IHA Daily Briefing: Nov. 23

Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022
New National Broadband Map for Public Review
Youth Suicide Linked to MH Provider Shortage
Red Cross Urging Blood Donation
TB Training Series: 2020 RVCT Changes
Illinois COVID-19 Data
Briefly Noted

New National Broadband Map For Public Review
On Nov. 18, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the release of a new, draft National Broadband Map, which displays where broadband internet services are available across the country. On June 30, 2023, the finalized version of this map will be used to determine how to allocate $42.5 billion in federal funds among states and territories through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program.

Improved community broadband may in turn improve access and utilization of telehealth, so members may consider reviewing relevant regions within the draft map for accuracy and submitting any recommended challenges. The Illinois Office of Broadband is co-hosting two identical webinars on the FCC National Broadband Map with the Illinois Broadband Lab and University of Illinois Extension. The goal is to educate local governments, community organizations, and other stakeholders on how to use the map and provide feedback. To register for either webinar on Nov. 30 or Dec. 1 at 12 PM CT, click here.

Click here to view the map. You can search for addresses to see information about the fixed and mobile services that internet providers report are available there. You can also register feedback with the FCC to improve the map’s accuracy.

The final updated map will integrate data submitted by service providers, challenges from the public, and verifications and audits by the FCC. Data in the map that can be challenged includes fabric location data (e.g., updating an address, requests to add missing locations, and changing a building type in a serviceable location), fixed service availability data, and mobile service availability data.

Any challenges to the existing map should be made before Jan. 13, 2023 in order to incorporate that information into the map that will be used to set BEAD funding for each state, according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Contact us with questions.

Youth Suicide Linked to MH Provider Shortage
A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics links increased youth suicide rates with the growing shortage of mental healthcare professionals. After adjusting for county demographics and socioeconomic characteristics, the data associates living in a county with a mental health provider shortage with a 16% higher youth suicide rate, particularly youth suicide by firearm. 

“Our results underscore the critical need to expand the mental health professional workforce in counties across the country,” said lead author Jennifer Hoffmann, MD, MS, in a press statement. Dr. Hoffmann is an Emergency Medicine physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among U.S. children and adolescents, rates that have risen more than 50% over the last decade. Of the more than 5,030 youth suicides that Dr. Hoffman and her colleagues evaluated from 2015 to 2016, more than two-thirds were in counties designated as mental health workforce shortages areas. National data show more than 158 million Americans are living in a region with a shortage of mental health professionals.

“Mental health workforce capacity can be increased through integration of mental health care into primary care settings and schools, and through expansion of telehealth services,” said Dr. Hoffmann.

Red Cross Urging Blood Donation
Pointing to a severe flu season that could not only strain hospitals, but threaten the nation’s winter blood supply, the American Red Cross is encouraging blood donation.

Noting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is predicting a serious spread of flu this year and is already reporting an early spike in cases in several states, the Red Cross said that as, “seasonal illnesses increase, the number of healthy donors tends to decrease, leaving the Red Cross blood supply vulnerable to a potential shortage over the holidays.

"Paired with busy holiday schedules, seasonal illnesses may make it harder to collect the blood hospital patients require this winter," the Red Cross noted.

The Red Cross is especially encouraging those with type O blood and those giving platelets to donate in order to help prevent potential supply issues. An appointment can be scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

TB Training Series: 2020 RVCT Changes
The November Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) monthly tuberculosis (TB) training session will be held Nov. 23 at I p.m. CT. It will focus on the 2020 Report of Verified Case of Tuberculosis (RVCT). After completing the training, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the 2020 RVCT changes that are being implemented.

  • Locate resources for the 2020 RCVT.

  • Enter accurate, timely and complete data for RVCT reporting on TB cases beginning Jan. 1, 2023.

To register for the event click here. Past trainings can be accessed by registered users by clicking here. If you do not have access to the TB web portal you can register online by clicking here. On the right side of the page you will see “Register for a Portal Account.”

Illinois COVID-19 Data
To access updated Illinois COVID-19 data on daily case numbers, testing outcomes and deaths, click here. Hospitalization data, including the number of patients in the ICU and patients on ventilators, can be accessed by clicking here. The most recent COVID-19 vaccination data can be found by clicking here. The Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) updates its COVID-19 data at 1 p.m. Monday – Friday.

Yesterday, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report highlighting the experiences of patients living with Long COVID-19, which an HHS press release said is intended to help government leaders, clinicians, patient advocates and others better understand the complexities of the condition and identify ways to better support this population. The Department noted that, “Estimates vary, but research suggests that between 5 percent and 30 percent of those who had COVID-19 may have Long COVID symptoms, and roughly one million people are out of the workforce at any given time due to Long COVID.”

Briefly Noted
IHA posted a Medicare Quality Program reference guide for members on the Medicare finance website. This reference guide includes program details for the Medicare Value-Based Purchasing, Readmissions Reduction, and Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction programs for fiscal years (FY) 2023, 2024, and 2025. Note that the FY 2023 Value-Based Purchasing program is not included in the reference guide as CMS is not going to reward or penalize any hospital in FY 2023 due to the COVID pandemic. Program details include methodologies, measures, and performance standards finalized in rulemaking. Contact us with questions.

Using fetal MRI, researchers observed that alcohol consumption during pregnancy can change the unborn baby’s brain structure and delay brain development, according to a study that will be presented next week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). The study’s senior author Dr. Gregor Kasprian said in an RSNA press release, “Fetal MRI is a highly specialized and safe examination method that allows us to make accurate statements about brain maturation prenatally.” According to the study, brain changes were seen in fetuses even at low levels of alcohol exposure.