IHA Daily Briefing: Jan. 7

Thursday, January 7, 2021
Illinois Hospital Leader Named to AHA Rural Council
HHS Announces $22B for Vaccinations, Testing
CDC on Allergic Reactions to Pfizer Vaccine
CDC on Optimizing PPE Supplies during Shortages
State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates
MIPS 2020 Data Submission and 2021 Resources

Illinois Hospital Leader Named to AHA Rural Council
On Wednesday, the American Hospital Association (AHA) announced the new members for 2021 on AHA’s Rural Health Services Council. They include Robert Schmitt, CEO of Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services in Gibson City. The Rural Health Services Council represents the AHA's small, rural and critical access hospital members by participating in the AHA's advocacy, policy and resource development, with a particular focus on strategic opportunities.


HHS Announces $22B for Vaccinations, Testing
The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) yesterday announced that more than $22 billion will be provided to states, localities, and territories for COVID-19 vaccination, testing and contact tracing activities before Jan. 19.

The funding includes more than $19 billion to be allocated through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity cooperative agreement to support testing, contract tracing, surveillance, containment, and mitigation to monitor and suppress the spread of COVID-19. Over $3 billion will be made available through the CDC Immunization and Vaccines for Children cooperative agreement to support a range of COVID-19 vaccination activities.

The state of Illinois will receive $574 million for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing and $90 million for vaccination activities. The city of Chicago will receive $155 million for testing and contact tracing and $24 million for vaccination activities.


CDC on Allergic Reactions to Pfizer Vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday issued a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on allergic reactions to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.  During December 14-23, 2020, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System detected 21 cases of anaphylaxis after administration of a reported 1.89 million first doses of the vaccine (11.1 cases per million doses); 71% of the cases occurred within 15 minutes of vaccination.

The CDC says locations administering COVID-19 vaccines should adhere to CDC guidance, including screening for contraindications and precautions, having necessary supplies available to manage anaphylaxis, implementing the recommended post-vaccination observation periods, and immediately treating suspected cases of anaphylaxis with intramuscular injection of epinephrine.


CDC on Optimizing PPE Supplies during Shortages
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated the CDC’s strategies to optimize personal protective equipment (PPE), which summarizes CDC’s strategies to optimize PPE supplies in healthcare settings and links to CDC’s guidance documents. These strategies offer a continuum of options when PPE supplies are stressed, running low, or absent.


State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced today 8,757 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and 177 deaths.

The total number of cases in the state is 1,008,045 with a total of 17,272 deaths. IDPH says that in the past 24 hours, 105,518 test specimens have been processed, with a positivity rate of 8.3%. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity rate for cases as a percent of total tests from Dec. 31 – Jan. 6 is 8.5%, and the seven-day test positivity rate is 9.8%.

Statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past 24 hours decreased from 3,928 patients to 3,921 patients. Of that figure, 783 patients were in the ICU, with 450 patients on ventilators.

“In a pandemic that has contained far too many tragic milestones, today’s marking of one million cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in Illinois deserves particular recognition,” said Governor J.B. Pritzker. “As this disease continues to wreak havoc on our nation – with the United States setting another record for the most COVID-19 deaths in a day just yesterday – it is critical that we take extra caution today and in the months ahead to reduce the spread, bring down hospitalization rates, and save lives., we can see the light at the end of this difficult time – let’s do everything we can to ensure all of our neighbors are able to be there as we cross that finish line, healthy as well. With that goal in mind, I encourage all Illinoisans to choose to receive the protections of the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s your turn in line.”

The state’s previous mask mandate established through an emergency rule to the Control of Communicable Disease Code expired on Jan. 3, 2021.  However, a subsequent emergency rule was filed Jan. 4 and is in effect for 150 days.

Wednesday’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 85.9 million COVID-19 cases globally (a daily increase of more than 735,000 cases), with more than 1.87 million deaths. The Region of the Americas (includes the U.S.) continues to lead the world with more than 37.5 million cases and more than 889,000 deaths.


MIPS 2020 Data Submission and 2021 Resources
The data submission period for clinicians who participated in the 2020 Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) is open until March 31, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. CST. Clinicians may submit or review 2020 performance year MIPS data by signing in on the Quality Payment Program (QPP) webpage using their QPP access credentials. A QPP Access User Guide is available to help clinicians that must register with Health Care Quality Information Systems (HCQIS). Clinicians who wish to check their eligibility for the QPP should reference the QPP Participation Status Tool. Note, CMS extended the 2020 MIPS Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Exception application deadline to Feb. 1, 2021 for clinicians seeking a data submission extension; see an IHA memo for more information.

Additionally, 2021 MIPS resources, including the 2021 MIPS Measure Specifications, are available in the QPP Resource Library. 2021 MIPS payment adjustments are based on each MIPS eligible clinician’s 2019 MIPS Final Score. These payment adjustments apply to Part B covered professional services payable under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. 


See the 
2021 MIPS Payment Adjustment Fact Sheet for more information. Clinicians can contact the QPP with questions at QPP@cms.hhs.gov or 1-866-288-8292.