IHA Daily Briefing: April 10

IL Hospital Leaders Converge at the Nation's Capital
IHA Releases 2019 Federal Advocacy Agenda
IL House Passes Bill Changing CON Process
Earn CE at IHA's UR Boot Camp in Springfield
IDPH Issues Precautions for Drug-Resistant Fungus

IL Hospital Leaders Converge at the Nation’s Capital
Illinois hospital leaders discussed critical healthcare issues with members of the Congressional delegation during IHA’s 2019 Federal Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. on April 9. During meetings with Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Reps. Brad Schneider (D-10, Adam Kinzinger (R-16), and Darin LaHood (R-18), and others, hospital leaders highlighted the importance of improving access to care, protecting the Medicare and Medicaid programs and advancing value-based care. Participants also heard from lawmakers about legislative efforts addressing the cost of prescription drug prices, strengthening the Affordable Care Act, protecting patients by tackling the looming physician shortage and preventing harmful cuts to safety net healthcare providers.

IHA’s 2019 Federal Advocacy Agenda provides additional detail on the challenges and opportunities facing Illinois hospitals, and makes recommendations for action that Congress can take to ensure access to quality, affordable healthcare.

Photos of Federal Advocacy Day are posted on our Facebook page.

April 30 is IHA’s State Advocacy Day in Springfield. If you can attend, please RSVP by April 19. Indicate on the RSVP form which state legislators you would like to meet with in the order of your preference. Contact Nichole Magalis if you have any questions regard State Advocacy Day.

IHA Releases 2019 Federal Advocacy Agenda
IHA's 2019 Federal Advocacy Agenda—Healthy Illinois—is now available. We encourage hospital and health system leaders to use the agenda in advocacy outreach with the Illinois Congressional Delegation and other federal policymakers.

The agenda outlines nine priority healthcare policy issues and identifies actions Congress can take to ensure access to quality, affordable healthcare in Illinois. They include:

  • Strengthening the Affordable Care Act and expanding access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance;
  • Reducing the cost of prescription drugs;
  • Ensuring fair and adequate reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid; and
  • Reducing the number and complexity of burdensome federal regulations.

By categorizing this year's top issues under three themes—"Ensure Access to Care and Coverage," "Protect Medicare and Medicaid" and "Advance Value-Based Care"—the agenda provides a succinct framework of the priorities of Illinois' hospital community.

In the weeks and months ahead, IHA and the hospital community must leverage our strong, collective voice to ensure that hospitals have the resources to provide quality care and explore innovative ways to improve care and reduce costs.

IHA and hospital and health system leaders took that message to Washington, D.C. during IHA's Federal Advocacy Day on April 9—held in conjunction with AHA's Annual Membership Meeting on April 7-10.

IL House Passes Bill Changing CON Process
With controversy continuing to swirl about the proposed closure of Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park, the Illinois House this afternoon approved House Bill 123, which would make several major changes in the state’s Certificate of Need (CON) process.  The House voted 69-35 to pass the bill.

HB123 attempts to block the proposed closure of Westlake Hospital and would grant the Governor unprecedented authority to reverse any certificate of exemption decisions, including ones granted years ago, without providing any standards or due process for facilities.

While IHA appreciates the concerns raised in response to the proposed closure of Westlake Hospital, it opposes the bill.  Instead of simply changing the planning process that applies to discontinuing a facility, the bill increases the regulatory burden and costs for other healthcare projects, makes the process less predictable, and undermines confidence in the health planning program.

Under the current Health Facilities Planning Act, if a facility provides the information required for a Certificate of Exemption (COE) to close the facility, the Health Facilities and Services Review Board (HFSRB) must issue the COE. HB123 changes the current law as follows:
--Authorizes the Governor to reverse any HFSRB decision on any Certificate of Exemption;
--Requires a Certificate of Need to close a facility, which means that the HFSRB may grant or deny the application, as opposed to being required to approve it; and
--Suspends action by the HFSRB on a pending COE application to close a facility if litigation is filed.

The bill now goes to the Illinois Senate.

Earn CE at IHA's UR Boot Camp in Springfield
Learn how to obtain proper Medicare reimbursement and earn continuing education (CE) credits: On April 24-25 in Springfield, IHA's HCPro Medicare Boot Camp®—Utilization Review Version will show you how to navigate complex federal rules related to patient status and reimbursement.

Don't miss this opportunity to dig deep into utilization review with HCPro's director of Medicare and compliance, Kimberly A. H. Baker, JD, CPC. She will share her insight from over 25 years of healthcare experience in Medicare coverage, payment and coding regulations and requirements.

By attending this comprehensive course, you can earn CE credits from:

  • AAPC;
  • American Health Information Management Association;
  • Association of Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists;
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center;
  • California Board of Registered Nursing;
  • Commission for Case Manager Certification;
  • Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education; and
  • National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

A discounted registration fee is offered for two or more attendees from the same organization. Register today.

IDPH Issues Precautions for Drug-Resistant Fungus
The Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) is encouraging Illinoisans to take precautions on emerging multidrug-resistant fungal infections, including Candida auris, which has attracted considerable media attention in recent days. IDPH and local health departments are working with healthcare facilities to implement and maintain infection control practices to reduce transmission (cleaning and disinfecting environmental surfaces and shared equipment, hand hygiene, gloves, gowns, etc.). Public health officials are conducting surveillance for clinical cases and also screening individuals (swabbing the skin of patients/residents) in healthcare facilities where clinical cases have been found to identify patients who may have come in contact with C. auris.  IDPH says individuals can take several steps when receiving medical treatment, whether it is in a hospital, a long-term care facility, or a clinic to help protect themselves from infection.  See IDPH’s press release.