IHA Daily Briefing: Jan. 11

Monday, January 11, 2021
2021 IHA Board of Trustees Announced
Discussions Continue on State Healthcare Bill
IHA Shares Federal Advocacy Priorities with Delegation   
IDPH Vaccination Plan Update
Guv Issues New COVID-19 Proclamation, EO
IDPH Reminder on COVID-19 Reporting
CMS COVID-19 Calls Tuesday, Wednesday
State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates
Briefly Noted

2021 IHA Board of Trustees Announced
The Illinois Health and Hospital Association (IHA) is pleased to announce its newly elected 2021 Board of Trustees. Board officers serve a one-year term beginning January 1, 2021.

  • Chair: Karen Teitelbaum, president and CEO, Sinai Chicago   
  • Chair-Elect: Ted Rogalski, administrator, Genesis Medical Center, Aledo   
  • Past Chair: Phillip Kambic, president and CEO, Riverside Healthcare   
  • Treasurer: J.P. Gallagher, President and CEO, NorthShore University HealthSystem   
  • Secretary: Mary Lou Mastro, system CEO, Edward-Elmhurst Health   
  • President: A.J. Wilhelmi, president and CEO, IHA

New trustees elected to serve a three-year term beginning January 1, 2021 include:

  • William Dorsey, MD, CEO, Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center, Chicago   
  • Omar Lateef, DO, President and CEO, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago   
  • Michael McManus, President, Memorial Regional Health Services, Belleville and Shiloh   
  • Allan Spooner, President and CEO, Franciscan Alliance, Olympia Fields and Chicago Heights

The IHA Board of Trustees is the Association’s policymaking body.  The Board is made up of 28 trustees, elected by the voting members of the Association, five officers (chair, chair-elect, past chair, treasurer, and secretary) and the Association’s president and CEO. Constituency sections, councils and task forces provide members with opportunities to participate in the Association’s policy development process.

Discussions Continue on State Healthcare Bill
Discussions are continuing on a legislative proposal introduced by members of the General Assembly’s Black Caucus that would make major changes in the state’s healthcare system/Medicaid program. IHA continues to raise concerns in hearings and meetings with legislative leaders and the bill’s sponsors. Those concerns include those related to provisions on a moratorium on hospital and service line closures and on managed care that could adversely affect financing of the Medicaid program.

IHA President and CEO A.J. Wilhelmi testified to the Senate Executive Committee Saturday evening, and David Gross, Senior President, Government Relations, testified to the House Executive Committee this morning. IHA also submitted testimony to the House Health Care Availability and Accessibility Committee.

The General Assembly has until 12 noon on Wednesday to wrap up its business during the abbreviated lame duck session.

IHA Shares Federal Advocacy Priorities with Delegation
In a letter sent to the Illinois Congressional delegation today, IHA President & CEO A.J. Wilhelmi highlighted key federal advocacy priorities for Illinois hospitals and health systems.

“As our state labors to recover from dire economic and societal devastation brought about by COVID- 19, it is vital that our hospitals — and the critical community care they deliver — are secure. We cannot restore our state’s economy without the healthcare safety net that hospitals provide, and accordingly, we urge Congress to pass additional COVID-19 relief,” Wilhelmi wrote in the letter. “IHA is eager to partner with you to advance our shared goal of building a better, stronger, more equitable healthcare system so that all individuals have the opportunity to reach their full potential for health. Among our highest legislative priorities are:

  • Addressing the financial, public health and pandemic response crises facing hospitals by, among other actions, providing additional financial resources, safeguarding front-line providers with limited liability protections, supporting the healthcare workforce and permanently expanding access to telehealth.   
  • Ensuring fair and adequate reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, which reimburses below the cost of providing care. Additionally, IHA urges increased support for graduate medical education; regulatory flexibility and acceleration of value-based care.   
  • Advancing health equity by eliminating health disparities in rural and underserved communities and ensuring every person has the opportunity to achieve optimal health regardless of, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, neighborhood, employment status, education level or disability.   
  • Protecting the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which is critical to expanding access to lifesaving medicine and comprehensive healthcare services for low-income and uninsured individuals.   
  • Ensuring access to affordable, high-quality care by building on the existing framework of the ACA, including providing subsidized coverage through the healthcare exchanges and expanding the Medicaid program.”

IHA’s 2021 Federal Advocacy Agenda is available here.

IDPH Vaccination Plan Update
The Illinois Dept. of Public of Health (IDPH) has updated its COVID-19 Vaccination Plan (Version 4.1, Jan. 10, 2021). Due to changing vaccine supply levels at various points during the COVID-19 Vaccination Program, IDPH is expected to amend the plan as federal guidance and recommendations change.

Following a phased approach, IDPH has updated priority groups under Phases 1a and 1b within the plan. Also added are considerations for obtaining an additional 6th and possibly a 7th dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine using the 5-dose vial. Vaccine from multiple vials should not be pooled, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to make complete doses.

Other additions to the plan include an EMTrack section for vaccination clinics/point of dispensing. The module enables clients to schedule appointments and be pre-screened for vaccination prior to coming to the vaccination site. EMTrack is an optional system that will be provided to state partners at no cost.

All hospitals are encouraged to review the IDPH vaccination plan in its entirety with their vaccination response team.

At a press briefing this afternoon, Governor J.B. Pritzker reported that the state has received nearly 590,000 vaccine doses and administered nearly 335,000 doses (totals include city of Chicago and pharmacy partners for long-term care facilities). Daily updates on the state’s vaccination activities will be posted on the IDPH website starting Tuesday.

Guv Issues New COVID-19 Proclamation, EO
On Friday, Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a new Proclamation and Executive Order (EO) No. 01 (COVID-19 #71), extending prior executive orders for 30 days to February 6, including, but not limited to, several healthcare related orders:

  • Telehealth (EO 2020-09, as amended by EO 2020-52), is re-issued in its entirety and extended through February 6, 2021.
  • Health Care Worker Background Checks (Sections 1 and 3 of EO 2020-12) are re-issued and extended through February 6, 2021.
  • Fingerprint submissions under the Health Care Worker Background Check Act (Sections 4, 5, and the Savings Clause of EO 2020-22) are re-issued and extended through February 6, 2021.
  • Actions by the Illinois Dept. of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) for licensed professionals engaged in disaster response (EO 2020-23 is re-issued in its entirety through February 6, 2021.
  • Hospital capacity flexibilities/waivers (EO 2020-26 is re-issued in its entirety and extended through February 6, 2021. 
  • Illinois Dept. of Public Health regulatory activities (Sections 14, 15, 16, and 17 of EO 2020-35) are re-issued and extended through February 6, 2021.

IDPH Reminder on COVID-19 Reporting
The Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) reminds hospitals that the requirement for reporting Antibody Therapeutics on hand and infused in the previous week is in effect as of last Friday (January 8). Hospitals should report this information in Teletracking. IDPH will use this to inform future decisions on antibody therapy allocations so accuracy will be critical for this reporting.

CMS COVID-19 Calls Tuesday, Wednesday
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will host two stakeholder calls this week to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19.

Office Hours: Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 4 p.m. CT
Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 4688247
Audio Webcast link: https://edge.media-server.com/mmc/p/p5jw6syi

COVID-19 Vaccine Safety: A Fireside Chat with CMS, CDC, and front line staff and providers: Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 3 p.m. CT
Register in advance (registrants will receive an email with information on joining the webinar): https://cms.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_VQnfc77zTaOho3-yYrtGUA

State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates
The Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) announced today 4,776 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and 53 deaths.

The total number of cases in the state is 1,033,526 with a total of 17,627 deaths. IDPH says that in the past 24 hours, 66,697 test specimens have been processed, with a positivity rate of 7.2%. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity rate for cases as a percent of total tests from Jan. 4-10 is 7.6%, and the seven-day test positivity rate is 8.9%.

Statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past 24 hours increased from 3,527 patients to 3,540 patients. Of that figure, 759 patients were in the ICU, with 401 patients on ventilators.

Today’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures showed more than 22.3 million confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. (a daily increase of more than 220,000 cases), with 373,167 deaths.

Sunday’s WHO Coronavirus Disease Dashboard showed more than 89 million COVID-19 cases globally (a daily increase of more than 660,000 cases), with more than 1.93 million deaths. The Region of the Americas (includes the U.S.) continues to lead the world with more than 39.2 million cases and more than 917,000 deaths.

Briefly Noted
On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in December, healthcare added 39,000 jobs, including 32,000 jobs in hospitals and 21,000 jobs in ambulatory services. Those gains were partially offset by declines in nursing care facilities (-6,000) and community care facilities for the elderly (-5,000.). Since February, hospitals lost 70,000 jobs, and ambulatory services lost 173,000 jobs, while nursing and residential care homes lost 264,000 jobs. The nation’s total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 140,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7%.