IHA Daily Briefing: May 8

In Today’s Issue
IHA Advocacy Day: Hospital Leaders Discuss State Priorities with Legislators
IHA Small & Rural Meeting: New Approaches to Workforce Challenges
Register: IHA Workshop on MDRO Prevention at Small, Rural Hospitals
Providing Primary Care and Needed Medications in Rural Communities
COVID-19 Information 
Leading the News

IHA Advocacy Day: Hospital Leaders Discuss State Priorities with Legislators 
Nearly 100 leaders of hospital and health systems from across the state met with dozens of Illinois lawmakers in Springfield today, as part of IHA’s Hospital Advocacy Day. 

The hospital community urged legislators to support priority legislation to preserve critical state General Revenue Funding for hospitals; advance Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) prior authorization reforms; help deter violence against healthcare workers; and protect the 340B drug discount program. 

“Our strength as an Association and as a hospital community comes down to all hospitals, across the state, working together with IHA, and communicating as a strong and unified voice. Advocacy Day is an excellent opportunity for hospital leaders to meet with their local lawmaker and share the challenges they continue to face. It’s also a forum to highlight the many important contributions hospitals make to community health and economic stability,” said A.J. Wilhelmi, IHA President and CEO.  

Hospital Advocacy Day is an opportunity for hospital and health system leaders from communities throughout the state to meet face-to-face with legislators and share first-hand how legislation will impact their organizations and the patients they serve.  

IHA Small & Rural Meeting: New Approaches to Workforce Challenges
What keeps hospital leaders up at night? Between 2004 and 2020, financial challenges topped the list in the American College of Healthcare Executives annual survey. Since 2020, workforce has become the No. 1 concern for hospital CEOs, due in part to pandemic-related strains on staff.

The 2024 IHA Small & Rural Hospitals Annual Meeting will look at the workforce issue in a new light with Huron's Holly Lorenz, a seasoned healthcare executive. She'll discuss the “ERA" mindset to workforce development—engage, retain and attract—with strategies that empower hospital leaders to build up their workforce stronger than before.

The session, “Transform Today to Create the Workforce of the Future," is part of the June 27 annual meeting at the Crowne Plaza Springfield. Lorenz will center the session on the leadership traits needed to recharge your staff, while unveiling strategies that comprise the ERA mindset.

Lorenz's expertise comes from over 40 years of healthcare leadership and health system operational experience. Before joining Huron as contracted speaker, Lorenz was:

  • Chief Nursing Executive for University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where she established and led the strategic vision for over 20,000 nurses;

  • Responsible for executive oversight of a nursing practice operating in more than 40 academic, community, specialty and international hospitals; and

  • Associate Dean for Clinical Relations at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Nursing.

Learn more about Lorenz and other expert presenters on our program webpage, where you'll find the full meeting agenda with session descriptions. Click here to register. 

IHA is also offering a small and rural webinar series with remaining sessions on May 14, Aug. 20 and Nov. 19. The May 14 session will focus on empowering middle managers to achieve hospital priorities. Click here to register for the webinars. 

Contact us with questions.

Register: IHA Workshop on MDRO Prevention at Small, Rural Hospitals
Multidrug-resistant organisms (MDRO) can spread in hospitals long before they're detected, making prevention, containment, outbreak response and antimicrobial stewardship important components of infection prevention. A complimentary IHA workshop for small and rural members will address all four components.

The program will be next Tuesday, May 15, at Pinckneyville Community Hospital from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. CT. It is designed for hospital leaders and staff who are responsible for or support their hospital's infection prevention program.

National, state and local experts will lead the workshop, covering:

  • Practical strategies that small and rural hospitals can implement to prevent the spread of MDRO;

  • The importance of interfacility communication in MDRO prevention and response;

  • Best practices and strategies for small and rural hospitals to implement core elements of an antimicrobial stewardship program.

Presenters include Cal Ham, MD, MPH, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Angela Tang, MPH, of the Illinois Dept. of Public Health; Kyle Johnicker, PharmD, of Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital; and Debbie Sullivan, MSN, FNP-C, of Ferrell Hospital.

The workshop will provide opportunities to apply MDRO containment and prevention strategies to real-life scenarios and to engage with infection prevention peers from other small and rural hospitals.

Continuing education credit is available for nurses and nurse leaders. There is no fee to attend. The program is funded by a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration. Register today

Contact us with questions.

Providing Primary Care and Needed Medications in Rural Communities
Without the federal 340B drug pricing program, Graham Medical Group health and urgent care clinics in Williamsfield, Glasford and Galesburg wouldn't exist. The program that began in 1992 requires pharmaceutical companies to sell medications at a discounted rate to healthcare providers like Graham Health System.

The 340B program has meant residents don't have to “go without the primary and urgent care they need and deserve," the health system said. With 340B savings, Graham Health System has also been able to provide financial assistance to patients unable to pay for their healthcare. In Canton, where Graham Hospital is located, 15% of the population lives in poverty. The poverty rate is almost 21% in Galesburg and over 19% in Glasford.

Healthcare providers participating in the 340B program serve predominantly low-income populations. Providers like Graham Health System take the money saved from discounted drug rates and invest it in patients and equipment to help keep medical care readily available in rural communities. Yet, like other hospitals and health systems, Graham Health System has been subject to restrictions drugmakers began imposing in 2020.

“The loss of 340B revenue from their actions is significant," the health system said, noting its 340B savings help “maintain an operating margin that allows us to continue to remain independent and keep services in the rural communities that we serve."

“We are a safety net provider in a rural area. Without us, our patients would need to travel 45 minutes or more for healthcare. Many don't have the means or the resources to do so," Graham Health System said.

IHA is advocating for Senate Bill 3727 to prohibit drugmakers from interfering with hospital pharmacy contracts. See our 340B landing page, “Increasing Access to Affordable Drugs," for more hospital stories, and an infographic and fact sheet on the impact of drugmaker restrictions.

Contact us with questions.

COVID-19 Information
The Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) has launched a weekly Infectious Respiratory Disease Surveillance Dashboard that will be updated weekly on Friday. This report provides the public with the latest data on hospital visits, seasonal trends, lab test positivity and demographic data. 

Click here to visit the IDPH COVID-19 resources webpage. IDPH will continue to report the weekly number of people with COVID-19 admitted to hospitals from emergency departments, deaths and vaccinations, with COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus information also reported through the dashboard of the Illinois Wastewater Surveillance System.

Leading the News

Which states pay for 'hospital at home'
Becker’s Hospital Review reported (5/7) that, “While CMS allows health systems to apply for waivers to be reimbursed for hospital-at-home care not all state Medicaid programs cover the care model.”

10 best, worst states for nurse work environment
Becker’s Hospital Review reported (5/7) that, “Washington and Massachusetts have the most favorable working conditions for nurses, according to WalletHub's 2024 ranking of the best and worst states for nurses.” 

Medicare and Social Security go-broke dates are pushed back in a ‘measure of good news’
AP reported (5/6) that, “The go-broke dates for Medicare and Social Security have been pushed back as an improving economy has contributed to changed projected depletion dates, according to the annual Social Security and Medicare trustees report Monday.”