IHA Daily Briefing: May 13

Friday, May 13 2022
IHA Health Equity Action Day: Hospitals Embrace Change
2-Hour Online Sexual Assault ED Training Available
Hospital Labor Costs Driving Expenses Up, Margins Down
CDC COCA Call on Child Hepatitis Testing, Reporting
Illinois COVID-19 Update
Briefly Noted

IHA Health Equity Action Day: Hospitals Embrace Change
Collective and coordinated effort defined today’s IHA Health Equity Action Day, which brought together over 1,000 healthcare professionals, legislators, and staff from the Chicago Dept. of Public Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, the American Medical Association and other state hospital associations. This inspiring and thought-provoking virtual event showcased the commitment of hospital leaders to embrace the change needed to improve health, particularly for historically marginalized communities.

On this second annual Health Equity Action Day, Accelerating Health Equity Across Illinois, keynote speaker Heather McGhee challenged participants not to be “color-blind but color-brave” as she discussed the lessons she learned about race on her “journey across the country from California to Mississippi, from Maine and back again.” McGhee’s address, “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,” drew from her bestselling book of the same name.

“This is a journey that we are all on. We’ve got to look at where the disparities are, listen deeply to the communities who are facing them and co-create the kinds of solutions that ultimately will have benefit for everyone,” said McGhee, a policy expert who led a non-partisan think tank for four years.

McGhee debunked the idea that progress for one group has to come at the expense of another, a zero-sum world view that is racialized in America,” she said, and has cost the U.S. economy $16 trillion over the past 20 years.

The lack of collective solutions for collective problems impacts healthcare, McGhee said. “Everyone in our highly healthcare-dependent economy needs to have these kinds of supports (such as Medicaid) to ensure a robust system of healthcare coverage and delivery.... It’s clear that it’s in our collective interest to get smarter, to be better scientists, to be better care providers about these issues for the communities that are often underserved.”

Also during morning programming, IHA launched the 2022 Racial Health Equity in Healthcare Progress Report (Progress Report) and the Progress Report implementation playbook, with human-centered design tools to translate data from the Progress Report into action. As measuring progress is key to long-term accountability, IHA asked all members to complete the 2022 Progress Report survey this summer.  Hospitals that complete the report can participate in two IHA-led learning collaboratives from June 15 to Aug. 15 or Sept. 15 to Nov. 15 to help them develop charters (or action plans) to implement their health equity activities.

Four equity initiatives shared through videos and panel discussions during the event aligned with the four pillars of the Progress Report:

  • Our People—Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago;
  • Our Organization—NorthShore – Edward-Elmhurst Health, Naperville;
  • Our Patients—OSF HealthCare Saint Luke Medical Center, Kewanee; and
  • Our Community—Memorial Health, Springfield.

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago discussed the impact of a series of internal “courageous conversations” about race. NorthShore – Edward-Elmhurst Health showed how insights from its health equity dashboard resulted in new diabetes management efforts in minority communities. OSF HealthCare Saint Luke Medical Center previewed its patient transportation project. Memorial Health focused on partnerships to better identify and respond to community health needs.

In reflecting on these success stories, IHA Board Chair Ted Rogalski, Administrator of Genesis Medical Center, pointed out that the causes of health disparities are similar in both urban and rural communities. While Illinois hospitals are at different points on their path toward health equity, he said, “we all know more can and must be done.”

Urban and rural communities “both have deep pockets of poverty, with some downstate counties reporting pockets of poverty rates of 30%, with too many people, especially Latinx and Black residents, still uninsured. Many residents suffer with inadequate food and housing. Transportation is still a barrier to accessing healthcare. And there’s a lack of access to specialists, especially mental health professionals,” Rogalski said.

Health Equity Action Day sought to both celebrate hospital efforts and provide a path for our collective path forward. Working on health equity issues is not new for IHA and the Illinois hospital community, said IHA President and CEO A.J. Wilhelmi, yet “we are ready to tackle the important work to come.”

“I’ve been with IHA for over 10 years now so I am well aware of the amazing work that our hospital members and their staff do day in and day out. We know that addressing racial health inequities will take time, patience and an atmosphere of collaboration,” Wilhelmi said.

“We’ve seen time and time again that when the Illinois hospital community speaks with one voice and acts collectively, we achieve our objectives,” he added. “By working together, hospitals across Illinois have the opportunity to dismantle systemic racism in a way that no individual provider could.”

IHA thanks all members who participated today. Please use our comprehensive list of activities with your staff as we continue the momentum of progress toward equity. Videos of the full program, as well as McGhee’s keynote address and interview will be available soon. McGhee’s videos will be available until July 13.

2-Hour Online Sexual Assault ED Training Available
Per the Sexual Assault Survivors Emergency Treatment Act, sexual assault treatment hospitals and treatment hospitals with pediatric transfer are required to ensure that emergency department attending physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice registered nurses and registered professional nurses providing clinical services that do not meet the definition of a qualified medical provider (sexual assault nurse examiner, sexual assault forensic examiner or child abuse pediatrician) receive two hours of sexual assault training every two years.

First required in 2020, updated training for 2022 is now available and instructions on how to access the training and how to receive CMEs/CEUs can be found here.

This Office of the Attorney General training can satisfy the training requirements along with a hospital's information on the hospital’s sexual assault-related policies and procedures, or hospitals may create their own educational training that contains:

  • Information provided on the provision of medical forensic services;
  • Information on the use of the Illinois Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit;
  • Information on sexual assault epidemiology, neurobiology or trauma, drug-facilitated sexual assault, child sexual abuse, and Illinois sexual assault-related laws; and
  • Information on the hospital’s sexual assault-related policies and procedures.

Hospital Labor Costs Driving Expenses Up, Margins Down
A nationwide shortage of healthcare workers, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and increased reliance on contract labor, is driving up hospital expenses and contributing to steep declines in profit margins, according to a new report by Kaufman Hall.

Research revealed that hospital labor expenses increased by more than one-third from pre-pandemic levels and contract labor as a percentage of total labor expenses increased more than five times the rate from pre-pandemic levels.

According to the report, as of March 2022, the median wage rate for contract nurses had risen to more than three times that of employed nurses.

All regions had notable increases in labor expenses from pre-pandemic levels through March 2022, however, the study shows the South and West had the highest percentage increases in labor costs, 43% and 42% respectively. Meanwhile, the West and Northeast/Mid-Atlantic regions consistently had the highest labor expenses throughout this time period.

The findings suggest that healthcare leaders confront the workforce challenge by reworking financial plans, enhancing recruitment and retention efforts, and analyzing data to improve process and workforce efficiency.

Download the full report here.

CDC COCA Call on Child Hepatitis Testing, Reporting
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a cluster of children identified to have hepatitis and adenovirus infection. According to the CDC, though there have been past case reports of hepatitis in immunocompromised children with adenovirus type 41 infection, adenovirus type 41 is not known to be a cause of hepatitis in otherwise healthy children. Notably, more common causes for hepatitis have been ruled out.

In response, the CDC will host a Clinician Outreach and Community Activity (COCA) call on Thursday, May 19 from 1 – 3 p.m. Presenters will discuss the unknown etiology of patients under investigation, provide an update on progress of the investigation, and offer guidance on how clinicians can continue to support these efforts through testing and reporting.

You do not need to register, but are encouraged to join via Zoom a few minutes before the webinar starts by clicking here. The passcode is 854934.

If you are unable to attend the live COCA Call, the recording will be available for viewing on the COCA Call webpage a few hours after the live event ends.

The slide set will be available on the day of the call on the COCA Call webpage under Call Materials.

Free Continuing Education (CE) will be offered for this COCA Call.

Illinois COVID-19 Update
The Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 8,411 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, and seven COVID-19 deaths.

Most recent IDPH hospitalization data show 909 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 87 patients were in the ICU and 25 patients were on ventilators.

The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily in Illinois is 11,586 doses. IDPH reported that 78.2% of Illinoisans (18 years and older) have been fully vaccinated, while 87% have received at least one vaccination dose. For the Illinois population 12 years and older, 76.9% have been fully vaccinated, while 85.6% have received at least one vaccination dose. For the Illinois population 5 years and older, 73.4% have been fully vaccinated and 81.7% have received at least one dose.

Briefly Noted
Tragically, it’s estimated that nearly 319,000 COVID-19 deaths could have been averted, according to a new analysis released today. According to a statement from the Brown School of Public Health and Microsoft AI for Health, this means “at least every second person who died from COVID-19 since vaccines became available might have been saved if they had been vaccinated.”

For years, the cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has remained a medical mystery, with the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention estimating approximately 3,400 SIDS deaths annually. However, researchers now say a biochemical marker in the brain that plays a significant role in waking babies from sleep may be the cause. Click here to access the study.