IHA Daily Briefing: Dec. 2

Monday, December 2, 2019
IHA Comments on 340B Proposed Survey
IHA Submits Priorities for Rural, Underserved Areas
Dec. 4 Webinar: Learn How to Improve Staff Training
IHA Legalized Cannabis Programs This Thursday

IHA Comments on 340B Proposed Survey
On Friday, Nov. 29, IHA submitted comments on behalf of our 107 member 340B drug pricing program provider hospitals to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on the proposed hospital survey of acquisition costs for 340B-acquired outpatient drugs. CMS may use collected data to set Medicare payment rates for 340B-acquired drugs moving forward.

CMS proposed requiring all hospitals that participated in the 340B program in the fourth quarter of calendar year (CY) 2018 and/or the first quarter of CY 2019 to supply their average acquisition cost for each specified covered outpatient drug purchased during those two quarters. On Nov. 8, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard extended oral arguments in CMS’ appeal of a prior decision deeming 2018 and 2019 340B reimbursement cuts unlawful. CMS will continue to reimburse 340B drugs at average sales price minus 22.5% in CY 2020.

IHA Submits Priorities for Rural, Underserved Areas
IHA submitted comments on Friday to the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means Rural and Underserved Communities Health Task Force in response to a request for information (RFI) regarding priority topics affecting health status and outcomes in vulnerable communities.

"Many of IHA’s rural and urban hospitals know firsthand the challenges of maintaining access to health services in vulnerable communities. Lack of adequate reimbursement, shifts in healthcare delivery, workforce shortages, aging infrastructure and access to capital are among the numerous and complex factors that make it difficult to ensure access to services, especially those with higher costs. Currently, 42% of Illinois hospitals are operating on negative or extremely thin margins, and since 2005, 161 rural hospitals nationwide have closed, including 88 during just the past five years.

"IHA urges Congress to take immediate action to address the urgent challenges affecting hospitals struggling to keep doors open and maintain and/or expand services to vulnerable populations [including] addressing persistent underpayment by the Medicare and Medicaid programs, reversing recent cuts to hospitals, updating special payment adjustments and programs which have not kept pace with shifts in care delivery, providing new investment in underserved areas, and creating flexible payment and care delivery models that prioritize maintaining access over immediate programmatic savings," wrote A.J. Wilhelmi, IHA president & CEO.

"Federal reimbursement cuts to hospitals and health systems strain a reimbursement system that already fails to cover the cost of providing care, preventing staff and financial resources from being directed to new delivery and new, more effective treatment initiatives. In its March 2018 report to Congress, the Medicare Payment and Advisory Committee (MedPAC) found that rural hospitals (not including critical access hospitals (CAHs)), had a Medicare margin of -7.4 %. The payment shortfall in urban underserved communities is also significant: almost 40% of patients treated at Illinois safety-net hospitals are covered by Medicaid (compared to 17.9% for all other hospitals), which reimburses Illinois hospitals 25% below the cost of providing care."

Rep. Danny Davis (IL-7) serves as one of four co-chairs of the Rural and Underserved Communities Health Task Force. The committee is charged with discussing the delivery and financing of healthcare and related social determinants in vulnerable communities, and identifying bipartisan policy solutions to address challenges that contribute to health inequities.

Dec. 4 Webinar: Learn How to Improve Staff Training
Is your staff up-to-date with required training and education? Keep track of mandatory training with careLearning's award-winning system.

An informational webinar on Dec. 4 will discuss how careLearning's tools can help you monitor your employees' training and continuing education units. careLearning is a non-profit organization formed by AHA and more than 40 state hospital associations, including IHA, to provide reliable and easily accessible talent management solutions.

Tony Wegmann, client engagement specialist at careLearning, will provide practical knowledge for:

  • Staff educators;
  • Human resources staff;
  • Nursing executives/managers; and
  • Compliance officers.

With a diverse catalogue of course options, careLearning is an optimal way to manage and improve employee licensure and education. Visit our event page to learn more.

To register for the webinar, please contact Tony Wegmann at 304-353-9754.

IHA Legalized Cannabis Programs This Thursday
Don’t miss two important programs on hospital policies ahead of the Jan. 1, 2020 legalization of recreational cannabis in Illinois. IHA’s Legal Department and Illinois Risk Management Services (IRMS) are both hosting educational opportunities this Thursday, Dec. 5.

“The Clinical and Legal Issues Related to Treatment of Patients Using Cannabis” is a webinar hosted by IRMS from 12-1:15 p.m. The webinar addresses Illinois’ various cannabis programs, drug interactions, and appropriate policies for hospitals and physician offices to manage patients who use cannabis.

While the webinar is complimentary for IRMS clients and members of IHA’s Illinois Provider Trust (IPT), the fee for IHA members who are not part of IRMS or IPT is $60 per line. Clinicians, risk managers and senior leaders are encouraged to attend. Continuing education credits are available for nurses. Register today.

“Cannabis Employment Policies” is a round table discussion hosted and moderated by IHA’s Legal Department from 1:30-3:30 p.m. The discussion, developed in response to policy questions from members, will focus on how hospitals are approaching updates to their employment policies, with the intent of having a robust dialogue and sharing ideas to strengthen hospital policies statewide.

The round table discussion is designed primarily for in-house counsel and human resources managers. It will be videoconferenced between IHA’s Naperville and Springfield offices. There is no fee to participate. Register today.

Those who wish to attend both the webinar and the round table discussion can view the webinar in IHA’s Naperville or Springfield offices and attend the round table discussion immediately afterward.

Please note: Meeting space and parking space for the round table discussion is limited at each location. We encourage you to register early and consider carpooling if you have multiple attendees from your facility.