Every day this week, we’ve featured a spotlight in our daily publications exemplifying the good work going on at Missouri’s rural hospitals. This week is National Rural Hospital Week. It’s clear — now more than ever — rural hospital are essential institutions.
Rural hospitals and rural health care providers have distinct differences from their urban and suburban counterparts. However, their goals are similar — provide high-quality care, close to home, while improving the health of the communities they serve.
During the COVID-19 crisis, many rural hospitals experienced the first wave much later than metro hospitals. And, fewer rural communities had restrictions. As COVID-19 reached rural Missouri, the transmission rate exploded, creating a significant surge for rural hospitals throughout the past two months. However, it is important to note that Missouri’s rural hospitals have been in the fight since the beginning — they eliminated electives at the same time as other hospitals and have been facing similar supply and workforce challenges.
Beginning Tuesday, MHA and a coalition of stakeholders will be rolling out a campaign to help take the pressure off all hospitals. You can preview the campaign, including the first of two TV ads, at www.healthymocommunities.com. It encourages Missourians to view the recommended public health measures as tools in the fight against the virus, and reminds them that wearing a mask, social distancing and practicing hand hygiene are acts that not only protect them individually, but also protect their community. Every Missourian must be part of the solution. The challenges in the clinical space relate to the infection rate. As a result, every Missourian is on the front line of the crisis.
The next several weeks will be very difficult. Hospitals throughout the state already are at the bursting point. Since hospitalization is a lagging indicator, we can expect the current surge to continue into December. The arrival of fall and colder weather, flu season, and the holidays — where despite recommendations for caution, many will gather in small groups — may extend the surge into the new year.
Our hope is that reframing the debate about masking and other precautions will help increase participation in our collective goal of reducing the infection rate. The coalition’s partnership is diverse and includes the Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, MU Extension, and the Missouri Retailers Association, among others. Missouri’s health care and long-term care associations are participating as well.
What COVID-19 has taught us is that we’re stronger together. Our hospitals and health systems are working collaboratively in ways that would have been hard to envision last year. And, our partners in other sectors and industries are standing beside us in efforts to reduce infection rates.
The Missouri State Flag says, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.” Hospitals increasingly realize this — rural or urban, system or independent, small or large — we’re in this together. Next week, our campaign will share why it’s true for all Missourian as we head into the winter months.
Coalition For Healthy Missouri Communities To Launch COVID-19 Public Awareness Campaign
Pfizer And BioNTech To Submit EUA Request Today
CMS Issues Most Favored Nation Model Interim Final Rule To Reduce Drug Cost
CMS Finalizes Stark Law Reforms
CMS Price Transparency Resources And Webcast Available
MLN Connects Provider eNews Available
On Tuesday, Nov. 24, a statewide ad campaign about the importance of masking and social distancing will begin. The campaign includes two TV spots, two radio spots, and digital and social media branded under a broad-based Coalition for Healthy Missouri Communities. It is designed to encourage Missourians to use the tools available to safeguard themselves, their families and Missouri communities from COVID-19.
MHA announced the coalition and campaign’s start date today in a press release. As campaign assets are finalized, they will be posted on the coalition website. One of the finished TV ads can be viewed here.
Upon launch, hospitals are encouraged to broadly share the campaign materials through their own distribution channels, including internal media channels and social media. We will continue to share updates on the campaign and coalition along with ideas for how you can participate.
Pfizer and BioNTech announced they will submit a request today to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization of their mRNA vaccine candidate. The submission is based on a vaccine efficacy rate of 95% that was demonstrated in Phase 3 clinical trials. This vaccine potentially will enable use of the vaccine in high-risk populations in the U.S. by the middle to end of December.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released an interim final rule “that will lower Medicare Part B payments for certain drugs to the lowest price for similar countries.” According to CMS, the Most Favored Nations Model will save more than $85 billion over seven years. The MFN Model participants will include physicians, nonphysician practitioners, supplier groups, hospital outpatient departments including 340B-covered entities, ambulatory surgical centers, and other providers and suppliers that receive separate Medicare Part B fee-for-service payment for the model’s included drugs. CMS Administrator Seema Verma stated, “The current system creates incentives for drug manufacturers to price Medicare Part B drugs as high as they can in the U.S. system because the program pays doctors more when they prescribe more expensive drugs, even when a lower cost, clinically equivalent alternative is available. The Most Favored Nations Model will lead to lower drug prices for seniors.”
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a final rule updating several regulations implementing the physician self-referral law, commonly referred to as the Stark Law. The new rule establishes permanent exceptions for value-based arrangements to allow for better collaboration and coordination of patient care, as well as other nonabusive but beneficial arrangements between physicians and other providers. It also provides clarification on many technical requirements, such as fair market value calculations, to assist providers in their compliance efforts.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is hosting a price transparency webcast at 1 p.m. CST Tuesday, Dec. 8. CMS will provide a more in-depth overview of resources available to providers. Registration is required.
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.
CMS retiring original compare tools on Tuesday, Dec. 1
COVID-19: health care operations lessons and fostering professional resilience
Medicare fee-for-service estimated improper payments decline by $15 billion since 2016
CMS releases nursing home COVID-19 training data with urgent call to action