IHA Daily Briefing: Feb. 6

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

House GOP Releases CR with Rural Medicare Extenders
New Organization Aims to Expand Healthcare Access
Payment Systems Tables Released
IHA Quality Showcase: Final 2 Weeks to Submit

House GOP Releases CR with Rural Medicare Extenders
Last night, U.S. House Republican leaders released a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government for six more weeks as negotiations on a larger omnibus spending bill continue. Thanks in large part to your advocacy efforts, the CR includes a Medicare extenders package which includes a two-year extension of the rural Medicare-dependent Hospital (MDH) program and the enhanced rural low-volume adjustment program. The CR would fund the programs until Oct. 1, 2019.  It would also repeal the Medicare payment cap for therapy services.  However, it also includes cuts to long-term care hospitals and early transfers.

Meanwhile Senate and House bi-partisan leaders have been engaging in intense last-minute negotiations on a larger omnibus bill. Funding for the federal government expires on Thursday.

A section-by-section summary of the House bill can be seen here. Legislative text can be seen here.


New Organization Aims to Expand Healthcare Access
Today, a variety of healthcare leaders from policy, patient advocate, clinical, business, and innovation backgrounds launched United States of Care, a non-partisan, non-profit organization aimed at ensuring access to quality, affordable healthcare regardless of health status, social need or income. The United States of Care Board is chaired by Andy Slavitt, the former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. To learn more about the organization, see the related press release.

The United States of Care also announced a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (Penn LDI) to produce, distill and disseminate research evidence on what is known and still unknown about policy proposals to expand health coverage to all. The two organizations collaborated on a new report that examines prominent state efforts to expand health coverage to the remaining uninsured in Massachusetts, Vermont, Colorado, California, and Nevada. The research serves as a case study in how different states build, or fail to build, the popular and political will towards healthcare coverage for all residents.

For more information on the partnership and the report, see Penn LDI’s press release.


Payment Systems Tables Released
For the past several years, IHA has been publishing a summary table listing the principal components of the various Medicare payment systems currently in effect for your reference. The 2018 version of the table is now available on IHA's website. This table does not include any legislative or regulatory citations, but is intended to provide you with a quick, high-level reference of the major Medicare payment provisions and variables.

In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services yesterday published a table displaying the Alternative Payment Models (APMs) that it operates. The table identifies Merit-based Incentive Payment System APMs and Advanced APMs.


IHA Quality Showcase: Final 2 Weeks to Submit
The deadline to submit a project to IHA's Quality Advocacy Showcase is Friday, Feb. 16—less than two weeks from today. The showcase is an important part of IHA's advocacy efforts and your participation is critical to its success.

Our goal for the April 12 event is to fill the Illinois State Capitol Rotunda with posters of projects from across the state and create opportunities for you to engage with legislators. IHA will produce one professionally designed 30-by-42-inch poster per facility at no cost to members. Posters will describe the issue your organization sought to address and how it was addressed, cost savings, and impact on patients, families and the community. See a sample poster for 2018.

The showcase highlights the role of Illinois hospitals and health systems in advancing care while reducing costs. Submit your organization's quality improvement project before the Friday, Feb. 16 deadline.