IHA Daily Briefing: Sept. 17

Tuesday, September 17, 2019
CDC Activates Emergency Operations Center
Special Needs Children Added to HealthChoice Illinois
New Committee on Air Ambulance Billing
Register: Free IHA Webinar on Boosting Cybersecurity
Strengthening Financial Well-Being Among Employees

CDC Activates Emergency Operations Center
Yesterday, the Centers for Disease for Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it has activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC). This allows the agency to provide increased operational support for the investigation into cases of lung injury associated with e-cigarette product use, or vaping. The CDC also continues to work closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to collect information about recent e-cigarette product use, or vaping, among patients and to test the substances or chemicals within e-cigarette products used by case patients.

As of Sept. 11, 380 vaping-associated cases have been reported to the CDC, with six confirmed deaths in Illinois, California, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, and Oregon. Because no definitive source or cause of these cases has yet been determined, the CDC recommends that smokers refrain from using e-cigarettes or vaping products.

Latest information on the outbreak can be found on the CDC’s webpage.

Special Needs Children Added to HealthChoice Illinois
Yesterday, the Illinois Dept. of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) announced that Special Needs Children will be enrolled in HealthChoice Illinois, the state’s mandatory managed care program, beginning Nov. 1, 2019.  Special Needs Children include Medicaid-eligible children under the age of 21 who:

  • Are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Title XVI;
  • Receive Title V care coordination services through the Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) (also known as the CORE Program);
  • Qualify as disabled;
  • Are under the legal custody or guardianship of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS); or
  • Were formerly were under the legal care of DCFS and are receiving assistance through Title IV-E.

Certain children who are part of the Medically Fragile and Technology Dependent Home and Community-based Services (HCBS) waiver and Nursing and Personal Care Services are not required to enroll in a managed care plan. Other excluded groups include American Indian/Alaskan natives and children with comprehensive third-party insurance.  

New Committee on Air Ambulance Billing   
On Friday, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced the new Air Ambulance and Patient Billing (AAPB) Advisory Committee along with the appointment of 13 members. The committee is charged with advising the secretary about issues relating to air ambulance services and patient billing.

According to a press release, the AAPB Advisory Committee will review options to improve the disclosure of charges and fees for air medical services, better inform consumers of insurance options for such services, and protect consumers from balance billing.  Based on its review, it will make recommendations regarding disclosure of charges and fees for air ambulance services and insurance coverage, as well as consumer protection and enforcement authorities of both the DOT and state authorities, and the prevention of balance billing to consumers. 

The committee is required to file a report 180 days after its first meeting.

Register: Free IHA Webinar on Boosting Cybersecurity  
A data breach can affect your organization's finances, devices and infrastructure. Fortify your prevention plan by attending IHA's complimentary webinar on Oct. 2, Is Your Cybersecurity Program "Left of Bang?"

In this one-hour webinar, expert presenter Dan Stewart will cover the:

  • Evolving healthcare cybersecurity landscape, current threat matrix and how to determine an acceptable level of risk for your organization;
  • Key components of a "prescriptive" cybersecurity program; and
  • Steps required to develop and maintain a "prescriptive" cybersecurity program that balances your investment with the appropriate level of protection.

Dan Stewart is the vice president of Atos Digital Solutions, which is sponsoring this webinar exclusively for IHA members. Stewart contributes to Atos' mission of helping healthcare organizations clarify business objectives while pursuing safer, more effective solutions, and managing costs and engagement across the care continuum.

Stewart will also share how you can boost your cyberpreparedness with an enterprise incident response plan, as well as a collaborative "security as a service" approach.

The program is designed for:

  • CEOs, COOs and CFOs;
  • Chief Information Officers;
  • Chief Information Security Officers;
  • Chief Technology Officers; and
  • Directors of Information Technology.

Don't miss out on strategies to better prepare your organization. Register today.

Strengthening Financial Well-Being Among Employees  
A growing share of America’s workforce expects to keep working past the traditional retirement age of 65, creating new challenges for employers. In 2018, 41% of workers told Gallup they planned to retire beyond age 65, a jump from 32% who gave the same response in 2008.

For employers—including hospitals and health systems—a workforce that delays retirement can drive up direct and indirect costs of salaries, healthcare benefits, presenteeism and talent acquisition, according to IHA Strategic Partner Gallagher Insurance Point.

How can employers mitigate these impacts? Foster financial well-being, according to a recent Gallagher article on the topic. The article explores four key strategies:

  • Making the connection between financial well-being and resilience;
  • Using existing tools in new ways;
  • Applying behavioral finance principles; and
  • Tracking market innovations.

Education is significant factor: Many employees lack financial literacy skills so don’t save enough for retirement. According to Gallagher, employees need direct education on retirement expenses, including changes to Social Security, increased life expectancy and average medical expenditures after age 65.
Employers should also consider emphasizing the retirement value of health savings accounts to encourage more savings; limiting investment options for retirement savings; and exploring new approaches such as a managed account service with customized asset allocation.

Gallagher Insurance Point is a recognized leader and innovator in employee benefits and human resources consulting. See how your hospital or health system can benefit from its innovative, data-driven solutions specifically for healthcare, including:

  • Industry-specific benefit strategies and solutions;
  • Pharmacy benefit management;
  • Benchmarking survey data;
  • Unique voluntary and ancillary benefit programs;
  • Communication and enrollment solutions; and
  • Data analytics.