IHA Daily Briefing: April 3

IHA Quality Advocacy Showcase Held Today in Springfield
Congress Holds Surprise Medical Bills Hearing
Reminder: Hospital Questionnaire Due April 5
Upcoming Mental Health Training Webinar
IHA Encourages New Medicaid Law Implementation
NSG Listening Tour at IHA on May 2

IHA Quality Advocacy Showcase Held Today in Springfield
Over 130 hospital and health system quality leaders gathered in the State Capitol today to share with legislators how their quality improvement initiatives are positively impacting patients and communities and to advocate against House Bill (HB) 2604, which would impose mandatory nurse staffing ratios on hospitals.

Informal meetings with legislators occurred in the Capitol rotunda and hallways during IHA's Quality Advocacy Showcase, now in its fourth year. Posters of quality improvement projects from 90 IHA-member organizations described their efforts and created an impressive display of the work of Illinois' hospital community.

With the showcase an important and growing IHA advocacy event, hospital and health quality system leaders—along with IHA President and CEO A.J. Wilhelmi—reinforced IHA's and the hospital community's strong opposition to HB 2604.

One-size-fits-all staffing ratios have not been shown to improve quality or outcomes, and could cost Illinois $2 billion annually, costs that cannot be absorbed, especially by hospitals that are struggling financially, including Safety Net and Critical Access Hospitals.

The showcase is designed to give hospital and health system leaders and frontline staff the opportunity to discuss their work to advance quality care and improve patient safety, as well as to share how legislation and policy changes would impact their organization and the patients and communities they serve.

In total, the 90 participating organizations invested $6.2 million in quality improvement initiatives and saved an estimated $54 million in healthcare costs. Their quality improvement initiatives were categorized by:

  • Behavioral health;
  • Care coordination;
  • Infection prevention;
  • Opioid stewardship;
  • Patient safety;
  • Social determinants of health;
  • Workplace safety; and
  • Other.

See all project posters in this year's compendium. The showcase is part of the ongoing work of IHA's Institute for Innovations in Care and Quality to measurably strengthen the quality of healthcare across Illinois.

We thank all participating hospitals and health systems and attendees. We look forward to your participation in next year's showcase and encourage members who did not participate this year to join us next year. See our Twitter page (#IHAQualityShowcase19) for photos from the event.


Congress Holds Surprise Medical Bills Hearing
Yesterday, the health subcommittee of the House Education and Labor Committee held Congress’ first hearing on the issue of surprise medical bills, which has bipartisan support for action in Congress and the White House. During the hearing—Examining Surprise Billing: Protecting Patients from Financial Pain—Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL-14) expressed support for a federal solution that would expand upon current state laws, saying she is proud that Illinois has taken a leading role in addressing the issue by enacting consumer protections.

Surprise medical bills occur when a patient accesses out-of-network emergency care, receives care from an out-of-network physician providing care at an in-network hospital, or when an insurer denies coverage for emergency services. AHA has released principles on surprise billing, which include looking to state-level laws, such as those in Illinois, which ban the practice of balance billing and hold patients harmless from in-network hospital care provide by an out-of-network physician such as a radiologist, anesthesiologist, or emergency department physician.


Reminder Hospital Questionnaire Due April 5
Hospitals have until April 5 to complete the Health Facilities and Services Review Board (HFSRB) Annual Hospital Questionnaire (AHQ). Revisions to submitted applications will be accepted during the open questionnaire period by presenting the changes to the HFSRB.

An IHA memo further outlines the reporting requirements for applicable hospitals. A frequently asked questions document and IHA memo provide additional information.


Upcoming Mental Health Training Webinar
The Great Lakes Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) is part of a national network, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to provide training and technical assistance to mental health treatment providers in Health and Human Services Region 5, which covers Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Trainings are open to any hospital-affiliated providers working in psychiatric or substance use disorder services. Trainings held so far include how to treat co-occurring disorders and motivational interviewing.

An introductory webinar will be held on April 9 at 11 a.m. CT to learn more about the team, the structure of the MHTTC, and regional training and technical assistance needs. A supplemental initiative focused on school-based mental health will also be presented. Continuing education credits will be offered for each low-cost training, with fees typically between $15 and $40. For more information, interested parties can register here.


IHA Encourages New Medicaid Law Implementation
On Monday, April 1, IHA sent the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) a letter encouraging immediate implementation of Public Act 100-1019 which amended the Public Aid Code to create targeted telehealth reimbursement for existing Medicaid providers and facilities. IHA also offered assistance in gathering data that may help implement agency obligations and oversight under mental health and substance use disorder insurance parity laws, including Public Act 100-1024.

Both laws became effective on Jan. 1, 2019, and have captured significant interest from IHA members due to the combined potential impact on healthcare access and equity for underserved populations across Illinois.


NSG Listening Tour at IHA on May 2
National Government Services (NGS), the Medicare Administrative Contractor for Jurisdiction 6 providers, which includes Illinois, is stopping at IHA’s Naperville location on May 2, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., as part of its annual “NGS Listening Tour.” During this event, NGS will seek input on initiatives to reduce provider burden, address rural provider issues, enhance provider training opportunities, and improve claims processing, among other topics.

More details, including how to RSVP for this free event, can be found in an NGS flyer. While held at IHA, this program is not an IHA-sponsored event. Questions should be sent directly to Lori Langevin.