IHA Daily Briefing: Nov. 12

Thursday, November 12, 2020  
IDPH Hospital Survey on Antibody Treatment
IL Receiving Largest Antibody Treatment Allocation
HHS Hospital Data Reporting Webinar Friday
Chicago Issues Stay-at-Home Advisory
State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates
$100M Telehealth Funding Opportunity – Dec. 7 Deadline
2021 Medicare Parts A & B Premiums and Deductibles

IDPH Hospital Survey on Antibody Therapy
The Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) is asking hospitals and health systems to complete a survey to assess their capabilities to deliver Eli Lilly’s monoclonal antibody therapy, bamlanivimab. This assessment is needed by IDPH to determine the best process for allocation and distribution of the therapy.

Hospitals that are part of a health system should communicate with their corporate office to ensure only one respondent per facility is received. The survey (click here) must completed by tomorrow, Fri., Nov. 13 at 12 p.m.

For more information regarding planning, implementation, and administration of the therapeutic, see the Lilly Bamlanivimab Antibody Playbook.

IL Receiving Largest Antibody Treatment Allocation
The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services yesterday announced plans to allocate initial doses of bamlanivimab, which received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this week for the treatment of non-hospitalized patients with mild or moderate confirmed cases of COVID-19.

According to the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), Illinois is receiving 6,380 vials of the antibody treatment, the largest initial allocation of any state in the country, during the week of Nov. 9-17 (8% of the total allocation).

On Oct. 28, the federal government announced a purchase of 300,000 doses of bamlanivimab. HHS will allocate these doses to state and territorial health departments which, in turn, will determine which healthcare facilities receive the infusion drug. The federal government can purchase up to 650,000 additional doses if needed, through June 30, 2021, for distribution across the country.

HHS ASPR says in general, a state/territory’s percentage of the national total number of confirmed COVID-19 patients and the total number of confirmed hospitalized patients during a 7-day reporting period will equal that state/territory’s percentage of available bamlanivimab for a given distribution week. Once allocation amounts are determined, HHS-ASPR will notify state/territorial health departments of their bamlanivimab allocations. State/territorial health departments, not the federal government, then determine how much bamlanivimab each healthcare facility within their respective jurisdictions can receive based on the state/territory’s total allocation. Healthcare facilities identified by their respective state/territorial health department to receive an allocation of bamlanivimab will coordinate shipping directly with the distributor, AmerisourceBergen.

HHS Hospital Data Reporting Webinar Friday
As a result of the high level of participation on previous webinars, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs is hosting an additional webinar to overview the updated guidance for hospital data reporting requirements. This fourth webinar will be Fri., Nov. 13 at 12 p.m. CT. To register, click here.

See a slide deck that will be reviewed by subject matter experts during this webinar and a Q&A document of the questions that HHS was not able to get to during the previous three webinars. There will be time for Q&A during the Friday webinar; however, the data team has set up an inbox to answer questions on these data collection efforts: Protect-ServiceDesk@hhs.gov.

For specific CMS enforcement questions or if you have not received the letter sent on October 7 by email or mail, contact QSOG_Hospital@cms.hhs.gov. If you are interested in the data reporting automation pilot, email USDS@cdc.gov.

Chicago Issues Stay-at-Home Advisory
Chicago is issuing a Stay-at-Home Advisory as part of a new “Protect Chicago” strategy to bend the COVID-19 curve. Chicago’s test positivity rate is now above 14%, with more than 1,900 new daily cases based on a 7-day rolling average, a higher rate than at any time during the pandemic. City officials say if changes are not made by Chicago residents, businesses, and visitors to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the city is on track to lose 1,000 more Chicagoans by the end of the year or even more.

“Chicago has reached a critical point in the second surge of COVID-19, demanding that we undertake this multi-faceted and comprehensive effort to stop the virus in its tracks,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “The gains we have made this past year have been the result of our willingness to work together. Even in this difficult moment, we will continue to unite as we always have for our city in order to halt the rise we’re seeing, shake out of the fatigue we’ve been experiencing, and make the crucial difference in what our future is going to look like.”

The Advisory, effective Mon., Nov. 16, calls on Chicagoans to follow several guidelines:

  • Only leave home to go to work or school, or for essential needs such as seeking medical care, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, picking up take-out food, or receiving deliveries. If you do leave home, practice social distancing by staying 6 feet away from others and wearing a face covering at all times.  
  • Do not have gatherings in your home with anybody outside of your household (except for essential staff such as home healthcare workers or educators), even with trusted family or friends.   
  • Avoid all non-essential, out-of-state travel; if travel is essential, quarantining or testing negative prior to travel is required, depending on which state a traveler is originating from.   
  • Comply with City and State Orders, including wearing face coverings, limiting gatherings, and mandating early closure of non-essential businesses at 11 p.m.   
  • Practice social distancing and avoid touching surfaces frequently touched by others if you go outside to get fresh air.   
  • Use remote modes of communication like phone or video chat instead of visiting friends or family, especially on holidays such as Thanksgiving.

The City is also imposing new restrictions to limit meetings and social events to 10 individuals (both indoors and outdoors), applying to events such as weddings, birthday parties, business dinners/social events, and funerals. More information on the new restrictions can be found at chicago.gov/reopening.

State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates
The Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) announced today 12,702 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases – another record high, the seventh straight day of more than 10,000 new cases and the third straight day of more than 12,000 cases – and 43 deaths.

The total number of cases in the state is 536,542 in 102 counties, with a total of 10,477 deaths. IDPH says that in the past 24 hours, 100,617 test specimens have been processed, with a positivity rate of 12.6%. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity rate for cases as a percent of total tests from Nov. 5 – Nov. 11 is 12.6%, and the seven-day test positivity rate is 13.9%.

Statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past 24 hours increased from 5,042 patients to 5,258 patients – another new record high. Of that figure, 956 patients were in the ICU, with 438 patients on ventilators.

Today’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures show more than 10.3 million confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. (an increase of more than 143,000 cases), with 241,069 deaths.

Today’s WHO Coronavirus Disease Dashboard shows more than 51.8 million COVID-19 cases globally (an increase of more than 579,000 cases), with more than 1.28 million deaths. The Region of the Americas (includes the U.S.) continues to lead the world with more than 22.2 million cases and more than 665,000 deaths.

$100M Telehealth Funding Opportunity – Dec. 7 Deadline
The Federal Communications Commission will accept applications to the Connected Care Pilot Program through Dec. 7. Today, IHA sent members a summary memo with details on the application process and on program eligibility for hospitals and health systems.

The program will provide up to $100 million from the Universal Service Fund over a three-year period to eligible healthcare providers to support the provision of telehealth and connected care services more broadly, primarily for low-income Americans and veterans. In order to support connected care services to the intended patient population, the pilot program will provide funding for selected pilot projects to cover 85% of the eligible costs of:

  • Broadband connectivity, including Internet security firewall services necessary to protect personally identifiable information (PII) and other sensitive patient information;   
  • Network equipment, including routers at the healthcare provider premises, routers for use at participating patient residences, servers, switches, and costs of engineering, furnishing (e., as delivered from the manufacturer), and installing eligible network equipment; and   
  • Information services, including HIPAA-compliant (or requirement waived) telehealth solutions, packages, platforms, suites of services, licenses, subscriptions, one-time, annual or recurring telehealth charges, implementation, or integration costs that facilitate the capturing, storing, and transmitting of health care data between healthcare provider and patient for purposes of connected care services.

2021 Medicare Parts A & B Premiums and Deductibles
On Nov. 6, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the 2021 Medicare Parts A & B premium, deductible and coinsurance amounts, all of which increased slightly compared to 2020.

Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital services, skilled nursing facilities, and some home health services. The Medicare Part A deductible will be $1,484 in 2021, an increase of $76 from 2020.

Medicare Part B covers physicians’ services, outpatient hospitals services, some home health services, durable medical equipment, and various other services. The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B participants will be $148.50 in 2021, an increase of $3.90 from 2020. The annual Part B deductible will be $203 in 2021, which is an increase of $5 from 2020.

CMS is aware that Medicare spending may increase due to patients seeking care that they postponed during the COVID-19 public health emergency. CMS also anticipates increased spending for COVID-19 treatments and vaccines as they become available.

Medicare Open Enrollment began on Oct. 15 and will close Dec. 7.  For more information, see a CMS fact sheet.