IHA Daily Briefing: Jan. 13

Wednesday, January 13, 2021
General Assembly Wraps Up “Lame Duck” Session
Illinois House Elects New Speaker
State Non-Discrimination Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccine
HHS Updates Guidance on COVID-19 Data Reporting
State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates
Final Snapshot on 2021 ACA Marketplace Enrollment

General Assembly Wraps Up “Lame Duck” Session
Late this morning, the outgoing 101st General Assembly adjourned its “lame duck” session, one of the more volatile and fast-moving legislative sessions in recent memory.

During the abbreviated five-and-a-half day session, IHA engaged in intense round-the-clock discussions and meetings with key legislators and legislative leaders and testified at numerous hearings on several critical issues of importance to the hospital community. Those include: hospital and healthcare transformation; the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ Healthcare Pillar legislation aimed at addressing inequities in healthcare and human services; and prejudgment interest payments in civil cases.

See an IHA summary of these issues and the legislative outcomes.

This afternoon, IHA issued a statement from President and CEO A.J. Wilhelmi on the General Assembly’s passage of the hospital and healthcare transformation legislation (Senate Bill 1510):

“The Illinois Health and Hospital Association (IHA) and the Illinois hospital community want to thank Representative Greg Harris, Senator Heather Steans, and Healthcare and Family Services Director Theresa Eagleson for their steadfast leadership in moving this legislation forward, as well as the members of the Illinois General Assembly who passed the bill unanimously. This transformation funding will enhance care delivery through provider partnerships that improve access and outcomes – and reduce health disparities and inequities that have been exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in communities of color. IHA and the hospital community are committed to reducing health disparities, and this transformation legislation will help achieve this shared goal of the many policymakers and stakeholders who have been involved in this work for the past several years.”


Illinois House Elects News Speaker
This afternoon, the Illinois House of Representatives elected Representative Emanuel “Chris” Welch as the new Speaker.  Welch succeeds Michael Madigan who held the post for nearly 40 years, the longest tenure for a House speaker in U.S. history.

IHA issued a statement from President and CEO A.J. Wilhelmi:

“The Illinois Health and Hospital Association (IHA) congratulates State Representative Emanuel “Chris” Welch on his historic election as Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives for the 102nd General Assembly. IHA and the hospital community look forward to working with Speaker Welch on critical healthcare issues, including addressing disparities in health and healthcare, to improve the health and well-being of all Illinoisans.”


State Non-Discrimination Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccine
Several state agencies and the Governor’s Office have jointly issued guidance that affirms and supplements the state’s April 10, 2020 Guidance Relating to Non-Discrimination in Medical Treatment for Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) . Federal and state civil rights laws, including the Illinois Human Rights Act, prohibit discrimination in the delivery of healthcare and support the rendering of ethical, non-discriminatory decisions. These principles have equal and ever-important application in the context of administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

The guidance includes a non-exhaustive list of steps that the healthcare community should take to prevent discrimination and ensure that marginalized communities have access to and meaningful participation in the COVID-19 vaccination program.


HHS Updates Guidance on COVID-19 Data Reporting
On Tuesday, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) updated its guidance on COVID-19 data reporting, announcing several new optional fields in the HHS TeleTracking system. Starting today (January 13), HHS requests that hospitals report data on COVID-19 vaccine administration to healthcare personnel and patients once per week, including:

  • Previous week’s COVID-19 vaccination doses administered to hospital personnel (regardless of series)   
  • Current hospital personnel who have not yet received any COVID-19 vaccination doses   
  • Current hospital personnel who have received one in a series of COVID-19 vaccination doses   
  • Current hospital personnel who have received a completed series of COVID-19 vaccination doses   
  • Total number of current hospital personnel   
  • Previous week’s number of patients administered the 1st dose in a COVID-19 vaccination series   
  • Previous week’s number of patients administered the dose that completes the series of a COVID-19 vaccination

While reporting these new data fields is optional at this time, HHS indicates it may publicly report facility-level data from these fields on the HHS Protect public portal in the future.


State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates
The Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) announced today 5,682 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and 97 deaths.

The total number of cases in the state is 1,046,030 with a total of 17,840 deaths. IDPH says that in the past 24 hours, 76,107 test specimens have been processed, with a positivity rate of 7.5%. The preliminary 7-day statewide positivity rate for cases as a percent of total tests from Jan. 6-12 is 7.3%, and the seven-day test positivity rate is 8.3%.

Statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past 24 hours increased from 3,553 patients to 3,642 patients. Of that figure, 749 patients were in the ICU, with 386 patients on ventilators.

As of Tuesday night, 703,525 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago. In addition, approximately 268,525 doses have been allocated to the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership Program for long-term care facilities. IDPH is reporting a total of 384,658 vaccines administered, including 48,811 for long-term care facilities. The 7-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is approximately 25,400 doses.

Today’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures showed more than 22.7 million confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. (a daily increase of more than 217,000 cases), with 379,255 deaths.

Today’s WHO Coronavirus Disease Dashboard showed more than 90.3 million COVID-19 cases globally (a daily increase of more than 593,000 cases), with more than 1.95 million deaths. The Region of the Americas (includes the U.S.) continues to lead the world with more than 39.8 million cases and more than 925,000 deaths.


Final Snapshot on 2021 ACA Marketplace Enrollment
On Tuesday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final weekly enrollment snapshot that shows more than 8.25 million people selected individual market plans through the ACA Marketplaces using the federal platform during the 2021 Open Enrollment Period. This total enrollment is nearly the same as enrollments during the 2020 Open Enrollment Period, despite the fact that New Jersey and Pennsylvania transitioned to State-based Exchange platforms starting with the 2021 Open Enrollment Period.
 
As a result of their transition, selections in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are not included in this snapshot. After removing these states from the total plan selection totals in the 2020 Open Enrollment Period and comparing year-over-year trends shows plan selections this year increased by 7.0% from 2020 despite a decline in new consumers.
 
In Illinois, the enrollment numbers are nearly the same for the 2021 and 2020 enrollment periods (291,215 and 292,945).