IHA Daily Briefing: Oct. 8

Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Chicago HEAL Initiative Report Released
KFF: ACA Critical to Pre-Existing Health Coverage
IPC Warns of Rodent Bait Exposures
Briefly Noted

Chicago HEAL Initiative Report Released
To mark the one year anniversary of the Chicago Hospital Engagement, Action, and Leadership (HEAL) Initiative, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), together with IHA and 10 Chicago-area hospitals released last week a one-year interim report on the initiative. Launched in October 2018, the Chicago HEAL Initiative is a three-year project to make a measurable difference in the well-being of Chicago residents and specifically in 18 of Chicago's neighborhoods with the highest rates of violence, poverty, and inequality.

The interim report of the Chicago HEAL Initiative shows the initial progress being made on three priorities:

  • Increasing local workforce commitment to reduce economic hardship;
  • Supporting community partnerships to improve health and safety of public environments; and
  • Prioritizing key in-hospital clinical practices to address unmet needs.

"Our efforts under the Chicago HEAL Initiative are just the beginning, but I am optimistic about the impact we will have together across Chicago," said Sen. Durbin. "I am thankful for all community leaders and stakeholders who have joined these dedicated hospitals in improving their service to their neighborhoods, and I encourage more partners to join us in the coming years."

Recognizing their roles as the leading employers, the hospitals have made 16 tangible commitments on actions—outside of their traditional health care roles—to uplift their communities, including through local hiring and procurement, job training and mentorship, housing, and mental health activities.

Together, the following 10 participating hospitals have nearly 15,000 employees from 18 of the most underserved neighborhoods, screen more than 75,000 patients for trauma and social determinants of health needs, and provide nearly 5,000 local students with career development programs:

  • Advocate Christ Medical Center;
  • AMITA Health's Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center;          
  • Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago;
  • Cook County Health and Hospital System;
  • Loyola University Medical Center;
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital;
  • Rush University Medical Center;
  • Sinai Health System;
  • University of Chicago Medical Center; and
  • University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences Systems.

Durbin also announced his plans to introduce new legislation that builds upon successful hospital-led programs in Chicago by establishing Medicaid funding for supportive housing efforts, increasing funding for federal grant programs that recruit low-income and minority health providers, and establishing a clinical trial research network at the National Institutes of Health to support trauma-informed care for victims of violence.

More details are available in a Sen. Durbin press release.

KFF: ACA Critical to Pre-Existing Health Coverage
An updated Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) analysis released last Friday estimates that almost 54 million people—or 27% of all adults under 65—have pre-existing health conditions that would likely have made them uninsurable in the individual markets that existed in most states before the Affordable Care Act (ACA). KFF estimates 26%, or more than 2 million non-elderly adults, in Illinois would have a declinable pre-existing health condition without the ACA.

KFF says older working-age Americans (ages 55-64) are the most likely age group to have declinable pre-existing conditions (44%), more than twice the share (18%) among the youngest age group (18-34). Women are more likely than men to have declinable conditions (30% compared to 24%).

Almost half (45%) of non-elderly families include at least one adult with a medical condition that would make them ineligible to buy individual insurance without the ACA’s prohibition of medical underwriting.

The KFF analysis comes as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals weighs a decision in the Texas v. Azar case, which seeks to overturn the entire ACA, including the provisions that prohibit insurers from denying coverage or charging more to people with pre-existing conditions.

IPC Warns of Rodent Bait Exposures
As much of the state settles into cooler temperatures that fall brings, rodents are making their move indoors, seeking warmer shelter and food. While people often look to control a rodent situation through the use of rodent bait (poison), the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) is cautioning the public to use a multi-pronged pest control approach to help prevent accidental exposure to rodent poison. 

In 2018, the IPC fielded 325 exposures related to rodent poison; 321 exposures in 2017 and 327 exposures in 2016. Nationally more than 9,000 exposures were managed by poison control centers last year.

“Rodent bait is commonly left unattended and unsecured, increasing the likelihood of an exposure to it,” says Michael Wahl, M.D., medical director, IPC. “Rodent poisons only should be used as a last resort. Environmental issues, like open garbage cans, spilled birdseed and leaky faucets, also should be addressed to help mitigate the cause of a rodent outbreak.”

Read an IPC press release for tips on how to stay safe while dealing with rodent removal and how to keep them from returning.

Briefly Noted
Happy Emergency Nurses Week (Oct. 6-12) and Pediatric Nurses Week (Oct. 7-11). On behalf of our more than 200 hospitals and nearly 50 health systems, we salute the thousands of Illinois emergency and pediatric nurses for your dedication, compassion and commitment to health and healing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated data on this year’s measles outbreak. According to the CDC, a total of 1,249 measles cases and 22 measles outbreaks were reported in the U.S. from Jan. 1-Oct 1. Nearly 90% of measles patients were not vaccinated or had an unknown vaccination status. The CDC says the only way to eliminate measles outbreaks is through strong vaccination efforts in all communities.