MHA Today | September 13, 2019

September 13, 2019
MHA Today: News for Healthcare Leaders

linkedin twitter facebook
September 13, 2019

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 I spent early this week in Washington, D.C., with Missouri hospital leaders meeting with members of our congressional delegation. The trip was rural-focused, but the majority of the policies discussed have broad influence on all providers.

As always, members of Missouri’s delegation are paying attention to health care in the state. They are concerned about rural hospitals and understand that Missouri has experienced hospital closures. They are interested in policies that not only address the immediate challenges, but add strength and sustainability to the rural health system.

MHA always prepares our hospital attendees for these visits. Attendees receive briefing papers on the most important policy issues. We also share our perspective on how federal actions can influence hospitals’ ability to remain essential community institutions while providing the care needed in the communities they serve. This year, MHA asked National Rural Health Association CEO Alan Morgan to share NRHA’s perspective on rural health policy. It was a great addition to the program, and it helped expand our view of the challenges for rural hospitals, from Missouri-centered to national. We also received good information and support from the American Hospital Association.

Rural Federal Advocacy Trip The issues we brought to our members of Congress ranged from transformational to existential. The statutory deadline for cuts to disproportionate share hospital payments is weeks away. Without action, nearly 100 Missouri hospitals will experience financial harm. Although it is unlikely that Congress will address the issue before the Tuesday, Oct. 1, sunset date, it is probable that the cuts eventually will be restored retroactively to Oct. 1. The Missouri delegation understands the magnitude of the challenge, and will continue to urge and support action to mitigate damage from the impending cuts. They realize that Missouri and other states with comparatively high uninsured rates continue to experience high uncompensated care costs.

Congress has been working to address the problem of surprise billing. Missouri’s state law is robust and a good model for federal legislation. We urged our delegation to support reasonable and actionable solutions if legislation moves forward. The problem deserves attention. However, overreach by Congress could replace commonsense solutions like Missouri’s law with new mandates that offer little new protection to patients and consumers.

We urged our leaders in Washington to prioritize the health care workforce by extending existing investments. However, there’s room for innovation. This can occur at the local and state level, but needs new and long-term support from the federal government.

14 Hospital Closures in Missouri Our congressional leaders understand how important health care and hospitals are to Missouri. They understand that rural hospitals in particular are essential to the economic, individual and community health of rural Missouri. A chart in Alan Morgan’s slides provided a powerful insight to the need for action. According to NRHA data, 113 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, and more than 46 percent of rural hospitals are operating at a loss. At the same time, 388 rural health clinics closed between 2012 and 2017. Some of these hospitals and clinics are in Missouri.

I’m confident that our representatives and senators understand the challenges faced by rural hospitals — and all hospitals. As individual hospitals, hospital systems and a community of hospitals with MHA at the center, we made an impression on our leadership in Washington. Action is necessary to keep our health system strong — especially in rural Missouri. They get it.

Face-to-face advocacy is essential. It reminds our congressional leaders that the work they do in Washington, D.C., has significant influence on our own work in serving communities throughout the state.

I’d like to thank the hospital leaders who attended for lending their voices to this important advocacy effort.

Let me know what you think.

Herb Kuhn, MHA President & CEO

Herb B. Kuhn
MHA President and CEO

In This Issue
DHSS Considering Revising Reportable Conditions Related To Vaping
MLN Connects Provider eNews Available
AgriSafe Offers Complimentary, Rural-Focused Health Webinars

Regulatory News
the latest actions of agencies monitoring health care

DHSS Considering Revising Reportable Conditions Related To Vaping

Staff Contact: Sarah Willson

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services issued a Health Advisory on Aug. 20 warning about severe lung disease related to vaping. And, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Health Advisory on Aug. 30 following what they consider the first death from severe pulmonary disease following e-cigarette use. The CDC, as of Aug. 27, noted 215 cases of severe pulmonary disease where the use of e-cigarette products were a common factor. The department is considering revising the reportable conditions regulations to include vaping-related injuries. MHA will alert hospitals when rules are proposed and finalized. Questions should be directed to DHSS’ Tobacco Prevention and Control Program at 573/522-2824.

Back To Top

MLN Connects Provider eNews Available

Staff Contact: Andy Wheeler

Updates to MLN Connects Provider eNews were issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. eNews includes information about national provider calls, meetings, events, announcements and other MLN educational product updates. The latest issue provides updates and summaries of the following.

  • Average Sales Price files: October 2019
  • Pain management: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conversation starters for patients and their doctors
  • New Medicare card: Transition period ends in less than four months
  • Local coverage determination meetings
Back To Top



AgriSafe Offers Complimentary, Rural-Focused Health Webinars

Staff Contact: Kendra Hanauer

AgriSafe, a nonprofit organization working to educate rural health care providers on issues facing farmers and rural residents, is offering a series of webinars focused on mental health and wellbeing throughout the next several months. The webinars are complimentary, open to anyone, and can be viewed live or on demand. The first webinar in the series is a research update from the agricultural health study and will be held at noon Tuesday, Sept. 17.

Back To Top


Did You Miss An Issue Of MHA Today?

September 9, 2019
Trajectories: Strategies To Reduce Workplace Violence To Achieve The Quadruple Aim
NRHRC Releases The 2019 Rural Hospital Guide To Improving Care Management
CMS Seeks Nominations For Behavioral Health Measures Project
Grady Accepts New Role With Shriners Hospital For Children

September 11, 2019
Federal Advocacy Trip Focuses On Rural Health
NGA Hosting Four Legal Preparedness Webinars
TJC Issues Addendum To Specifications Manual

Consider This ...

The number of pregnant women with an opioid addiction more than quadrupled in the 15 years the opioid crisis was at its height, between 1999 and 2014.

Source: VICE