MHA Today | June 3, 2016

June 3, 2016

MHA Today: News for Healthcare Leaders

MHA Today is provided as a service to members of the Missouri Hospital Association. Additional information is available online at MHAnet. Connect with us on LinkedIn.


Herb Kuhn, MHA President & CEO

In early February, MHA relaunched the Focus on Hospitals website to vastly increase the scope and value of information available to the state’s health care consumers. Next week, the site will receive its first quality data refresh.

When the site was relaunched, it included a first-in-the-nation use of readmission data adjusted for sociodemographic status. The SDS adjustment was designed to provide consumers more precise information about the quality they might expect from their hospital. The second goal was to deliver proof of concept — to display the influence of “the disease of poverty” on hospital readmissions and spur the national conversation on improved risk adjustment.

Timing is everything. Ours couldn’t have been better.

In May, Kaiser Health News partnered with Modern Healthcare to report on the SDS-adjusted Focus on Hospitals data. The article subsequently has circulated through the health care news community. This is very good news for efforts to reexamine the risk-adjustment methodology currently used by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program.

Having a public dialogue about SDS adjustment helped support the implementation delay of the CMS 5-star rating system for hospitals. Since the CMS program relied heavily on outcome measures for the rating system, MHA and other organizations, with the support of Congress, were able to effectively argue that a system based on questionable data could only produce questionable results.

Congress is paying attention to the SDS issue. The U.S. House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee recently advanced the Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act of 2016. The bill would begin to address the sociodemographic differences that can influence ratings in the CMS’ readmission program. That could lead to better information for consumers and additional resources for the hospitals that serve low-SDS patients.

When CMS announced the 5-star rating delay, we questioned the feasibility of reducing hospital quality to a 1-5 scale, and likened the effort to “the culinary equivalent of a reduction sauce — where multiple ingredients meld to create a defined, deep flavor.” Others have recently questioned whether the system — with its heavy and arbitrary weights on measures that are not “clinically intuitive” — should be implemented at all.

The delay by CMS and the Congressional action underscores the progress we’ve made. Additionally, as the two issues move toward a nexus — SDS adjustment and better consumer information through a 5-star system or sites like Focus on Hospitals — we’re shaping, rather than reacting to, the debate.

Transparency programs matter. They're also here to stay.

Although there isn’t universal agreement, there’s an abundance of evidence that transparency focuses our attention on improving care. Moreover, accurate data helps consumers make better choices. Finally, transparency promotes confidence in the system. All of these factors matter for our patients and hospitals’ bottom-lines.

We’re leading the nation on these issues. And, we’re making a difference — in our communities and throughout the country.

Let me know what you’re thinking.

Herb Kuhn, MHA President & CEO

Herb B. Kuhn
MHA President and CEO

In This Issue
DHSS Issues Health Advisory On Rabies Threat In Missouri
CMS Announces Opportunities To Provide Feedback

Quality and Population Health

DHSS Issues Health Advisory On Rabies Threat In Missouri

Staff Contact: Jackie Gatz

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has released a health advisory regarding the increased prevalence of rabies exposures during late spring and summer months. The advisory emphasizes the importance of conducting a rabies risk assessment following the potential exposure of a patient to rabies virus, and reviews risk factors of rabies transmission as they relate to decisions regarding the need for rabies post-exposure prophylaxis. Guidance for medical follow-up and resources are included for health care providers. Providers seeking assistance with an animal bite or potential rabies exposure should contact DHSS at 573/526-4780 or 800/392-0272. Additional information pertaining to rabies in Missouri is available on the DHSS website.

Back To Top


CMS Announces Opportunities To Provide Feedback

Staff Contact: Jim Mikes

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced several upcoming calls for stakeholders to gain information and provide input on various Medicare issues.

  • Hospital/Quality Initiative Open Door Forum is scheduled at 1 p.m. Tuesday, June 7. Dial 800/837-1935 and enter passcode 41274021 to participate. Subjects will include temporary suspension of quality improvement organization medical reviews related to the two-midnight rule, inpatient rehab quality reporting and stakeholder engagement in the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act.
  • Special Edition Rural Health Open Door Forum is scheduled at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 14. Dial-in information has not yet been released. Subjects will include critical access hospital payment and an update on the quality payment program.
  • Inpatient Rehab Facilities Special Open Door Forum is scheduled at 1 p.m. Thursday, June 16. Dial 866/778-8325 and enter passcode 77742091 to participate. The call provides an opportunity for stakeholders to provide input on the tier comorbidity update.
  • Quality measures and the IMPACT Act call is scheduled at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, July 7. Space may be limited and participants must register.

Back To Top


Did You Miss An Issue Of MHA Today?

June 2, 2016
MHA Distributes Analysis For Proposed Updates To 2017 SNF PPS
MO HealthNet Restores Dental Benefits For Medicaid Managed Care
CMS Updates IQR Program Known Issues Document
MO HealthNet Issues Bulletin Regarding Telehealth Reimbursement
MLN Connects Provider eNews Available
AHA Releases Report To Help Hospitals Strengthen Behavioral Health Workforce

June 1, 2016
MHA Distributes Analysis For FFY 2017 Proposed IRF PPS
CMS Announces IPFQR Webinar
HIIN Releases RFP

May 31, 2016
CMS Announces Hospital Quality Reporting Release 10.0
eCQM Receiving System Now Accepting Test Files For 2016
MHA Posts Quality Transparency Measure Resources

Consider This ...

June is Men’s Health Month. More than 30 million men suffer from prostate conditions that impact their quality of life. Each year, more than 230,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.