IHA Daily Briefing: June 10

Monday, June 10, 2019
IHA Pushes for Hospital Fair Workweek Exemption
IHA Letter Urges Delegation to Use IL Surprise Billing Laws
Submission Deadline for IHA Quality Awards Is Friday

IHA Pushes for Hospital Fair Workweek Exemption
As the Daily Briefing went to press, IHA President and CEO A.J. Wilhelmi was set to testify at a City of Chicago Workforce Development and Audit Committee hearing on the Fair Workweek ordinance. The proposed ordinance would impose a rigid scheduling mandate on Chicago hospitals and their employees, among others.

Earlier in the day, key members of the Work Your Way Coalition, which includes IHA and 35 other members in favor of flexible scheduling options in Chicago, participated in a press conference at City Hall. Wilhelmi’s remarks stressed the need to have the committee exempt hospitals from the ordinance, saying, “Hospitals across Chicago have unique needs and demands. They must have flexibility in scheduling – to align and deploy their employees – so that each and every one of their patients receives timely and efficient healthcare.”

Hospital representatives joining Wilhelmi at the press conference were Deatra Howard, vice president and chief nursing officer, The Loretto Hospital, and Brian Radakovitz, regional director, facilities, AMITA Health.

See IHA’s fact sheet and letter to the workforce committee for more details.

IHA Letter Urges Delegation to Use IL Surprise Billing Laws
IHA urged the Congressional delegation to use successful Illinois state laws as a model for federal legislation on surprise billing. In a letter sent to Capitol Hill today, IHA President and CEO A.J. Wilhelmi wrote:

"Illinois is one of only nine states with comprehensive laws that ensure patients are not burdened by unanticipated medical bills after receiving emergency care or treatment in an in-network hospital. These successful state-level approaches should be considered as a model for federal legislation...

"Illinois laws protect patients from surprise medical bills by banning the practice of balance billing and removing the patient from disputes between providers and insurance plans. In the event a dispute arises between providers and health plans, Illinois uses 'baseball-style' arbitration as the binding dispute resolution process.  In this process, each party must submit a proposed best and final offer to the arbitrator, who chooses one of the two, without modification.  In addition to expediting dispute resolution, this approach has proven to be significantly less costly than traditional arbitration or litigation."

The letter also expresses strong opposition to federal rate-setting proposals, such as using a percentage of Medicare rates or the median in-network amount in a geographic area.

"IHA strongly opposes setting rates for physicians and hospitals in federal statute and requests that you protect the role of private contract negotiation in healthcare...IHA is concerned that expanding government rate-setting to the private sector could lead to an immediate, harmful reduction in hospital resources, which would threaten access to care.  Additionally, health insurance companies would have no incentive to negotiate with providers or establish adequate coverage networks, which could especially harm patients living in rural areas. If insurers are allowed to pay out-of-network providers less than they would pay if those providers were in their network, these insurers will have little incentive to contract with these providers and pay them an appropriate rate.”

Submission Deadline for IHA Quality Awards Is Friday
Just a few days remain to finalize your organization's application for the 2019 IHA Quality Excellence Achievement Awards. The entry period closes at noon this Friday, June 14.

Each hospital may submit one project. Health systems may submit one system-wide project in addition to the one project per hospital in their system. Project categories are:

  • Behavioral Health;
  • Care Coordination;
  • Infection Prevention;
  • Opioid Stewardship;
  • Patient Safety;
  • Social Determinants of Health; and
  • Workplace Safety.

IHA's Quality Awards offer a chance for your organization's quality improvement work to be recognized and celebrated. A national panel of healthcare quality experts will judge the submissions, awarding bonus points for submissions that demonstrate the integration of patient/family engagement principles.

Award recipients will be notified in August and honored at the 2019 IHA Leadership Summit on Sept. 26.  Submit your organization's quality improvement work today.