IHA Daily Briefing: July 8

July 8, 2019
IHA Overview of Spring 2019 Session
State Expands Access to Vaccines for Children
IHA's Fall Boot Camps Tackle Medicare Issues
Briefly Noted

IHA Overview of Spring 2019 Session
Today, IHA issued a detailed overview of key bills that it worked on during the spring 2019 session of the Illinois General Assembly to ensure the best possible outcomes for the hospital community.

Considering the volatile political environment and the many challenges IHA and the hospital community faced, by staying united and speaking with a unified voice, we were able to achieve many notable successes in the spring 2019 session.  Those successes include: Medicaid managed care reforms, no Medicaid cuts, no mandatory nurse staffing ratios, a $200 million Hospital and Healthcare Transformation Capital Grant Program, compromise legislation to mitigate potential harmful changes to the Certificate of Need Program, a five-year extension of the sales tax exemption for nonprofit hospitals, and a $55 million correction in the Outpatient Assessment rates for Critical Access Hospitals.

IHA also closely tracked and influenced hundreds of other bills and issues – successfully opposing or favorably modifying bills that would have imposed unnecessary or onerous burdens or requirements on hospitals and health systems. Strong member support and advocacy enabled IHA and the hospital community to work together to address difficult issues that we faced during the legislative session.


State Expands Access to Vaccines for Children
Last week, the Illinois Dept. of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) and the Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) announced the availability of vaccines for children covered under the Children's Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) through the Vaccines For Children (VFC) program. By ordering vaccines for CHIP-eligible children through the VFC program, it will increase the number of providers and help ensure vaccines are more readily available for low-income children.

The CHIP and VFC programs were separated in 2016, under the previous administration, and vaccines for children covered by CHIP were no longer able to be ordered through the VFC program. Under the new administration, HFS and IDPH have reunited the programs and increased provider participation so that all children in Illinois will be able to receive needed vaccines.

The newly rejoined program will allow providers to obtain vaccines for CHIP children via the VFC program without having to buy vaccines from private sources at market cost and be reimbursed later. As more physician practices, Federally Qualified Health Centers, health departments, and other providers across the state transition into the newly rejoined program, children covered by CHIP will also be able to get their Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended vaccines in their medical home.

"Illinois is committed to every child being vaccinated," said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. "The U.S. is seeing the greatest number of measles cases since 1992 despite the fact that measles was declared eliminated in 2000. Vaccination is the safest and most effective way to help prevent measles cases and outbreaks and we are continuing to take aggressive action to ensure that all children continue to have access to vaccines."

IDPH is urging parents to schedule back-to-school examination and vaccination appointments as soon as possible. For more information about CHIP in Illinois, visit the HFS website. Information about the VFC program can be found on the IDPH website.


IHA's Fall Boot Camps Tackle Medicare Issues
More than 2 million Illinoisans are enrolled in Medicare: Managing their patient status, obtaining correct reimbursement and preventing claim denials or delays can present challenges for hospital staff.

To support you as you navigate Medicare, IHA is hosting two HCPro Boot camps at our Naperville office this fall.

HCPro Revenue Integrity and Chargemaster Boot Camp® will be held Oct. 1-4 and will particularly benefit hospital staff who work in revenue integrity and medical records. Noted expert Valerie A. Rinkle, MPA, an active member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, will lead the course. Visit IHA's event page for information about the registration fee and continuing education credits. Register today.

HCPro Medicare Boot Camp®—Utilization Review Version will be held Oct. 29-30 and is designed for CNOs, CFOs, care coordinators and nurse managers. Gina Reese, Esq., RN, a certified mediator and Medicare expert, will lead this course. Visit IHA's event page for information about the registration fee and continuing education credits. Register today.

Both boot camps include extensive program books with essential information that patient financial services management, compliance staff and revenue cycle staff can refer to long after the courses end.

Past attendees have consistently rated the boot camp as excellent. Don't wait to reserve your spot!


Briefly Noted
The June employment report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the unemployment rate at 3.7%, with 6 million people unemployed for the month. About 224,000 jobs were added in June. Hospitals added 11,000 jobs in June. Employment in healthcare increased by 35,000 over the month and by 403,000 over the past 12 months.