IHA Daily Briefing: Jan. 17

Tuesday, January 17, 2023
IBHE Adds Nursing School Grants, Nurse Ed. Fellowships
103rd IL General Assembly Updates
TJC: Healthcare Equity Standard Elevated to NPSG
CDC, FDA: Pfizer Booster Not Linked to Stroke Risk
Webinar: Supporting Health of Rural LGBTQ Adults
Illinois COVID-19 Data
Briefly Noted


IBHE Adds Nursing School Grants, Nurse Ed. Fellowships
The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) announced Friday it has awarded 11 nursing school grants, totaling $750,000, and 40 nurse educator fellowships across the state, totaling $400,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2023. Compared to the previous year, seven more grants and 20 more fellowships were awarded thanks to an increase in funds in Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s FY23 budget supported by the General Assembly.

The grants awarded to institutions of higher education will help increase the number of registered professional nurses with high-quality postsecondary credentials to meet the demands of Illinois’ economy, and the awarded fellowships will help retain well-qualified nursing faculty at institutions of higher education that award degrees that lead to a registered nurse licensure.

“Nurses are on the front lines of every public health issue our state faces, and the past three years have only reinforced how absolutely vital and lifesaving their work is,” said Gov. Pritzker. “I’m proud that the Illinois Board of Higher Education is making it easier for health professionals to enter the field by combatting equity gaps in enrollment and training. These important steps increase health care access throughout the state so that all Illinoisans can receive the top-level care they deserve.”


103rd Illinois General Assembly Updates
After members of the 103rd General Assembly were sworn into office last Wednesday, the Illinois Senate adopted its operating rules for the 103rd General Assembly, which outlines the Senate Committees for the new General Assembly.

Additionally, Senate President Don Harmon and House Speaker Emmanuel “Chris” Welch were reelected as majority caucus leaders. Sen. John Curran was elected to serve as House Minority Leader and Rep. Tony McCombie was elected as the first woman to serve as House Minority Leader. 

Both chambers of the General Assembly adjourned last Thursday and legislators are working in their districts this week. The Illinois Senate will resume session on Tuesday, Jan. 24. The Illinois House of Representatives will return to session on Tuesday, Jan. 31. 


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.


CDC, FDA: Pfizer Booster Not Linked to Stroke Risk
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement on Friday confirming there is no evidence that people 65 and older who receive a Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster are at increased risk of ischemic stroke.

The statement noted that the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Datalink surveillance system sparked an investigation into concerns that the booster may pose a health risk for those over age 65, specifically that they are more likely to have an ischemic stroke in the 21 days following vaccination compared with days 22-42 following vaccination. However, the statement confirmed, “A large study of updated (bivalent) vaccines (from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) using the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services database revealed no increased risk of ischemic stroke.” The agencies went on to say, “Although the totality of the data currently suggests that it is very unlikely that the signal in VSD (Vaccine Safety Datalink) represents a true clinical risk, we believe it is important to share this information with the public…when one of our safety monitoring systems detects a signal.”


Webinar: Supporting Health of Rural LGBTQ Adults
An upcoming webinar will explore the differences between the health needs and access issues of rural and urban adults who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ), and will highlight opportunities to improve rural LGBTQ health through policy and programming. Click here to register for the Jan. 18 webinar at 1 p.m. CT, hosted by the Rural Health Research Gateway.

During the webinar, researchers will describe rural/urban differences in health and access to care, including differences in self-rated health, chronic conditions and mental health outcomes. This webinar will also include results from a series of key informant interviews on challenges and opportunities to improve rural LGBTQ health, as well as descriptions of case studies describing organizations working to support rural LGBTQ health. 


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
The first guidance on childhood obesity in 15 years was issued last week by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The AP reported that the new guidelines say,” Children struggling with obesity should be evaluated and treated early and aggressively, including with medications for kids as young as 12 and surgery for those as young as 13.” These guidelines are a departure from previous practice, which recommended “watchful waiting” to determine if the child or teen would “outgrow or overcome obesity on their own.”

Reducing electronic health record inbox notifications doesn’t have a significant impact on clinician burnout, according to a study published in The American Journal of Managed Care. As part of the study, “researchers estimated the share of PCPs experiencing clinician burnout using VHA All Employee Survey responses before and after” a 2017 initiative launched by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) “to reduce low-value EHR inbox notifications.” The study also found that “inbox optimization did not always result in fewer notifications.”