for at least some provisions. Democrats on Capitol Hill have urged additional healthcare priorities be included. On Sunday, 17 U.S. Senators, including Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, sent a letter to Biden urging that Medicare expansion be part of the infrastructure legislation.

Register: Virtual Small & Rural Meeting on June 23-24 
COVID-19 enkindled a renewed focus on increasing health equity and access to care. The 2021 IHA Small & Rural Hospitals Annual Meeting will help you leverage these rapid changes for lasting success.

Registration is now open for the June 23-24 program–Moving Healthy Ahead—which features expert-led sessions on:

  • Behavioral health programs;    
  • Mental health on the farm;    
  • Health disparities; and    
  • Telehealth. 

In a special roundtable discussion, you'll learn about the importance of aligning board membership with community demographics. IHA government relations leaders will also provide a state and federal advocacy update.

Wayne Sotile, PhD, a pioneer in clinical psychology, will close the event with a compelling session on helping staff manage burnout and fatigue. Sotile is a national thought leader who recently co-authored the book Thriving in Healthcare: A Positive Approach to Reclaim Balance and Avoid Burnout in Your Busy Life.

When registering, note the new option to register as a “hospital," which allows for an unlimited number of attendees from one hospital.

Together, we can fortify small and rural hospitals for today's ever-changing landscape. See our brochure to view the full agenda and learn about continuing education credits.

Register today.

Updated Family Support Program Guidance  
On Monday (April 26), the Illinois Dept. of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) issued a Provider Notice on updated Family Support Program (FSP) guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic to hospitals and community mental health centers. This guidance replaces the Department’s April 10, 2020 informational notice, providing changes in requirements for continued FSP enrollments, residential continued stay requests and bedholds.

For initial FSP youth enrollment applications, all required documents completed within the previous 180 days will continue to be accepted as part of the Initial FSP Enrollment Application. Continued Enrollment for redeterminations of FSP eligibility and Residential Continued Stay request submissions for residential treatment services will resume July 1, with further details provided in the notice.

For more information, see IHA’s memo.

New CDC Report on Effectiveness of Vaccines 
A new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were 94% effective against COVID-19 hospitalization among fully vaccinated adults 65 and older and 64% effective among partially vaccinated adults 65 and older. CDC says the vaccines significantly reduce the risk for COVID-19-associated hospitalization in older adults and, in turn, might lead to commensurate reductions in post-COVID conditions and deaths.

The findings are based on evaluation at 24 hospitals in 14 states of the effectiveness of partial or full vaccination with Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines against COVID-19-associated hospitalization among adults 65 and older admitted to the hospital for COVID-like illness during Jan. 1 – March 26, 2021.

State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates 
The Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) announced today 2,728 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and 33 deaths.

The total number of cases in the state is 1,328,454 with a total of 21,891 deaths. IDPH says that in the past 24 hours, 87,698 test specimens have been processed, with a positivity rate of 3.1%. The preliminary 7-day statewide positivity rate for cases as a percent of total tests from April 21-27 is 3.4%, and the seven-day test positivity rate is 4.1%.

Statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past 24 hours decreased from 2,180 patients to 2,154 patients. Of that figure, 502 were in the ICU, with 238 patients on ventilators.

The total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses for Illinois is 11,322,205. A total of 9,048,300 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of last midnight. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 100,823 doses. Yesterday, 106,173 doses were reported administered in Illinois.

Today’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures showed more than 31.9 million confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. (a daily increase of more than 50,000 cases), with 570,421 deaths (a daily increase of 556).

Today’s WHO Coronavirus Disease Dashboard showed more than 148.3 million COVID-19 cases globally (a daily increase of more than 763,000 cases), with more than 3.1 million deaths. The Region of the Americas (includes the U.S.) continues to lead the world with more than 61.4 million cases and more than 1.49 million deaths.

Briefly Noted Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the unpublished federal fiscal year (FFY) 2022 Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) and Long-Term Care Hospital (LTCH) PPS proposed rule. See CMS’ press release and fact sheet. An IHA fact sheet and hospital-specific impact reports are forthcoming. Comments are due to CMS no later than June 28.

Several Illinois hospitals and health systems are included in the 2021 Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals and 15 Top Health Systems: NorthShore University HealthSystem (Major Teaching Hospital); Edward Hospital, Elmhurst Hospital and Silver Cross Hospital (Large Community Hospital); SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Centralia (Small Community Hospital); and Edward-Elmhurst Health (Medium Health System).