IHA Daily Briefing: Sept. 6

Friday, September 6, 2019
HFS Activates ABE Portal Report of Birth Function
CDC Issues Guidance for e-Cigarette Lung Disease
CDC Updates Opioid Overdose Data
CMS Awards Navigator Grants; Two for Illinois
Briefly Noted

HFS Activates ABE Portal Report of Birth Function  
The Illinois Dept. of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) issued a notice today informing hospital providers that the Report of Birth functionality is now live in the Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) portal. Hospital staff will now be able to report the birth of a newborn to a Medicaid recipient. HFS reminds providers that an account must be created at ABE.Illinois.gov before hospitals can use this new functionality. Read the HFS notice for more details.


CDC Issues Guidance for e-Cigarette Lung Disease
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently coordinating a multistate investigation into severe pulmonary disease associated with the use of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) products. As of Aug 27, approximately 215 cases are under investigation in 25 states, including Illinois, and one death has been confirmed.

The CDC has issued a report summarizing current information available information along with interim case definitions and guidance for reporting possible cases of severe pulmonary disease. The guidance reflects data available as of Sept. 6, and will be updated as more information becomes available.

A webpage has been established by the CDC to provide the latest information for clinicians, public health officials and the general public. In addition, the CDC has established a dedicated email address for clinicians and health officials to use to communicate with the agency: VapingAssocIllness@cdc.gov.


CDC Updates Opioid Overdose Data
A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report updated provisional data on opioid-involved overdose deaths. Data reported from July–December 2017 to January–June 2018 in 25 states, including Illinois, shows that deaths from opioids decreased 5% overall, with prescription opioid deaths and illicit synthetic opioid deaths decreasing as well. Deaths from illicitly manufactured fentanyl increased 11% during that timeframe. The CDC reports that benzodiazepines, cocaine, or methamphetamine were present in 63% of reported opioid deaths.


CMS Awards Navigator Grants; Two for Illinois
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced its Navigator Cooperative Agreement Awards. The funding supports organizations with navigators in federally-facilitated health insurance marketplace (Exchange) states, which includes Illinois. This year, CMS awarded a total of $10 million to 34 organizations, matching the annual level of funding awarded last year.

Two organizations in Illinois received awards:

  • Heartland Community Health Clinic-$211,457; and
  • Midwest Asian Health Association-$157,348.

CMS says these awards are to support the work of organizations that offer assistance to consumers searching, shopping for, and enrolling in health coverage on the Exchange. Navigators assist consumers seeking assistance in shopping for healthcare, along with the help of the Exchange call center, Certified Application Counselors and private sector entities.

The health insurance exchange open enrollment for 2020 is Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, 2019.


Briefly Noted
Today, IHA made available to its member hospital CEOs, CFOs and other finance Staff, updated Medicare Home Health Prospective Payment System Proposed Rule reports via the C-Suite on the IHA website. The hospital-specific reports compare estimated changes in home health payment under the calendar year (CY) 2020 proposed rule to the payments made under the CY 2019 final rule.

Today’s employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes 130,000 jobs were added in August with the unemployment rate remaining at 3.7%. Healthcare added 24,000 jobs for the month, with hospitals accounting for more than 9,000 of those jobs.

An estimated 30.4 million people remained uninsured in 2018. The Commonwealth Fund recently released an issue brief examining why so many people in the U.S. remain uninsured. Its analysis showed that in 2018, uninsured working-age adults in the U.S. were disproportionately low income, Latino, and under age 35. The Commonwealth Fund says that many of those who were uninsured may have been eligible for subsidized health insurance via the health insurance marketplace (Exchange) or through their state’s Medicaid expansion program. Many of the uninsured (67%) did not engage with the Exchange to examine their coverage options, with 36% of them believing they could not afford health insurance.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its June Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) eligibility and enrollment report. For the month, more than 72 million individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP nationwide. In Illinois, nearly 2.8 million individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP during that timeframe.