IHA Daily Briefing: March 11

RSVP for IHA's Hospital Advocacy Day April 30
President Trump Releases FY 2020 Budget Proposal
CMS Issues RFI on Health Insurance Coverage
NIH: Racial, Ethnic Childbirth Disparities Remain
Staph Infections Slowing: Still a Threat
Annual IHA Workers' Compensation Symposium May 2-3
Briefly Noted

RSVP for IHA’s Hospital Advocacy Day April 30
As part of our ongoing advocacy efforts, IHA will hold a special Hospital Advocacy Day in Springfield on Tuesday, April 30, providing you with a great opportunity to meet face-to-face with your legislators.

Over the next several weeks and months, the Illinois General Assembly will be focusing on issues of critical concern to the hospital community, including Medicaid managed care, mandatory nurse staffing ratios and the state budget/Medicaid funding. How these issues will be resolved hinges on our collective effectiveness in reaching legislators with our key messages and our strong, unified voice.

If you can attend, please RSVP by April 19. Indicate on the RSVP form which state legislators you would like to meet with in the order of your preference.

IHA will hold a morning briefing for hospital CEOs and other hospital leaders on April 30 at The Inn at 835. Participants will receive briefing papers and talking points to use with legislators.

President Trump Releases FY 2020 Budget Proposal
The Trump administration released a summary of its fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget today, which includes blunt cuts to the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and $8.6 billion to build a wall on the U.S. and Mexico border.

The President’s budget, which is dead upon arrival in Congress, would cut Medicare by $845 billion over the next 10 years, and use block grants to states to curb growth in Medicaid spending.

Among other proposals, the budget would reduce Medicare spending by expanding site neutral payment policies and increasing Medicare’s authority to conduct prior authorization on services at high risk of fraud and abuse.

The budget proposal also includes a new, multi-year initiative to eliminate new HIV infections in the U.S., an increase in resources to address the opioid epidemic, and a budget neutral increase to payments for primary care providers.

A budget fact sheet is available.

CMS Issues RFI on Health Insurance Coverage
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a request for information (RFI) last week seeking recommendations on how to eliminate regulatory, operational and financial barriers to enhance issuers’ ability to sell health insurance coverage across state lines.

In particular, CMS is interested in feedback on how states can take advantage of Section 1333 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which provides for the establishment of a regulatory framework that allows two or more states to enter into a Health Care Choice Compact to facilitate the sale of health insurance coverage across state lines. CMS is primarily looking for input on how the agency can expand access to health insurance coverage, effectively operationalize the sale of health insurance coverage and understand the financial impacts of selling health insurance coverage across state lines.

Comments are due May 6.

NIH: Racial, Ethnic Childbirth Disparities Remain
According to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) analysis of nearly 20 years of California hospital records, racial and ethnic disparities in severe maternal morbidity — life-threatening maternal complications associated with childbirth — have persisted and increased at high rates among U.S. women. The NIH says that known risk factors for these complications — such as blood pressure disorders, asthma and Caesarean birth — do not fully explain the increase or why the disparities remain.

The study authors analyzed data from more than 8 million live births in California between 1997 and 2014. Severe maternal morbidity was highest among non-Hispanic black women (1.63 percent), followed by non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native women (1.30 percent), non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander women (1.10 percent) and Hispanic women (1.09 percent). Severe maternal morbidity was lowest among non-Hispanic white women at .84 percent.

During the study period, severe maternal morbidity increased roughly 170 percent for each group. Future studies might seek information not available from hospital records and healthcare providers to find reasons for the disparities among racial and ethnic groups, the authors wrote.

Staph Infections Slowing; Still a Threat
Data from a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vital Signs report shows that more than 119,000 people suffered from bloodstream Staphylococcus aureus (staph) infections in the United States in 2017 – and nearly 20,000 died.  The findings show that hospital infection control efforts successfully reduced rates of serious staph infections in the U.S. Recent data, however, show that this success is slowing and staph still threatens patients.

The new data reflect rates for all Staphylococcus aureus infections: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA). While MRSA is often better known, the report underscores that all staph can be deadly and that healthcare providers and administrators can take prevention steps to protect their patients.

According to electronic health record data from more than 400 acute care hospitals and population-based surveillance data from CDC’s Emerging Infections Program, MRSA bloodstream infections in healthcare settings decreased nationally by approximately 17 percent each year between 2005 and 2012. These reductions have recently started to stall, causing concern. The report also showed an almost 4 percent increase in MSSA infections that started outside of a healthcare setting each year from 2012 to 2017.

The Great Lakes Partners for Patients Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN) a unique collaboration between IHA, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association and Wisconsin Hospital Association, is working to reduce hospital-acquired conditions by 20 percent and readmissions by 12 percent.

Annual IHA Workers' Compensation Symposium May 2-3
IHA's annual Workers' Compensation Symposium is back this spring. Held at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield on May 2-3, this event will dive into the Illinois Health Care Violence Prevention Act that affects all healthcare providers. Compliance with this law can prevent injury and reduce costs.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration experts and law enforcement officials will discuss:

  • Compliance requirements for a safer workplace;
  • Training tactics for incident prevention and response;
  • Methods to identify potential hazards; and
  • The latest legal trends in Illinois and Iowa.

Managers and clinicians from several departments are encouraged to attend, including human resources, nursing and legal, as the new law impacts staff across hospital departments.

This event is hosted by IHA Insurance Solutions in partnership with the Central Illinois Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration. Registration will open in early April.

Briefly Noted
On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its February employment report showing 20,000 jobs added for the month and a slight decline (0.2 percent) in the unemployment rate to 3.8 percent. The healthcare sector continues to add jobs with 21,000 jobs in February and 361,000 jobs over the year (including 4,200 new hospital jobs last month.)