IHA Daily Briefing: Jan. 9

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Hospitals, Chicago Tackle Homelessness
HHS Releases Draft Interoperability Framework
AMA: IL Docs Generated $73B in Economic Output

Hospitals, Chicago Tackle Homelessness
The University of Illinois Hospital announced yesterday that it is providing an additional $250,000 in funding to support its Better Health Through Housing Program. The program will provide permanent housing for 25 chronically homeless emergency department patients.

Through the funding, the hospital pays $1,000 per month to cover housing for each patient in the program. Additional housing subsidies are also available from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Case management services will be provided by the Chicago Center for Housing and Health.

Studies have shown that chronically homeless people have high rates of serious health conditions, including diabetes, asthma, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS and cancers, and are often “super-utilizers” of emergency departments.

Initially launched in 2015 with $250,000 from the hospital, the Better Health Through Housing Program funded housing for 26 patients. Results from that pilot program showed an 18 percent (conservatively) decrease in healthcare cost per client per month.

Chicago-area hospitals Swedish Covenant, Rush University Medical Center and John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County are developing or have launched similar projects to provide housing for homeless emergency department patients. Swedish Covenant and Rush University Medical Center are working with the Center for Housing and Health to provide housing support services, while Stroger Hospital is funding the creation of housing units for the chronically homeless and medically vulnerable.

Recently the city of Chicago developed a “Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool” (FHSP), which is scheduled to be introduced in the Chicago City Council Committee on Housing and Real Estate on Friday. Funding will total $1.8 million in 2018 and will pay for housing and supportive services for 50 homeless people in the city for a year. It is supported by a variety of city departments and private trusts and grants.

Read more about the FHSP.

HHS Releases Draft Interoperability Framework
As required by the 21st Century Cures Act, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services’ (HHS') Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) recently released the draft Trusted Exchange Framework, which proposes policies, procedures and technical standards necessary to advance the single on-ramp to electronic health information interoperability requested by Congress. It will be facilitated through ONC in collaboration with a single recognized coordinating entity (RCE) to be selected through a competitive process. The RCE will use the Trust Exchange Framework to develop a single Common Agreement that qualified health information networks and their participants will voluntarily agree to adopt.

HHS will accept comments on the draft Trusted Exchange Framework through Feb. 18. Following the public comment period and refinements to the draft document, a final draft of the combined Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement will be released and published in the Federal Register in 2018.

For more information see HHS’ press release.

AMA: IL Docs Generated $73B in Economic Output
According to the American Medical Association’s (AMA) newest economic impact report, physicians created an aggregate $2.3 trillion in the nation’s economy and supported the employment of nearly 12.6 million Americans in 2015. The report analyzed the economic activity of the nation’s nearly 750,000 physicians who provided patient care across healthcare settings, including hospitals, in 2015.

In Illinois, AMA found that in 2015, 30,258 physicians:

  • Supported 396,856 jobs—146,163 direct jobs and 250,693 indirect jobs;
  • Generated $73.2 billion in total economic activity—$34.4 billion in direct economic output and $38.8 billion in indirect economic output—representing 9.5 percent of Gross State Product;
  • Supported $34.8 billion in total wages and benefits—$21.5 billion in direct wages and benefits and $13.3 billion in indirect wages and benefits; and
  • Generated $3 billion in total state and local tax revenue.

Nationally, AMA calculated that in 2015:

  • Output—the state-level measure of both direct and indirect revenue—was $32.8 billion on average;
  • Physicians supported an average of 182,370 total jobs—direct and indirect—at the individual state level;
  • The average state-level value of physician-supported wages and benefits was $16.7 billion. At the national level, the figure was more than $1 trillion; and
  • The average physician support for state and local taxes was $1.3 billion at the state level, while nationally, physicians supported $92.9 billion in state and local tax revenues.

For more information, see AMA’s press release and interactive map of physicians’ impact across the country.