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MHA Today | November 25, 2020



MHA Today

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

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According to data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Missourians’ average life expectancy is just under 80 years. In that span of time, the world has changed remarkably. Consider that antibiotics generally were not available, interstate highways would take more than a decade to appear, and World War II would begin and end.

Humans have a remarkable capacity to forget progress and adversity. Although this column is about Thanksgiving and COVID-19, it is worth remembering that for many among us, the challenges we presently face are small in comparison to those they have lived through.

As I was thinking about our present state of adversity, I kept coming back to the rhetoric of Winston Churchill. In May of 1940, he became Prime Minister of England. Those were very dark days. On his first day, he set the stage for the years to come, saying to Parliament, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

A large percentage of our hospital teams will be working throughout the holiday. It is likely that the next few weeks will be among the most challenging in our struggle with COVID-19. Thanksgiving and the December holidays are unlikely to provide time for relief. The coming weeks and months will be full of “blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

As dismal as that message seems — and as fitting in that time as today — it is a message of resolve. The empire would and did persevere. We will as well.

Daily COVID-19 Hospitalization in Missouri by Region and Inpatient Bed AvailabilityCOVID-19 is spreading through our Missouri communities pell-mell. Since Oct. 1, statewide hospitalizations for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients have increased 137%. As we open the holiday weekend, it’s clear that many Americans will not be adhering to recommended distancing. Millions are flying or driving to gather with family and friends for the holidays, and the result likely will be a post-holiday surge in hospitalization. On Nov. 21, Missouri hospitals reported that 83% of ICU beds throughout the state currently were in use, and 77% of inpatient beds were occupied. Missouri is also facing record levels of new COVID-19 cases, with nearly 25,000 positive test results last week alone.

As unfortunate as this all sounds, there is hope. We are working to bring some needed relief in staffing, which is among the most pressing issues currently. We hope for news on this front in the coming days.

Coalition for Healthy Missouri Communities VideosAt the same time, a growing chorus of voices is calling on Missourians to help reduce the spread of the virus. Tuesday, MHA — in partnership with business leaders, rural advocates and health care organizations, among others — launched a new initiative to help Missourians understand the importance of wearing masks and engaging in other infection control behaviors that help protect themselves and their communities.

I hope on this difficult holiday, you will find a way to focus on the inspiration, not the adversity. The work of hospitals has never been as important as in this moment. At the same time, Missouri’s health care system has never been as cohesive or our hospital heroes so easy to identify.

Yes. These are very difficult times. And, it may be hard in the coming days to remain positive. However, I am reminded also of Churchill, who in recognizing the enormous contribution of British pilots to success in the “Battle of Britain,” said, “Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.” Our front line is at the bedside. But, the same sentiment is true of our dedicated caregivers in this difficult moment.

Perhaps Thanksgiving, despite this year’s challenges, will stand as a moment of reflection for us on why we serve.

Happy Thanksgiving. I’m proud to serve with you.

Let me know what you’re thinking.

Herb Kuhn, MHA President & CEO



Herb B. Kuhn
MHA President and CEO

In This Issue

MHA Publishes Issue Brief On Stark Law Reforms
CMS Outlines Acute Hospital Care At Home Initiative
CMS Releases Marketplace Week Three Enrollment Data
MLN Connects Provider eNews Available
OxyContin Manufacturer Pleads Guilty To Criminal Charges In Opioid Epidemic
HHS Distributes Holiday Toolkit
NASEM Offers Workshop On The Security Of America’s Medical Product Supply Chain
Mercy Hospital Aurora And Cassville Name New Administrator

Regulatory News
Quality and Population Health
CEO Announcements
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