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MHA Today | April 9, 2021



MHA Today

MHA Today is provided as a service to members of the Missouri Hospital Association.

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Today is the first day of open availability for all adult Missourians to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

Since December, the state’s phase/tier system has been very useful in addressing risk-based vaccination — from vaccination of health care workers and seniors who have been greatly impacted, to disproportionately affected communities and critical workers. These efforts also helped decision-making during a period where vaccine allocation balanced the health and exposure risk with vaccine scarcity.

Hospitals had an outsized role in vaccination in early tiers and will continue to contribute toward widespread vaccination in the state. However, the growth in vaccine supply has allowed vaccinators to proliferate. In most communities, vaccine is becoming more widely accessible through patient care delivery channels. Convenience should help with vaccination uptake.

Data are an essential tool in understanding where we are in our recovery effort. Two recent reports help correlate the dashboard data into a compelling narrative about our collective efforts.

On March 30, MHA released hospitalization data by age group between August 2020 and late March 2021. The research found that COVID-19 hospitalization rates for Missourians ages 60 or older dropped markedly since the state’s peak in December 2020. At the same time, vaccination among the 60-and-older population — many of whom were eligible beginning in December — was more than three times the rate of Missourians ages 59 and younger.

This closing of the age gap is good news on a variety of levels. First, it is strongly suggestive of the efficacy of the vaccine, validates risk-based decisions on availability and signals that future surges may be less harmful to seniors. Second, the closing curves on hospitalization — which the vaccines are designed to protect against — provide a case-study of sorts against vaccine hesitancy in the balance of the adult population. Clearly, vaccination is moving the needle.

Vaccination is an essential component of another set of new research from the Hospital Industry Data Institute. This one evaluates the path to “herd immunity.”

In the March 23 Dashboard Spotlight, researchers used known rates of infection, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates of latent infections, and known rates of vaccine series completion by Missouri residents to establish “crude estimates” for herd immunity in the state. Experts haven’t established a threshold for herd immunity for COVID-19 given all that is unknown about the infection itself. However, there is consensus that it may fall between 65% and 85% of the population. Using these brackets, 65% of Missourians will have some form of protection against COVID-19 by July 6. Following recent linear trends, the analysis suggests the mid-level estimate required for herd immunity of 75% would be reached by Sept. 22, and 85% of the population would have some form of protection by Dec. 22.

There is a lot of work to do between today and herd immunity. Given the recent reports of COVID-19 spread of new variants, achieving herd immunity is becoming more important. Within the past few days, hospitalizations have trended upward for the first time in months. The opening of vaccination to all adults will help increase vaccination and contribute to the chance of reaching herd immunity by the end of the year.

After a very difficult 2020 and a promising start in 2021, these data can provide that “light at the end of the tunnel” moment the entire health care community has been yearning for. Precautions against transmission will remain important, as will investments in vaccination for all approved ages. However, with more than 1.1 million Missourians fully vaccinated, and nearly one-third of Missourians initiating the process and today’s opening to all adults, it is hard not to feel positive.

I hope you share that feeling of hope.

Let me know what you are thinking.

Herb Kuhn, MHA President & CEO



Herb B. Kuhn
MHA President and CEO

In This Issue

Biden Budget Request Includes 16 Percent Boost In Domestic Spending
Committee Advances Medicaid Treatment Requirement
MHA Publishes Issue Brief On Medicare FY 2022 Inpatient Psychiatric Facility PPS
MHA Publishes Issue Brief On Medicare FY 2022 Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility PPS
CMS Releases FFY 2022 SNF, Hospice Payment And Policy Updates
CMS Releases Marketplace Special Enrollment Report
MLN Connects Provider eNews Available
Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard Available
CDC And SAMHSA Announce Funding For Rapid Fentanyl Test Strips
CMS Announces OQR Education Session
Guidance For Hospitals Receiving Exorbitant Natural Gas Bills
SSM Health Infectious Disease Specialist Sings National Anthem

Regulatory News
HIDI Tech Connect
Quality and Population Health
COVID-19 Updates
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