MHA Today | April 17, 2020

April 17, 2020
MHA Today: News for Healthcare Leaders

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April 17, 2020

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

COVID-19 Updates


For the latest updates and most current information on coronavirus disease 2019, visit MHA's website.


Herb Kuhn, MHA President & CEOThroughout the past 48 hours, there have been extensions of the stay at home orders, both statewide and regionally. These decisions were necessary, despite being painful for individuals and businesses — including hospitals.

It’s pretty clear that everyone would like to get back to normal. From front-line health care workers addressing the complications of care for COVID-19 patients; those who have been sidelined in life through cancelled school or work shutdowns; or the many employees engaged from their home office, basement or kitchen table, everyone is eager to move forward. How this occurs is essential as to whether additional and highly disruptive measures will return.

Throughout the next week, several things must happen to ensure Missouri’s communities keep the curve flat. Only when we have these elements in place — and the signals are strong that the state and federal governments agree on them — will a reopening be safe and effective.

Despite the increase in testing throughout the past weeks, more and better tests are needed. More widespread testing will help identify symptomatic individuals, as well as those who have been asymptomatic but have the antibodies indicating they have been exposed. Understanding where Missouri is in the transmission curve and how we can advance through additional levels of opening will depend on broad testing.

Data from testing and contact tracing will determine not only when the reopening can occur, but where. Areas with current low levels of COVID-19 activity may have an expedited timeline. However, the loosening of restrictions must be coupled with the expanded testing, surveillance and containment to reduce the chance of reopening leading to increased transmission.

Presently, the level of available personal protective equipment remains a challenge. Reopening communities will add pressure to the supply chain, as individuals and businesses look to protect themselves as they transition out or back to work. Ensuring that hospitals and health care professionals are adequately supplied with PPE will be essential. COVID-19 will remain in our communities until there is a treatment or vaccine, and caregivers and first responders deserve to have priority in the supply chain.

There is a great danger, given the pent-up desire to return to normal, that public health advances will be put aside. This would greatly endanger the process made toward controlling the harm.

As President Trump and Gov. Parson have indicated, a phased reopening — meeting clear benchmarks and with evidence of sustained control — is the best strategy for avoiding a resurgence. For those outside of health care, the first phase may look very similar to the present. However, as our testing, surveillance and disease management systems advance, we’ll be better positioned to move toward a normal that we can recognize.

Although it is too early to know for certain, Missouri may have avoided surge levels that necessitate the crisis levels of care experienced in some of the nation’s largest cities. Whether that is sustained will depend in part on ongoing public health mitigation strategies and our capacity to transition to a more robust monitoring and containment system.

Good plans for reopening are emerging. Rushing the process would be counterproductive.

Let me know what you think.

Herb Kuhn, MHA President & CEO

Herb B. Kuhn
MHA President and CEO

In This Issue
CMS Releases Proposed IRF FY 2021 PPS Updates
HRSA Nurse Education Funding Available
MO-CPAP Expands Statewide

Regulatory News
the latest actions of agencies monitoring health care

CMS Releases Proposed IRF FY 2021 PPS Updates

Staff Contact: Andrew Wheeler

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released proposed FY 2021 inpatient rehabilitation facility prospective payment system payment and policy updates. CMS is estimating that payments to IRF PPS facilities will increase by $270 million or 2.9 percent. Other updates also include changes to the case-mix groups, adoption of the Office of Management and Budget statistical area delineations and amending the IRF coverage requirements to remove the post-admission physician evaluation requirement. Comments about the proposed rule are due no later than 4 p.m. June 15. MHA has published an issue brief with additional information.

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Workforce News

HRSA Nurse Education Funding Available

Staff Contact: Jill Williams

The Health Resources and Services Administration is accepting applications for the following three new funding opportunities.

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MO-CPAP Expands Statewide

Staff Contact: Sarah Willson

The Missouri Child Psychiatry Access Project has expanded offering access to providers statewide. The MO-CPAP project was developed to support and strengthen primary care providers’ ability to offer mental health care to young patients with mild to moderate behavioral health issues. Primary care physicians, family physicians, pediatricians, physician assistants and advanced practice nurses can enroll in the project and access support services like telephone consults with child and adolescent psychiatrists.

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Did You Miss An Issue Of MHA Today?

April 13, 2020
CMS Releases Proposed SNF, IPF And Hospice Payment And Policy Updates For FY 2021
HIDI HealthStats Explores Community Health By ZIP Code
CDC Report Shows Decreased C. Diff Infections, Hospitalizations
CMS Announces Preview Period For VBP FY 2021 HSRs

April 15, 2020
February MUR Available On HIDI Analytic Advantage
CMS Updates IP Specifications Manual Version 5.8
This Week Is Black Maternal Health Week
Jacobs Announces Retirement From SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital - Audrain

Consider This ...

Nearly half of the country’s rural hospitals were operating in the red before the pandemic hit and at least three have shuttered since it began.

Source: Kaiser Health News/St. Louis Post-Dispatch