MHA Today | April 24, 2020

April 24, 2020
MHA Today: News for Healthcare Leaders

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April 24, 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 & CEONext week, Missouri lawmakers will return to Jefferson City to finalize budget and legislative work for 2020. The COVID-19 crisis significantly has reduced the time available to debate and adopt legislation since March — normally the home stretch for the General Assembly. Missouri’s Constitution requires lawmakers to adopt a budget a week before the end-of-session deadline — May 8 and 15 respectively.

How many days lawmakers will work, or the mechanics of how they will debate or vote on legislation, isn’t completely clear. Certainly, completion of the budget will be a priority. However, lawmakers are signaling that they will address priority legislation as well. We’re encouraging lawmakers to include COVID-19 medical liability protections among those priorities.

Nationally and internationally, health care providers in hot spots have been forced to implement crisis standards of care to address patient surge, as well as staff, supply and equipment shortages. Although Missouri has yet to experience surge that exceeds hospitals’ capacity, the long-term trajectory of the virus here and elsewhere is uncertain. As social distancing requirements are relaxed, it will become more evident whether we will be able to manage transmission, or if flattening will yield to recurrent increases.

Reaching crisis-level care in Missouri could expose health care workers to additional medical liability. Missouri’s law presently does not adequately protect physicians and other caregivers for clinical and operational decisions at crisis level. Just this week, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly expanded time-limited emergency-related protections for health care workers. Missouri should do the same.

We have asked lawmakers to adopt these protections during Missouri’s state of emergency. A COVID-19 patient surge could require an influx of health care professionals, or significant deployment of caregivers to hot-spots. These individuals should be protected from liability for care based on sound medical judgement and crisis-level exigencies. COVID-19 isn’t business as usual. During this crisis, health care workers must have confidence that their best medical judgement will not result in lawsuits or licensure challenges.

Crisis-level care decisions alone would be gut-wrenching. Forcing caregivers to simultaneously confront life-or-death decisions, and professional censure or personal liability, is neither in the interest of the patients they are serving or the larger health care resource that serves all Missourians.

Lawmakers are eager to begin addressing the many challenges that have emerged since they recessed. That’s understandable. However, the health care portion of the COVID-19 crisis must remain the top priority. Protecting these health care workers and our health care assets truly is the “people’s business.”

Let me know what you think.

Herb Kuhn, MHA President & CEO

Herb B. Kuhn
MHA President and CEO

In This Issue
2020 Medicare Trustee Report Projects Trust Fund To Deplete In 2026
MLN Connects Provider eNews Available
AHA Publishes Research On Coronary Artery Disease Disparities Among Women In Rural Areas
St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Hospital Names New CEO

Regulatory News
the latest actions of agencies monitoring health care

2020 Medicare Trustee Report Projects Trust Fund To Deplete In 2026

Staff Contact: Andrew Wheeler

The Boards of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds has published their 2020 annual report. The boards announced that the Medicare HI trust fund (part A) is projected to be depleted in 2026. The projection remains unchanged from last year. The report also does not include any assumption changes based on the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlights of the report for 2019 include the following.

  • Medicare covered 61.2 million people.
  • Total expenditures were $796.2 billion with a total income of $794.8 billion.
  • Part A expenditures exceeded income by $5.8 billion.
  • Projected annual growth rates for expenditures is 6.5%.
MHA has published an issue brief with additional details.

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MLN Connects Provider eNews Available

Staff Contact: Andrew Wheeler

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issues updates to MLN Connects Provider eNews. 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.

  • IRF PPS FFY 2021 proposed rule
  • CMS releases additional blanket waivers for long-term care hospitals, rural health clinics, federally qualified health centers and intermediate care facilities
  • New and expanded flexibilities for RHCs and FQHCs during the COVID-19 public health emergency

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Quality and Population Health

AHA Publishes Research On Coronary Artery Disease Disparities Among Women In Rural Areas

Staff Contact: Stephen Njenga

The American Heart Association summarizes research that found women in rural areas are dying of coronary artery disease prematurely. It highlights how rural residents often have to travel further distances for care, and face disparities in the prevention and control of cardiovascular disease risk factors. The research also examines the effect of social determinants of health on mortality.

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CEO Announcements

St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Hospital Names New CEO

Staff Contact: Carol Boessen

Reagan Simpson was named CEO of St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Hospital in Chesterfield, Mo., effective Monday, April 13. He replaces Dale Mulder, who had been serving as interim CEO since February. Simpson most recently served as president of Saint Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute and vice president of rehabilitation services at Saint Luke’s Health System in Kansas City, Mo. A list of CEO changes is available online.

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Did You Miss An Issue Of MHA Today?

April 20, 2020
Missouri Medicaid Enrollment Grows Sharply In March
HIDI Releases First Quarter FFY 2020 Inpatient, Outpatient Databases
HIDI HealthStats Announces exploreMOhealth Data Refresh

April 22, 2020
Parson Orders Additional State Spending Restrictions
MHA Distributes Financial Indicators Analysis
HHS Finalizes Interoperability And Patient Access Rule
HIDI Releases Fourth Quarter 2019 VBP Payments Model
CMS Launches One Login Functionality
CMS Updates eCQM Known Issues Document

Consider This ...

During 10 previous flu pandemics, regardless of what season they started, all had a peak second wave about six months after the virus first emerged.

Source: AP