IHA Daily Briefing: Sept. 9

Monday, September 9, 2019
CDC, FDA, Sen. Durbin Focus on Vaping
CMS Delays OPPS System Edits
IHA Submits CMS Home Health Comment Letter
Newly Enacted IL Maternal Health Laws

CDC, FDA, Sen. Durbin Focus on Vaping
Pulmonary disease associated with the use of e-cigarettes (vaping) continues to be a nationwide concern.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released findings from its preliminary investigation showing that there is no single product linked to all cases of lung disease. While many of the patients, but not all, reported recent use of THC-containing products, some reported using both THC- and nicotine-containing products. A smaller group reported using nicotine only.

The CDC says no evidence of infectious diseases has been identified in these patients, therefore lung illnesses are likely associated with a chemical exposure. However, it is too early to pinpoint a single product or substance common to all cases.

Until a definitive cause is known, persons should consider not using e-cigarettes. Those who use e-cigarettes should seek medical attention for any health concerns. Clinicians should report possible cases to their local or state health department.

On Friday, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Acting Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless to take decisive action within the next 10 days to properly regulate e-cigarettes and the accompanying kid-friendly flavors and products.  In the letter, Durbin said that should Acting Commissioner Sharpless fail to act within 10 days, Sen. Durbin will call for his resignation.

Sen. Durbin’s press release said that to date, Illinois has 42 confirmed cases of vaping-related lung illness, and one death, across 17 different counties, with 26 more cases being investigated as probable.  The median age of vaping-related illness in Illinois is 22 years old.  And 76% of the Illinois patients needed to be placed in an intensive care unit and 41% of the patients were mechanically ventilated.

Today, the FDA issued a warning letter today to JUUL Labs Inc. for marketing unauthorized modified risk tobacco products by engaging in labeling, advertising, and/or other activities directed to consumers, including a presentation given to youth at a school. The agency also sent a letter to the company expressing concern, and requesting more information, about several issues raised in a recent Congressional hearing regarding JUUL’s outreach and marketing practices, including those targeted at students, tribes, health insurers and employers.


CMS Delays OPPS System Edits
On Sept. 5, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced a delay in the full implementation of system edits impacting outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS) providers with multiple service locations submitting Medicare A/B claims to Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs). Full implementation is postponed until April 2020. These OPPS edits require hospitals and health systems with multiple locations to include on off-campus provider-based department OPPS claims the exact same provider address entered in the Medicare Provider, Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS) for that location.

Once the edits are fully implemented, CMS will direct Medicare A/B MACs to permanently turn the edits on, and claims that do not exactly match the information in PECOS will be returned. Note: providers who need to add or correct an existing practice location address will need to submit a new 855A enrollment application in PECOS. For more information, please refer to the CMS website.


IHA Submits CMS Home Health Comment Letter
Today, IHA submitted comments on behalf of our 37 hospital-based home health agencies to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on the calendar year (CY) 2020 Medicare Home Health Prospective Payment System (HH-PPS) Proposed Rule. The CY 2020 Medicare HH-PPS Final Rule is expected in November.

Hospital-specific reports comparing estimated changes in home health payment under the CY 2020 proposed rule to the payments made under the CY 2019 final rule are available via the C-Suite on the IHA website.


Newly Enacted IL Maternal Health Laws
The 2019 legislative session saw passage of an unprecedented number of maternal health legislation. This high volume was in response to several studies and reports showing high maternal mortality and morbidity rates in Illinois and across the country, particularly among minority populations. As Gov. Pritzker has acted upon all legislation passed during the spring session, IHA has developed a comprehensive memo covering the new laws impacting maternal care in the hospital setting.

Most of these laws call on a state agency to promulgate rules to implement these new requirements. IHA will send out further communication to the membership as those rules are developed.