IHA Daily Briefing: Jan. 13

Friday, January 13, 2023
Telehealth Indicator: Doctors and Clinicians
AHRQ: Mental Health Emergency Dept. Visits
WHO: New Mpox Guidance
TJC: Healthcare Equity Standard Elevated to NPSG
Webinar for National Practitioner Data Bank Admins
Illinois COVID-19 Data
Briefly Noted


Telehealth Indicator: Doctors and Clinicians
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has added a new telehealth indicator in Medicare Care Compare and in the Provider Data Catalog to help patients and caregivers find clinicians who provide telehealth services. The tool can be used to find and compare different types of Medicare providers, such as physicians, hospitals, nursing homes and others. The tool offers maps and filters to help patients identify appropriate providers. Click here to access a fact sheet on the telehealth indicator.


AHRQ: Mental Health Emergency Dept. Visits
Though there was no significant change in mental health emergency department (ED) visits occurring in adults between 2016 and 2018, while ED visits for children between 0-17 years old increased by 24.6% during that same time, according to the 2022 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report. Click here to access the report, which underscores “child and adolescent mental health has become an urgent concern.”

The report notes that the suicide death rate among adolescents 12-17 increased by 70.3% between 2008 and 2020, much greater than the overall population, which grew by 16.4%. However, data from 2008 to 2019 suggests “the rate of treatment has not substantially changed despite rising incidence of mental illness and suicide.” In 2020, “only 41.6% of adolescents ages 12-17 with a major depressive episode in the last 12 months reported receiving treatment.”


WHO: New Mpox Guidance
In late December, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated its mpox guidance, recommending that known case contacts avoid sexual contact with others for 21 days, whether symptomatic or not, given that transmission may occur before symptom onset. The guidance noted that quarantine or exclusion from work are not necessary as long as no symptoms develop, but known contacts should avoid sexual contact with others during the 21 days monitoring period, regardless of their symptoms, the guidance reads.

If mpox is suspected in a clinical or hospital setting, the WHO said providers should wear personal protective equipment and investigate patients in well-ventilated rooms. Learn more at cidrap.edu.

The guidance also officially replaces all WHO mentions of “monkeypox” with “mpox,” the new official name of the virus. The WHO suggested changing the name in late November. Mpox has caused 83,497 cases, 72 of them fatal, in 110 countries since May. Most cases (95.8%) have occurred as a result of sexual transmission between men who have sex with men.


TJC: Healthcare Equity Standard Elevated to NPSG
The Joint Commission (TJC) announced this week that effective July 1, 2023, it is elevating a Leadership Standard to address healthcare disparities as a quality and safety priority, as a new National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) for all hospitals. While current requirements for Joint Commission-accredited organizations will not change, the move seeks to emphasize the importance of health equity as a patient safety priority. Click here to read a TJC statement on the announcement.


Webinar for National Practitioner Data Bank Admin
The first training webinar for National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) administrators will be held by the Health Resources and Services Administration on Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. CT. Those who manage their organization’s NPDB account are encouraged to register for the webinar by clicking here.

The webinar will provide an explanation of the roles and responsibilities of the Data Bank administrator, including who can serve as a Data Bank administrator. The program will also cover NPDB account management, offering information on how to apply time-saving best practices for responsibilities involving accounts, passwords and other common tasks. Click here for more information about the NPDB.


Illinois COVID-19 Data
The Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) recently announced that it will follow the lead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and shift from daily reporting of new COVID-19 cases and deaths to weekly reporting. As of Jan. 1, daily case and death data are no longer being reported. IDPH will reports weekly data on Wednesday of each week for the previous week ending Sunday. IDPH will continue daily reporting of ICU bed availability and hospital admission data.


Briefly Noted
Child vaccine rates have dipped again, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Hill reported that while “overall vaccination rates among kindergartners remain high…coverage has dropped 2 percentage points from 95 percent in the pre-pandemic 2019-20 school year to 93 percent in 2021-2022.” The Director of the CDC’s Immunization Services Division said, ““While this might not sound significant, it means nearly 250,000 kindergarteners are potentially not protected against measles alone.”

The U.S. cancer death rate has fallen 33% since 1991, according to a report published this week in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. CNN reported this “corresponds to an estimated 3.8 million deaths averted,” which the report attributes to “improvements in cancer treatment, drops in smoking and increases in early detection.” The report also pointed to HPV vaccination, citing a 65% reduction in cervical rates from 2012 and 2019 among women in their 20s. The American Cancer Society’s chief scientific officer noted this “totally follows the time when HPV vaccines were put into use.”