IHA Daily Briefing: Feb. 13

Thursday, February 13, 2020
House Committees Pass Surprise Billing Legislation
15 COVID-19 Cases in the U.S.
MAPS White Paper Addresses Top Patient Safety Issues
Register for Feb. 25 Employee Engagement Webinar

House Committees Pass Surprise Billing Legislation
Two U.S. House committees passed separate legislation this week to protect patients from surprise medical bills after receiving emergency care or services that could reasonably have been expected to be in-network. Both bills protect patients through a ban on balance billing but take sharply different approaches to determine provider payment amounts and resolve disputes between providers and payers.

On Wednesday, the Ways and Means Committee passed the IHA-supported Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Act (H.R. 5826), which permits providers and health plans to directly negotiate reimbursement amounts. The bill also establishes a mediated dispute resolution process to resolve payment disputes when they arise. In a letter to the chairman and ranking member, AHA called H.R. 5826 “the most effective approach to surprise medical billing introduced to date,” and highlighted its support for protecting the private negotiation process between providers and health plans as well as the exclusion of a statutorily-set benchmark rate.

Earlier this week, the House Education and Labor Committee passed the Ban Surprise Billing Act (H.R. 5800). The legislation relies on a federal rate-setting approach to set payment rates for providers and closely aligns with IHA-opposed legislation passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee last year.

Lawmakers say they hope to pass final legislation this spring.

15 COVID-19 Cases in the U.S.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today confirmed a 15th novel coronavirus (COVID-19) case, a repatriated American from Wuhan, China under quarantine at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. This is the first person under quarantine at the base who had symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19. According to the CDC, the individual is currently isolated and receiving medical care at a designated hospital nearby. The State Department-charted flight arrived in the U.S. on Feb. 7.

According to the latest situation report from the World Health Organization, there are 45,171 confirmed cases globally, with 44,730 in China and 441 outside China in 24 countries. There are two confirmed cases in Illinois.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) and CDC have confirmed that the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) test performed by Illinois has not been impacted by accuracy issues seen in other states. A CDC announcement yesterday discussed problems related to inconclusive 2019-nCoV test results in some states.

IDPH worked with the CDC to successfully verify the test and all controls and verification samples showed accurate results. As a result, CDC has confirmed IDPH should continue to provide in-state testing for 2019-nCoV. All tests already provided have been confirmed to be accurate. Illinois became the first state to offer the Novel Coronavirus test in state, allowing IDPH to make test results available within approximately 24 hours.

Residents in Illinois outside Chicago can call the state's hotline with general questions about novel coronavirus at 800-889-3931 or email DPH.SICK@illinois.gov.  The number for Chicago residents is 312-746-4835 Monday through Friday during business hours and 311 during evenings, weekends, and holidays, or email coronavirus@chicago.gov.        

More information about novel coronavirus can be found on the IDPH website and the IHA website.

MAPS White Paper Addresses Top Patient Safety Issues
The Midwest Alliance for Patient Safety (MAPS) Patient Safety Organization (PSO) released Patient Safety Focus: Top 10 Safety Issues for 2020 as a resource to improve quality care and reduce medical errors. The white paper was provided to MAPS members as part of their membership, but it is also available for non-members to purchase.

The white paper includes evidence-based recommendations and strategies for:

  1. Care transition handoffs;
  2. Clostridioides difficile infections;
  3. Discharge against medical advice;
  4. Emergency department boarding of behavioral health patients;
  5. Maternal opioid use;
  6. Medical device-related pressure injuries;
  7. Patient and family engagement;
  8. Post-error support for clinicians;
  9. Social determinants of health screening; and
  10. Workplace violence de-escalation.

To develop the white paper, MAPS integrated information from:

  • Its event reporting database;
  • Staff research and analysis; and
  • Learnings from the PSO community.

The publication is designed to help MAPS members enhance the patient safety work they're already doing. If you are not a MAPS member, you can purchase the white paper today to use in your patient safety work.

On Fri., Feb. 28, MAPS will host an interactive webinar on how to maximize this white paper in your organization.

MAPS PSO has been federally certified since 2010 and is an IHA company. To learn how MAPS can help your organization improve patient safety, email MAPS@team-iha.org.

Register for Feb. 25 Employee Engagement Webinar
A 2019 survey by IHA Strategic Partner Gallagher Insurance Point found that half of healthcare employers say increasing engagement and productivity is a top human resources priority. To guide organizations in developing a strong workplace culture, Gallagher will present a complimentary webinar, “Improving Your Culture for a Better Bottom Line,” from 11 a.m. to noon on Feb. 25.

Human resources leaders and staff from IHA-member hospitals and health systems will benefit from this program.

Gallagher experts will explore two key cultural issues:

  • The importance of emotionally intelligent healthcare leadership; and
  • How to implement a strategic approach to organizational well-being to drive higher productivity and enhance the patient experience.

The webinar will draw on examples of organizations whose highly engaged employees are positively impacting their employer’s bottom line. The 2019 Gallagher survey also found that 61% of healthcare employers say their workforce is not highly engaged—or they have a neutral opinion on the topic.

Gallagher Insurance Point is a recognized leader and innovator in employee benefits and human resources consulting. Based in Rolling Meadows, the company provides innovative, data-driven solutions specifically for healthcare, including industry-specific benefit strategies and solutions, unique voluntary and ancillary benefit programs, and communication and enrollment solutions.

See an IHA video to learn more about Gallagher Insurance Point. Register for the employee engagement webinar today.