IHA Daily Briefing: Jan. 8

Monday, January 8, 2018

IHA Quality Advocacy Showcase: Submit a Project
Camphor Products: A Cause for Concern
CBO/JCT Update CHIP Legislation Cost Estimate
Public Perception of Opioid Epidemic
FDA Update on Drug Shortages

IHA Quality Advocacy Showcase: Submit a Project
Share your organization's quality improvement efforts with legislators by participating in IHA's Quality Advocacy Showcase on Thursday, April 12, in the Illinois State Capitol Rotunda.

The event, in its third year, is designed to highlight the role of Illinois hospitals and health systems in advancing care while reducing costs. IHA will produce one professionally designed 30-by-42-inch poster per facility at no cost to members.

Posters will describe the issue your organization sought to address and how it was addressed, cost savings, and impact on patients, family and the community. See a sample poster for 2018.

The showcase is an important part of IHA's advocacy efforts. Our goal is to fill the rotunda with posters of projects from across the state and create opportunities for you to engage with legislators.

Last year's showcase highlighted quality improvement projects at 87 member hospitals and health systems—a 74 percent increase over the 50 member projects displayed at our inaugural showcase in 2016. We are looking to build on last year's success with even greater turnout this year.

Submit your organization's project today. The submission deadline is Friday, Feb. 16.


Camphor Products: A Cause for Concern
The holidays may be over, but cold and flu season is far from finished. Following three serious cases involving children who accidentally ingested over-the-counter cold symptom relief products containing camphor, the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) is warning families to be careful about how they store the medications they bring into their homes. Read more in the IPC’s latest press release.

CBO/JCT Update CHIP Legislation Cost Estimate
Following the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate in the recent tax overhaul, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have updated their cost estimate of S. 1827, the Keep Kids’ Insurance Dependable and Secure Act of 2017—legislation to extend federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for five years, through fiscal year 2022. The updated cost estimate shows an $800 million increase in the deficit over the next 10 years, which is significantly smaller than the agencies’ prior estimate primarily because the offset to the cost of funding CHIP for five years is larger.

In December, Congress extended the CHIP program at current levels through March. IHA continues to advocate for a five-year extension of CHIP, and lawmakers are seeking bipartisan agreement on how to pay for the extension.


Public Perception of Opioid Epidemic
In an effort to gauge public opinion on the opioid epidemic, a recent article published on the website of The New England Journal of Medicine examined data from seven national polls conducted in 2016 and 2017. Key findings include:
  • The public placed most of the blame for the problem on doctors who inappropriately prescribe painkillers (33 percent) and people who sell prescription painkillers illegally (28 percent), while 10 percent believed that people who take prescription painkillers are mainly responsible;
  • A majority believed that people addicted to painkillers have an illness (53 percent) rather than a personal weakness (36 percent);
  • On a list of 15 domestic policy issues that were possible priorities for Congress and the President for 2017, opioids ranked sixth, named by 24 percent as an extremely important priority, indicating that Americans considered taking increased national action to reduce deaths from opioid use a second-tier priority for government;
  • The public was divided on limiting the amount of prescription painkillers that doctors can prescribe, and 45 percent favored limiting the amount to a seven-day supply or less, except for cancer or conditions related to nearing the end of life, while 48 percent were opposed to such limits; and
  • About half of the public (49 percent) believed there’s a treatment for prescription painkiller addiction that’s effective long-term, while 34 percent believe there is no long-lasting treatment and 17 percent say they don’t know.
The authors highlighted the significance of the finding that a large share of the public was uncertain about the long-term effectiveness of treatment at a time when public- and private-sector leaders are seeking a substantial increase in government funding for opioid addiction treatment programs and legislation requiring insurers to offer coverage for these treatments. They noted that this impression could affect family referrals to treatment programs, as well as public support for them and for a government requirement that insurance cover their cost. The article concluded that there is a clear need for the medical and scientific communities to educate the public about the issues surrounding the potential effectiveness of treatment.
FDA Update on Drug Shortages
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an update on recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and on the state of existing drug shortages following Hurricane Maria. According to the FDA, all companies that manufacture products that were on its initial list of drugs at risk of potential shortages are back on the power grid, resulting in production increases. The FDA anticipates an improvement in the coming weeks in the shortage situation for pediatric and adult formulations of IV amino acids, a product of critical need for patients who are not able to eat and need to receive their nutrition intravenously. The agency also noted that it is continuing to pursue efforts to increase supplies of IV saline, although product availability concerns remain.