IHA Daily Briefing: June 11

Monday, June 11, 2018

CMS Releases Opioid Guidance for Medicaid Program
OAG Joins Efforts to Oppose Motion to Halt ACA
Youth Tobacco Use Dropped Between 2011-2017
Send a Team to Revenue Training Opportunity
Briefly Noted

CMS Releases Opioid Guidance for Medicaid Program
Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance for states with Medicaid beneficiaries suffering from opioid addiction. This new guidance provides states with information on existing tools and resources available to them, types of approaches that can be used to maximize state reimbursement and expand services, and practices to address the needs of beneficiaries facing opioid addiction.

CMS also released an Informational Bulletin that provides states with information they can use when designing approaches to covering critical treatment services for Medicaid eligible infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Additionally, CMS issued a letter to states on how they may best use federal funding to enhance Medicaid technology to combat drug addiction and the opioid crisis.

Read more details in a CMS press release.


OAG Joins Efforts to Oppose Motion to Halt ACA
On Friday, the Illinois Office of the Attorney General (OAG) joined 16 other attorneys general to oppose a motion by the state of Texas and 18 other states (Texas et al. v. United States et al.) for a preliminary injunction to halt operation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) nationwide.

According to the OAG, if successful, Texas’ preliminary injunction would harm millions of Americans by:

  • Stopping Medicaid expansion;
  • Ending tax credits that help working families afford insurance;
  • Allowing insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions;
  • Taking away seniors’ prescription drug discounts; and
  • Stripping funding from our nation’s public health system, including work to combat the opioid epidemic.

Last Thursday, the federal defendants informed the court that it will not defend pre-existing condition protections and recommended that pre-existing condition protections and other requirements of the ACA be invalidated.


Youth Tobacco Use Dropped Between 2011-2017
According to newly published findings from the 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey, in 2017, 3.6 million middle and high school students reported having used a tobacco product in the past 30 days, down from 4.5 million students in 2011. Other highlights include:

  • During 2011–2017, prevalence of current use of any tobacco product decreased from 24.2 percent to 19.6 percent among high school students and from 7.5 percent to 5.6 percent among middle school students;
  • Electronic cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product among high school (11.7 percent) and middle school students (3.3 percent) in 2017; and
  • Among current tobacco users in 2017, 46.8 percent of high school students and 41.8 percent of middle school students used two or more tobacco products.

A related press release suggests that regulating the manufacturing, distribution and marketing of tobacco products, coupled with proven population-based strategies, can reduce youth tobacco use and initiation. These strategies include:

  • Increasing prices of tobacco products;
  • Protecting people from exposure to secondhand smoke and e-cigarette aerosol;
  • Sustaining hard-hitting media campaigns that warn about the dangers of tobacco product use; and
  • Restricting youth access to tobacco products.

Send a Team to Revenue Training Opportunity
No matter if they're brand new to medical billing or have spent their entire career at the intersection between health and finance, hospital staff can always learn more about reducing risk and minimizing leakage. IHA has partnered with HCPro to offer a program designed to help your teams – and your organization – avoid denials and improve clean claim rates.

Held July 23-26, the HCPro Revenue Integrity and Chargemaster Boot Camp® will relate chargemaster maintenance and functions to cost reporting, revenue integrity processes and key operational issues such as clinical documentation, charge capture and health information management (HIM) coding. These critical insights can help teams avoid denials and improve clean claim rates.

Because of the fast-paced nature of the course, it will be equally valuable to managers and frontline staff. To learn more about session topics, expert faculty, fees, continuing education credits, and registration, click here.


Briefly Noted
The past flu season was the deadliest for U.S. children in several years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week reported an additional pediatric flu-related death, bringing the total number this season to 172. This number exceeds the 2012-2013 season, which previously set the record for the highest number of flu-related deaths in children reported during a single flu season (excluding pandemics). About 80 percent of these deaths occurred in children who had not received a flu vaccination this season.