MHA Today | August 1, 2018

August 1, 2018
MHA Today: News for Healthcare Leaders

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August 1, 2018

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


In This Issue
Medicare Issues Final FY 2019 Payment And Policy Updates For SNF, IRF and IPF
HHS Releases Short-Term Insurance Policy
Medicare Part D Premiums Decline In 2019
MHA Releases 2018 Annual Workforce Report
NEIP Provides Positive Impact On Nursing Programs Statewide

Regulatory News
the latest actions of agencies monitoring health care


Medicare Issues Final FY 2019 Payment And Policy Updates For SNF, IRF and IPF

Staff Contact: Andrew Wheeler

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services finalized and released the federal fiscal year 2019 payment and policy updates for the skilled nursing, inpatient rehabilitation and inpatient psychiatric facility prospective payment systems. CMS continues the strategy to place “patients over paperwork, ease provider burden and make significant strides in modernizing Medicare.”

The skilled nursing facility final rule includes updates to payment rates, updates to the SNF quality reporting program and details about the SNF value-based purchasing program. CMS is projecting an increase in payments of $820 million, or 2.4 percent. MHA published an issue brief with additional details.

The inpatient rehabilitation facility prospective payment system final rule includes removing two IRF quality reporting program measures, updating the methods by which IRFs are notified of IRF QRP non-compliance, and payment rate adjustments. CMS is projecting an overall payment increase of $105 million, or 1.3 percent. MHA published an issue brief with additional details.

The inpatient psychiatric facility prospective payment system final rule includes the removal of five IPF quality reporting programs, technical corrections to IPF regulations, updates to the IPF wage index, and payment updates. CMS estimates that IPFs will receive an increase of $50 million, or 1.1 percent. MHA published an issue brief with additional details.

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HHS Releases Short-Term Insurance Policy

Staff Contact: Andrew Wheeler

The departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury released a final rule that allows for the sale and renewal of short-term, limited-duration health plans. Coverage of these plans can span 12 months with the option to renew for a maximum period of 36 months. The intent is to help increase choices for Americans faced with escalating premiums and dwindling options in the individual insurance market. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar stated, “Under the Affordable Care Act, Americans have seen insurance premiums rise and choices dwindle. President Trump is bringing more affordable insurance options back to the market, including through allowing the renewal of short-term plans.”

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Medicare Part D Premiums Decline In 2019

Staff Contact: Andrew Wheeler

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released the Medicare Part D prescription drug premiums for 2019. For the second year in a row, basic Part D premiums decreased from $33.59 to $32.50. CMS Administrator Seema Verma stated, “The actions that HHS and CMS are taking to increase competition in order to drive down costs for patients are working. CMS will continue to strengthen the Part D program and bolster plans’ negotiating power so they can get the best deal for seniors from prescription drug manufacturers.”

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Workforce News


MHA Releases 2018 Annual Workforce Report

Staff Contact: Jill Williams

2018 Workforce Report MHA released the 2018 Annual Workforce Report along with 10 region-specific reports, which finds increased turnover rates among the majority of hospital-based health care positions. Vacancy rates decreased for several employee categories, including registered nurses, between 2016 and 2017. However, combined turnover among all professions surveyed increased statewide from 16 percent in 2016 to 17.7 percent in 2017. The report includes data from 144 hospitals and identifies trends among 25 hospital-based positions, and five clinic and physician practice positions. This year’s workforce report highlights establishing local workforce partnerships to recruit, educate and train the next generation of students and elevate existing staff in high-demand fields to mitigate hospitals’ staffing challenges in the health care sector. A quick video highlighting Missouri's health care landscape also is available.

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NEIP Provides Positive Impact On Nursing Programs Statewide

Staff Contact: Jill Williams

The Nurse Education Incentive Program, funded by the Missouri State Board of Nursing, granted $1,789,841 to 14 professional nursing programs in Missouri during fiscal year 2017.

These funds provided positive impact by aiding in the development of graduate level nursing programs with an emphasis on nursing education; increasing faculty resources, pay and training; and providing enhancement opportunities for clinical learning and decision-making through simulated clinical experiences.

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Consider This ...

The 2017-2018 flu season saw record breaking levels of influenza-like illness and hospitalization rates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 176 flu-related deaths in children through June 30. Approximately 80 percent of these deaths occurred in children who had not received a flu vaccination this season.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention