IHA Daily Briefing: Jan. 6

Wednesday, January 6, 2021
Governor Announces Next Phase of Vaccine Plan
What Black America Needs to Know: COVID & Vaccines
Next ILPQC COVID-19 OB/Neonatal Webinar on Friday
State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates
Summary: Year-end Federal Legislation - IHA Priorities
CMS Extends Deadline for Opioid Treatment Applications

Governor Announces Next Phase of Vaccine Plan
Governor J.B. Pritzker this afternoon announced the state’s guidelines for Phase 1B, the next stage of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, that the state will move to once Phase 1A (healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents and staff) is substantially complete.

To prioritize equity, the Governor said the state is lowering the vaccine age in Phase 1B from 75 to 65 while also including frontline essential workers. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recommended that Phase 1B include people 75 and older and frontline essential workers.

“ACIP’s guidance serves as the foundational for Illinois’ Phase 1B plan, with one key adjustment: here in Illinois we are more strongly pursuing equity in the distribution of our vaccinations,” said Governor Pritzker. “For people of color, multi-generational institutional racism in the provision of healthcare has reduced access to care, caused higher rates of environmental and social risk, and increased co-morbidities. I believe our exit plan for this pandemic must, on balance, overcome structural inequalities that has allowed COVID-19 to rage through our most vulnerable communities.”

The Governor noted that currently, the average age of COVID-19 death is 81 for White residents, 72 for Black residents and 68 for Latino residents.

The frontline essential workers designation includes many residents who carry a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure because of their work duties, often because they are unable to work from home, and/or they must work closely to others without being able to socially distance. Communities of color are disproportionately represented in many of these industries. The category defined by the federal government as frontline essential workers, which the CDC estimates as about 30 million Americans, includes first responders; education workers, including teachers, support staff and childcare workers; manufacturing, distribution and agriculture workers, including grocery store workers; postal service workers; public transit employees; corrections workers and incarcerated people, and others.

Under the updated Illinois guidelines, Phase 1B totals approximately 3.2 million people throughout the state.

At his afternoon press briefing, the Governor also said that as of Jan. 15, Tier 3 resurgence mitigations will be lifted in regions that meet pre-established criteria on positivity rates and hospital capacity metrics.


What Black America Needs to Know: COVID & Vaccines
According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, Black Americans are less inclined to get vaccinated for the coronavirus than other racial and ethnic groups: 42% would do so, compared with 63% of Hispanic adults and 61% of White adults. Also, a recent report from UnidosUS, the NAACP, and COVID Collaborative revealed that just 14% of Black Americans and 34% of Latinx Americans say they have trust in the safety of a new COVID-19 vaccine.

To address these issues, the Black Coalition Against COVID-19 is hosting a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, Jan. 7 at 6 p.m. CT entitled “ Making it Plain: What Black America Needs to Know About COVID-19 and Vaccines”. The event, which features speakers such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, will discuss these issues with an aim to provide education to the Black community about the vaccine and COVID generally.

The event will be streamed live at Facebook.com/BlackDoctor.Org and Youtube.com/BlackDoctorOrg. For more information about the Town Hall Meeting and the Coalition, click here.


Next ILPQC COVID-19 OB/Neonatal Webinar on Friday
The Illinois Perinatal Quality Collaborative (ILPQC), in partnership with the Illinois Dept. of Public Health, will hold its next monthly COVID-19 Strategies for OB/Neonatal Units Discussion webinar this Friday (Jan. 8) at 12 p.m. CT.

Leaders from OB and Neonatal units from around Illinois will share COVID-19 cases, lessons learned and answer questions on key issues that OB/Neonatal providers and staff are currently facing. Register here.

Registration is limited to 500 participants, but a recording of the webinar will be made available on the ILPQC website, www.ilpqc.org. The webinar will also be live streamed on ILPQC’s Facebook page here.

ILPQC has launched a COVID-19 OB / Neonatal resources webpage at https://ilpqc.org/covid-19-information.


State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced today 7,569 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and 139 deaths.

The total number of cases in the state is 999,288 with a total of 17,096 deaths. IDPH says that in the past 24 hours, 80,974 test specimens have been processed, with a positivity rate of 9.3%. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity rate for cases as a percent of total tests from Dec. 30 – Jan. 5 is 8.4%, and the seven-day test positivity rate is 9.9%.

Statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past 24 hours increased from 3,905 patients to 3,928 patients. Of that figure, 812 patients were in the ICU, with 451 patients on ventilators.

Today’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures showed more than 20.9 million confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. (a daily increase of more than 227,000 cases), with 356,005 deaths.

Today’s WHO Coronavirus Disease Dashboard showed more than 84.7 million COVID-19 cases globally (a daily increase of more than 303,000 cases), with more than 1.85 million deaths. The Region of the Americas (includes the U.S.) continues to lead the world with more than 37.1 million cases and more than 882,000 deaths.


Summary: Year-end Federal Legislation - IHA Priorities
On Dec. 28, President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) (H.R. 133) into law. The measure includes funding for the federal government through the 2021 fiscal year, COVID-19 relief, and additional provisions.

IHA worked closely with the Illinois Congressional delegation and the American Hospital Association to help shape this legislation, and we are pleased it contains important hospital and health system priorities, including relief from Medicare and Medicaid cuts, adjustments to Provider Relief Fund reporting, support for the healthcare workforce, and patient protections from surprise medical bills.

See IHA’s summary of the key healthcare policies included in the CAA.


CMS Extends Deadline for Opioid Treatment Applications
On Tuesday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an extension to the open period of the Request for Application to Thursday, Jan. 7, for the Value in Opioid Use Disorder Treatment (ViT) Initiative. The initiative is aimed at increasing access to opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment services to eligible Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS) beneficiaries.

A four-year demonstration, ViT creates two new payments to participating providers: 1) a per beneficiary per month care management fee (CMF) and 2) a performance-based incentive payment. These new payments will be made in addition to the OUD treatment services Medicare currently covers. Eligible applicants include, but are not limited to, hospital outpatient departments, critical access hospitals, rural health centers and community mental health centers.