IHA Daily Briefing: Dec. 3

Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Bustos Discusses Rural Priorities with HHS Secretary
ACA Open Enrollment Still Lagging
Submissions Open for IHA Quality Advocacy Showcase
Register for HR Webinar on Executive Compensation
Still Time to Get a Flu Shot

Bustos Discusses Rural Priorities with HHS Secretary
U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL-17) discussed rural health priorities with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar during a bipartisan, bicameral meeting on National Rural Health Day (Nov. 21). During the meeting, Bustos shared a list of key legislation and stressed the importance of taking action to address the health needs of rural communities, including challenges that result from geographic isolation and workforce shortages.

“It’s vital we address the unique healthcare needs of our rural communities and I stressed that to Secretary Azar directly,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “We cannot allow issues like long drive times, provider shortages or loss of services to go overlooked or unaddressed. That’s why I welcomed the opportunity to bring the experiences of our region to the table on National Rural Health Day. I’ll continue to fight for solutions that improve the lives of hardworking Illinoisans and make healthcare more accessible and affordable.”

Rep. Bustos has made addressing rural health challenges a priority, including through her role on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, where she serves on the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.

ACA Open Enrollment Still Lagging
Figures released for week four (Nov. 17-23) of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance marketplace open enrollment show more than 703,000 people selected or renewed their health insurance coverage through Healthcare.gov. Since open enrollment began on Nov.1, a total of 2.37 million people selected or renewed their health insurance coverage. Week four data (Nov. 18-24) from 2018 showed more than 500,000 people selecting or renewing coverage, with a total of nearly 2.5 million people electing coverage since Nov. 1, 2018.

In Illinois, more than 65,000 people selected or renewed their health insurance coverage since Nov. 1, down from nearly 74,000 during the same time frame in 2018.

ACA open enrollment ends Dec. 15.

Submissions Open for IHA Quality Advocacy Showcase
It's time to start planning your submission for IHA's fifth annual Quality Advocacy Showcase in Springfield on April 30, 2020. The submission period is now open for this highly attended advocacy event designed to connect quality improvement leaders and staff with state legislators.

All IHA-member hospitals and health systems are encouraged to share a quality improvement project. We also ask that quality improvement and government relations staff discuss your organization's participation, as the showcase ties together the work of both departments.

Project categories for 2020 are:

  • Behavioral healthcare;
  • Care coordination;
  • Infection prevention;
  • Opioid stewardship;
  • Patient safety;
  • Community health — new for 2020; and
  • Emergency preparedness — new for 2020.

See our webpage for project examples and the legislative interest in these categories. You can also view last year's compendium with projects of the 90 participating hospitals. For the showcase, IHA will produce a professionally designed poster of each project—at no cost to members.

Each hospital may submit one project. Health systems can submit a system project implemented across system hospitals, in addition to the submissions of individual system hospitals. Our submission deadline is March 13, 2020. See our submission form to plan your submission.

Register for HR Webinar on Executive Compensation
IHA Strategic Partner Gallagher Insurance Point will explore trends in executive compensation and benefits during a Dec. 18 webinar designed to help your organization attract and retain top leaders, both executives and physicians.

There is no cost to register for the webinar, from 1-2 p.m. Human resources leaders and staff from IHA-member hospitals and health systems will benefit from the program.

The webinar will explore:

  • New ways organizations are structuring their total rewards strategy and programs;
  • C-Suite trends and demographics and their impact on total rewards;
  • Trends in salary and pay for performance;
  • How organizations view supplemental benefits; and
  • Strategies to mitigate the impact of the new excise tax on certain executive compensation arrangements.

Gallagher experts will lead the webinar: Managing Director Jim Nelson and National Practice Leader Rich Brock. They will answer two key questions:

  • Is your retention plan compelling enough to keep key executives and physicians?
  • Are you working to motivate your top leaders and recruit the next generation of leadership?

Gallagher Insurance Point is a recognized leader and innovator in employee benefits and human resources consulting. Based in Rolling Meadows, the company provides innovative, data-driven solutions specifically for healthcare, including industry-specific benefit strategies and solutions, unique voluntary and ancillary benefit programs, and communication and enrollment solutions.

See an IHA video to learn more about Gallagher Insurance Point. Register for the Dec. 18 webinar today.

Still Time to Get a Flu Shot
As part of National Influenza Vaccination Week (Dec.1-7), the Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) is urging those who have not gotten a flu shot to get one now. IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says that everyone six months and older, unless medically contraindicated, should get vaccinated.

"Being in close quarters with many different people makes it easier for flu to spread,” said Dr. Ezike.  “Protect yourself, as well as those around you who may be more vulnerable to serious flu illness, by getting your flu shot." 

While it is difficult to predict how severe or how long the flu season will be, Illinois is seeing an increase in flu activity similar to previous flu seasons.  Flu activity most commonly peaks between December and February and can last as late as May.

In addition to getting your flu vaccine, IDPH recommends following the 3 C's: clean, cover, and contain.

  • Clean - clean your hands frequently by washing your hands with soap and warm water;
  • Cover - cover your cough and sneeze; and
  • Contain - contain your germs by staying home if you are sick.

More information about influenza can be found on the IDPH website. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention digital media toolkit is available to help spread the word about the importance of flu vaccinations.