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MHA Today | January 15, 2021



MHA Today

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

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Vaccine is the word of the week.  

Monday, MHA released new polling information indicating that 58% of Missourians are very or somewhat likely to seek the COVID-19 vaccine immediately when it becomes available to the public. Although the numbers vary by age, geography and ethnicity, it’s clear that there is a lot of education that will be necessary to achieve the widespread immunity necessary for Missouri to fully recover.

In the month since the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Missouri, we’ve learned a lot. We’ve also learned that there’s a lot more work to do.

According to news reports citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s data, through Jan. 13, 526,425 doses had been distributed to the state while only 161,784 individuals have initiated vaccination. These doses were intended for Phase One, Tier 1A-eligible individuals — almost exclusively front-line caregivers and individuals in long-term care. That’s indicative of several challenges, including that vaccine hesitancy exists even among our health care workers. Getting vaccine to the point of care and into an arm is logistically challenging, and the work will grow exponentially more difficult as the eligibility grows.

That growth is beginning. Thursday, Gov. Parson announced the immediate expansion of Phase 1 into Phase 1B — including many first responders and public health workers — and into a broader Phase 1B – Tier 2 on Monday. Next week’s expansion includes Missourians 65 years of age or older and a significant number of at-risk individuals. These changes significantly will add to the total number of eligible Missourians — as many as 2.5 million.

On Thursday, just after Parson’s announcement, MHA shared a new plan to work with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry to support expanded vaccine education as the scope of the effort broadens. The goal of the partnership is to increase businesses’ awareness of eligibility in the expanding categories, educate the targeted individuals on vaccination venues for workers — individually and in larger scale vaccination clinic efforts — and accelerate the state’s recovery plan. Coordination will be essential to reducing chaos as additional categories open.

These changes, and our ability to provide support for these efforts, require a solid distribution plan. As Parson said yesterday, “We are looking forward to increased vaccine supply in the coming weeks as supply is the leading factor that dictates our movement through our plan. The more supply we receive, the quicker we can reach our goal of making vaccines available to every Missourian who wants one.”

The success of our progress as a state toward widespread immunity will require two efforts — building confidence in the vaccine and building an efficient system of delivery. Our polling indicates too few Missourians presently are planning to get the vaccine immediately when it is available. And, despite the CDC’s number on our current excess of supply, too few vaccines presently are available for the population that is soon to be eligible.

What our polling and the state’s announcement signal is that we have a long way to go.

Hospitals will be expected to continue to lead, which means it will be incumbent upon our organizations to educate their communities about the benefits of vaccination while building the partnerships necessary to execute the delivery. Nonetheless, increasing the tempo will not necessarily increase the supply of vaccine or vaccinators. And, as demand increases, the systems needed to meet that demand must follow.

As I said at the beginning of this column, vaccine is the word of the week. But words only matter when they are followed by actions. That’s what Missourians increasingly will be looking for.

Let me know what you are thinking.

Herb Kuhn, MHA President & CEO



Herb B. Kuhn
MHA President and CEO

In This Issue

CMS Issues Contract Year 2022 Medicare Advantage And Part D Final Rule
CMS Finalizes Rule To Address Prior Authorization Process
CMS Finalizes Annual Notice Of Benefit And Payment Parameters For 2022
MLN Connects Provider eNews Available
CMS Announces Hospital Quality Reporting January 2021 System Release
CMS Announces OQR Webinar
Rural Health Value Project Publishes Report On CAH Value

Regulatory News
Quality and Population Health
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