MHA Today | September 15, 2017

September 15, 2017

MHA Today: News for Healthcare Leaders

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


Herb Kuhn, MHA President & CEO
Nature abhors a vacuum. Congress abhors a deadline.

As the Sept. 30 end of the federal fiscal year looms, pressure is building to find solutions to a variety of legislative and policy issues linked to appropriations. They include creating a budget, reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program and addressing the prospect of future significant cuts to the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital program. 

Earlier this week, 50 hospital executives, governing board members and medical staff participated in MHA’s annual rural federal advocacy visit to Washington, D.C. The hospital delegation met with Missouri's two Senators and six members of the U.S. House of Representatives who represent multiple rural hospitals.

The visits are important because they help Missouri’s congressional delegation understand how their actions influence the delivery and finance of care throughout the state. All politics is local. And, the policies being discussed in the nation’s capital — significant issues about the future structure of the health care delivery system, to the importance of Medicare extenders that are essential to rural hospital finance — have a very real influence on hospitals’ vitality and viability.

There has been promising movement on several key issues. CHIP reauthorization legislation is building steam. However, specific plans for the 340B drug discount program’s future, and a solution to the long-term draconian cuts to the DSH program that would unequally harm nonexpansion states like Missouri, remain on the table. Also hanging in the balance are important rural Medicare “extenders” and stabilization of the health care marketplace.

When we visit with our delegation, we come prepared. The briefing materials are filled with real examples of how the policies made in Washington, D.C., shape hospitals’ work locally. These aren’t limited to legislation, but also include federal regulatory initiatives.

It has been a very interesting summer with health care policy center stage. This fall the drama will continue, even as health care overhaul — aka, repeal and replace — plays a smaller part in the second act given the time limit on the special instructions for Congress to manage the issue. DSH, 340B, rural extenders, marketplace stabilization and other policies are essential to many of the state’s hospitals. They may seem like bit-players; they’re not.

The Sept. 30 deadline will fill the policy void, because it is in the nature of Congress to address issues — with permanent solutions or stop-gap fixes. Our trips underscore how important progress is on these matters, especially long-term solutions.

Thank you to those who took the time to join us this year. Your voice matters. In fact, it is essential to telling the hospital story.

As always, let me know what you’re thinking.

Herb Kuhn, MHA President & CEO

Herb B. Kuhn
MHA President and CEO

In This Issue
MO HealthNet Prepares To Enroll Managed Care Network Providers
TJC Revises Emergency Management Standards To Reflect CMS Final Rule
CMS Schedules Physician Quality Reporting System Call
CMS Releases New Medicare Card Design
St. Louis Area Hospitals Prepare For Civil Unrest Possibilities

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Harvey

Regulatory News
the latest actions of agencies monitoring health care

MO HealthNet Prepares To Enroll Managed Care Network Providers

Staff Contact: Brian Kinkade

Federal law requires all managed care network providers to register with the Missouri Medicaid program by Jan. 1, 2018. This requirement only affects providers that have contracted with a Missouri Medicaid managed care plan that are not also currently enrolled as a Medicaid fee-for-service provider. Providers with questions should contact MMAC Provider Enrollment.

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TJC Revises Emergency Management Standards To Reflect CMS Final Rule

Staff Contacts: Jackie Gatz or Sarah Willson

The Joint Commission announced this week that it has submitted for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services review updated Emergency Management standards aligning with the final rule on emergency preparedness for participating providers and suppliers. CMS is expected to approve the updated standards in advance of the Nov. 15 CMS and TJC implementation date for both the final rule and deemed status surveys. The draft indicates hospitals and critical access hospitals will have few additional requirements. New EP standards address the following areas.

  • Continuity of operations and succession plans
  • Documentation of collaboration with local, tribal, regional, state and federal EM officials
  • Contact information on volunteers and tribal groups
  • Annual training of all new/existing staff, contractors and volunteers
  • Integrated health care systems
  • Transplant hospitals

Many of the new requirements clarify EP standards that organizations currently are meeting. For example, the new standards include a requirement for annual staff training. In addition, several new EPs require documentation of existing or new practices.

MHA has resources available to assist members with implementation.

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CMS Schedules Physician Quality Reporting System Call

Staff Contact: Peter Rao

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has scheduled a call about the Physician Quality Reporting System, Tuesday, Sept. 26, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. The call will address PQRS feedback reports, the informal review process and results for performance year 2016, and 2018 payment adjustment determinations. The PQRS program was transitioned to the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System under the Quality Payment Program in 2017. Registration is open for participants.

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CMS Releases New Medicare Card Design

Staff Contact: Andrew Wheeler

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services unveiled the newly designed Medicare identification cards, which will be sent to beneficiaries beginning in April 2018. The new cards remove patient Social Security numbers to help prevent identity theft. CMS is providing a 21-month transition period during which providers may use either the current SSN-based system or the new Medicare number.

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Quality and Population Health

St. Louis Area Hospitals Prepare For Civil Unrest Possibilities

Staff Contact: Jackie Gatz

Today, former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley was found not guilty of the December 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. Throughout the past weeks, activists have indicated that protests would occur if the Judge issued a not-guilty verdict in the bench trial. In advance of the verdict, Gov. Greitens activated the Missouri National Guard and the State Emergency Operation Center to support the local and regional response.

Hospitals in the St. Louis region have activated their emergency response plans — including incident command — to monitor and react to the situation, coordinate with regional partners, and ensure the safety of their patients, staff and visitors.

MHA is monitoring the situation, and will facilitate mutual aid resources and provide updates as needed.

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Did You Miss An Issue Of MHA Today?

September 14, 2017
MHA Members Participate In Congressional Advocacy Event
Health Subcommittee Examines Funding Extensions
MLN Connects Provider eNews
CMS Announces OQR Education Session

September 13, 2017
The Florida Hospital Association Launches FHA Hospital Employee Assistance Fund
Trajectories — Population Health: Models and Pillars for Success
CMS Announces QualityNet Intermittent Availability
Sepsis Awareness Month: A Costly Disease

September 12, 2017
HealthCurve Analytics To Host Readmission Penalty Predictor Pilot Program Webinar
CMS Announces Second HAC Review And Corrections Period

September 11, 2017
Disaster Relief And Debt Limit Suspension Bill Signed Into Law
MHA Distributes Analysis Of Final Medicare Inpatient PPS For FFY 2018
MHA Opposes Proposed Payment Reductions To Hospital Outpatient Medicare Payments
MHA Provides Update On Hurricane Irma

Consider This ...

Death rates from unintentional falls for adults ages 65 and older in the U.S. have increased an average of nearly 5 percent per year since 2000.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention