IHA Daily Briefing: July 29

Friday, July 29, 2022
HHS Brief on Healthcare Web App Attacks
IDPH Prioritizes 1st Dose of Monkeypox Virus Vaccines
Illinois Harm Reduction Summit Set for Aug. 23-24
CMS Releases Maternity Care Action Plan
Illinois COVID-19 Update
Briefly Noted

HHS Brief on Healthcare Web App Attacks
Basic web application attacks can target patient portals, frequently relying on stolen credentials or other vulnerabilities to access patient data. These applications attacks targeting healthcare entities can impact the confidentiality, integrity and availability of healthcare applications, systems, data and resources.

In response, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services’ Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center (HC3) recently made available a brief offering tips, best practices and additional resources to help healthcare organizations protect themselves from these basic web application attacks.

The document also offers background information on web applications, specifically identifying examples of healthcare web applications. It also walks through common web application attacks, highlights historical cyber incidents involving web apps in healthcare, and outlines types of threat actors and tools used for these web application attacks.


IDPH Prioritizes 1st Dose of Monkeypox Virus Vaccines
Yesterday, the Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) announced that due to limited supplies of the vaccine for monkeypox virus (MPV), the state is prioritizing the first dose of the vaccine for those eligible. The change is intended to ensure that as many individuals are vaccinated as soon as possible with a first shot in order to reduce the spread of the virus.

With the demand for the vaccine outstripping supplies, IDPH is advising local public health officials that unless people are in certain elevated risk categories, they should receive only an initial dose of the MPV vaccine until more supplies become available.

Illinois is currently reporting 401 cases of confirmed or probable MPV in the state, with 85% of them in Chicago and the rest in 13 counties around the state, including Cook County. The state has received 7,371 doses of the Jynneos vaccine and the City of Chicago has received 18,707 doses. The state has designated 4,631 doses of its inventory to the City of Chicago.

In many instances, this directive will mean that individuals will not get a second dose at 28 days after their first dose. The policy is consistent with the distribution strategy taken in other U.S. jurisdictions, including the City of Chicago as well as the United Kingdom and Canada. Studies have shown the vaccine offers protection for at least several months after the first dose. IDPH recommends that second doses should be scheduled as soon as sufficient vaccine becomes available.

For more information about IDPH’s response to MPV, click here. To learn more about how the CDC is addressing MPV, click here.


Illinois Harm Reduction Summit Set for Aug. 23-24
The 2022 Illinois Harm Reduction Summit, which will be virtual, is set to take place on Aug. 23-24.

The event will promote the delivery of harm reduction services in Illinois, which engage people who use drugs to support connection, safety and an improved quality of life.

The keynote presentation, “A History of Harm Reduction,” will be presented by Maia Szalavitz, an award-winning neuroscience author, journalist and mental health advocate.

The event is in partnership with Illinois State University Conference Services and the Illinois Dept. of Public Health.

To register, click here. If you have questions, emails can be directed to Megan McCann at memccan@ilstu.edu.


CMS Releases Maternity Care Action Plan
This week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) unveiled its Maternity Care Action Plan to support the implementation of the White House Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis.
 
According to a news release, the action plan takes a holistic and coordinated approach across CMS to improve health outcomes and reduce inequities for people during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.

Through the action plan, CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure encouraged industry stakeholders—including healthcare facilities, insurance companies, state officials and providers—to consider key commitments the private sector can make to improve maternal health outcomes. Proposed commitments can be submitted by clicking here.

In addition to the action plan, CMS extended Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage for 12 months after pregnancy in Connecticut, Kansas and Massachusetts. Illinois is among the states with extended postpartum coverage, which was made possible through legislation championed by U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (IL-2) that was included in the American Rescue Plan.

For more information on CMS plans and programs or to learn more about the Maternal Care Action Plan, click here.


Illinois COVID-19 Update
The Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 5,913 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and five COVID-19 deaths.

Most recent IDPH hospitalization data show 1,459 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 153 patients were in the ICU and 43 patients were on ventilators.

The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily in Illinois is 12,671 doses. IDPH reported that 78.1% of Illinoisans (18 years and older) have been fully vaccinated, while 86.3% have received at least one vaccination dose. For the Illinois population 12 years and older, 77% have been fully vaccinated, while 85% have received at least one vaccination dose. For the Illinois population 5 years and older, 73.6% have been fully vaccinated and 81.3% have received at least one dose.

Today, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), in collaboration with the U.S. Dept. of Defense (DOD), announced an agreement to purchase 660 million doses of Moderna’s bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster candidate for potential use in the fall and winter. This purchase is in addition to the 105 million bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster doses the U.S. government purchased recently from Pfizer for potential use later this year, pending authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Pending those FDA and CDC actions, HHS would receive the first deliveries of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine booster doses in early fall.


Briefly Noted
Today, Gov. JB Pritzker and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced next steps as relates to Illinois’ approximately $760 million share of the $26 billion national opioid settlement agreement with the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors—Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen—and manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. The funding will be distributed by the Illinois Dept. of Human Services, and is expected to support critical recovery and treatment programs throughout the state. Click here for more information.

Yesterday, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Dept. of Labor and Dept. of the Treasury issued guidance to clarify birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to the statement, “Under the ACA, most private health plans are required to provide birth control and family planning counseling at no additional cost.”