MHA Today | July 24, 2020

July 24, 2020

MHA Today: News for Healthcare Leaders

linkedin twitter facebook
July 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.

Countdown to Aug. 4


Herb Kuhn, MHA President & CEOLast Friday, Georgia Congressman John Lewis passed away. He was the last surviving speaker from the March on Washington that included Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall. Lewis’ life was committed to justice. In addition to being called the “conscience of the Congress,” he truly was an American civil rights icon.

We all know that there is a big difference between words and actions. Lewis not only made the argument for civil rights, he put himself in harm’s way to place the issue in stark relief. One of the most celebrated acts was his role with Hosea Williams in organizing the march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., starting at the Edmund Pettis Bridge. The march was designed to draw attention to, and support for, voting rights in the South. However, what started as a peaceful protest, ended as one of the most tragic and era-defining events in the civil rights movement — forever known as Bloody Sunday. Lewis himself sustained a cracked skull.

Lewis held an annual pilgrimage to Selma to help build remembrance and celebrate the influence of the event on the national conscience. I had the honor and privilege to join him on one of those pilgrimages. It was in 2003.

We spent three days in Alabama visiting major “movement” sites in Montgomery, Birmingham and Selma. The group was diverse, with several former and current members of Congress attending, including the late Rep. Jack Kemp (who shared some remarkable stories of his early days in the NFL when he could practice and play with black teammates, but was unable to share a meal with them in a restaurant), Rep. Paul Ryan (who later became Speaker of the U.S. House Representatives and vice presidential nominee), and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin. There were Hollywood celebrities on the trip, too, including actor Chris Tucker and additional civil rights luminaries such as the late Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.

It’s hard to put in words the stirring stories we heard on this trip. I recall vividly sitting in a pew in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham as we heard from those who were there tell the story of the Ku Klux Klan bombing the church in 1963, an event that killed four young women and injured dozens more. I recall sitting in another church listening to John share his experience of sheltering in the choir loft for nearly a day as the church was surrounded by Klan members waiting to grab him and other members of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.

But perhaps the most meaningful time from the trip came on Sunday morning. We attended service at the Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church in Selma. A full house listened to Martin Luther King III take the pulpit for a rousing and inspirational sermon. From the church, we walked to the bridge where we listened to John share his experience on that day of March 7, 1965. A funny moment from his comments that morning was when he talked about fashion. Yes, fashion! He poked fun at himself for the trench coat he was wearing in 1965 and the fact that he was wearing his backpack. He jokingly observed that he was ahead of his time in that he had a backpack in the early ‘60s, long before they became fashionable. Despite his status as an icon, he was remarkably human.

After the sermon, we marched together across the bridge and then visited the museum at its base. The museum focuses on the event’s context in the evolution of the overall civil rights movement.

I’ve taken some time to think about that trip since we all heard the news of John Lewis’ passing. He was a remarkable man — he was brave and humble, and modeled the hard work needed to provide leadership and influence change.

I had several opportunities at the museum to spend time with him, including at an exhibit of casts of the footprints of many of the movement leaders who were present at the march. Later, I found out that our moment together had been captured by a photographer, when my wife called letting me know — otherwise improbably — that a coworker had seen a picture with Lewis and I in Jet magazine.

Lewis’ footprints can be found well beyond a museum in Selma. The ground he tread in the 1950s and 1960s created a path toward a better nation, followed by many and relevant today. The disparities we see today are not as obvious but can be just as pervasive. We see them manifest in our hospitals — the insidious effect of COVID-19 on communities of color, the long-term results of adverse childhood experiences, and the harsh realities of urban and rural poverty.

Lewis saw the world as it was, helped create a vision for how it should be and made it his life’s work to bridge the divide. His accomplishments are as concrete as the footprints in the museum and stand as an example — now, as then — that change can happen when good people take action.

As Lewis delivered his remarks in front of that iconic statue of Lincoln, he stood before two speeches etched in stone and delivered when the nation seemed hopelessly divided — the Gettysburg Address and Lincoln’s second inaugural address. Perhaps it is worth reflecting on two phrases from those remarks to frame this present moment.

Lincoln framed the struggle at Gettysburg as a moment when “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.” Later in his second inaugural address, he said, “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

God speed John Lewis. You helped us understand how to embrace what Lincoln would have called “the better angels of our nature.” And, despite the hard road you chose, you helped affirm Dr. King’s proposition that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Send me an email to let me know what you’re thinking.

Herb Kuhn, MHA President & CEO

Herb B. Kuhn
MHA President and CEO

In This Issue
Missouri Medicaid Caseload Growth Continues
MLN Connects Provider eNews Available
CMS Offers Recording On Use Of The Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources® Standard
CORH Releases Vulnerable Rural Hospital Assistance Program Application And FAQs

state and federal health policy developments

Missouri Medicaid Caseload Growth Continues

Staff Contact: Brian Kinkade

The Missouri Medicaid caseload grew by nearly 17,000 in June to 939,900. Enrollment in all eligibility categories increased, which includes elders, disabled, parents, kids and pregnant women. This marks the fifth straight month of caseload growth after more than two years of steady declines.

The growth in the caseload is expected. To qualify for a 6.2% increase in federal matching funds available to the state under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act, those currently eligible for Medicaid coverage will remain covered unless they move to another state, die or request that their coverage end. Also, because Medicaid is an income-tested program, the deteriorating economy and massive unemployment caused by COVID-19 shutdown orders is increasing the number of citizens qualifying for coverage.

Back To Top

Regulatory News
the latest actions of agencies monitoring health care

MLN Connects Provider eNews Available

Staff Contact: Andrew Wheeler

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued 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.

  • Physician compare preview period open through Thursday, Aug. 20
  • SNF patient driven payment model interrupted stay issue
  • Peripheral vascular intervention for claudication: comparative billing report

Back To Top


Quality and Population Health

CMS Offers Recording On Use Of The Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources® Standard

Staff Contact: Sherry Buschjost

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recorded a presentation on how the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources® standard can be used to advance technology to reduce quality reporting burden and increase interoperability for our health care community. The recording and slides for the webinar, “Advancing Technology for Quality Reporting at CMS: Burden Reduction and FHIR,” are available. The presentation discusses the journey to FHIR® for quality, the benefits of FHIR, implementation plans for electronic quality reporting using FHIR, roadmap goals and stakeholder readiness. CMS also recently collaborated with Health IT Vendors to conduct a pilot implementation of FHIR for quality with a vision to streamline the future of quality submissions across our programs and will share pilot results and next steps.

CMS invites feedback by responding to a FHIR Readiness Poll by Friday, Aug. 31. The deadline was extended from Aug. 8.

Back To Top


CORH Releases Vulnerable Rural Hospital Assistance Program Application And FAQs

Staff Contact: Dana Dahl

The Center for Optimizing Rural Health provides targeted in-depth assistance to rural hospitals and their communities. Each year, CORH works with a cohort of 30 hospitals. The FORHP-funded Vulnerable Rural Hospital Assistance Program application portal, along with FAQs about the program, has been released.

CORH understands how disruptive COVID-19 has been to hospitals. If you are unable to meet the application deadline of Friday, July 31, please send an email with your interest to Include the hospital name(s), the state(s), CAH or PPS (designation), and the number of beds. To learn more about the technical assistance program for rural hospitals, visit CORH's website.

Back To Top


Did You Miss An Issue Of MHA Today?

July 20, 2020
Clinical Lessons From The Northeast Surge
MO HealthNet To Begin Denying Outpatient Pharmacy Claims Without NDC
CMS Announces eCQM Education Session
CMS Releases HSRs For FY 2021 HAC Reduction Program

July 22, 2020
CMS To Resume Audits Beginning Aug. 3
CMS Cancels Claims Detail Reports For Certain Measures
Revised Privacy Protections Modernize Care Coordination For Americans Seeking SUD Treatment
Boone Hospital Center Names New CEO
Mercy Hospital Lebanon Names New Administrator


Consider This ...

More than 650,000 uninsured essential workers could gain Medicaid coverage if holdout states adopted expansion.

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities