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MHA Today | October 1, 2021



MHA Today

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

Past issues are available in the Media Library.


Having spent more than 40 years engaged in health policy and operations, I know how important it is to establish a true north and adjust progress accordingly. Throughout my career — beginning as a congressional staffer, at the American Hospital Association and Premier, in a variety of leadership roles at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and at MHA — I have always kept a specific health care true north in mind. True north is the patient.If you are seeking true north, you can’t count on a compass. Magnetic north, the pull right and left by the earth’s magnetic field, alters a compass’ reading. Like our politics and public policy, a compass is an imperfect instrument.

During the past 12 years in service to Missouri’s hospitals, we’ve advanced health and health care by leaps and bounds — the recent Medicaid expansion, for which enrollment begins today, stands as an example. However, our shared success has been founded in strong values that point to our true north. Medicaid is about coverage and coverage is about improved health. The patient at the end of the policy brings why our efforts matter into sharp relief.

To some degree, my years at MHA have been bookended by the Joplin tornado and the COVID-19 pandemic. Both brought the value of hospitals and our service to patients to the foreground. They also demonstrated deep commitment to health and strengthening our communities.

One of the ideas that I embraced to help explain our true north, and the policies that we helped shape, was that “strong communities need strong hospitals.” This certainly is true in an emergency, but it is equally true every day.

I am very proud of MHA as an organization. I know that our members are as well — it is represented in your member satisfaction scores. But, the true level of pride is your engagement and service in the journey we’ve taken together. Your confidence in MHA has helped power not only the organization and value it creates, but our collective ability to improve as a community of hospitals. That’s how we translate advocacy, data, quality and the other assets we provide into real change for the patient.

I’m not only excited for my own next chapter of discovery and exploration, but I’m excited for MHA’s under Jon Doolittle’s leadership. I am, and will continue to be, his biggest cheerleader. In addition, I’m certain that the evolution of the organization will continue under Jon as MHA anticipates hospitals’ needs and delivers value for the state’s hospitals, and the communities and patients you serve.

The mark of a good leader is confidence in making way for the next. As I look back on my time, I am certainly proud of what MHA and Missouri hospitals have accomplished — often against the current. Moreover, I am deeply humbled to have served you and your association.

In my 12-plus years as MHA’s CEO, I have penned nearly 600 Insights columns. I hope you have found them thought-provoking. More importantly, I hope you have found this column to be a vehicle to explain how the work we do can continually advance toward our true north. Yes, there have been pressures to move along another axis along the way. However, our sense of mission and purpose has allowed us to persevere, in the service of our patients and communities.

I am reminded that we are asked to love one another as ourselves. With our patients as our true north, I believe we are as good as this virtue.

I will be working for the next few weeks, despite this being my final column. If I may be of service, please send me a note.

Policy P.S. — MHA sent a letter to state officials urging new action on Medicaid as we shift from a conversation about expansion and the existing programs to a new era. The movement to value in Medicaid always has been a part of our conversation, but it often has been clouded by the expansion discussion and whether to reform before or after. With Medicaid enrollment for the expansion population beginning today, new opportunities for building a stronger, more sustainable program now can begin. We’re urging policymakers to shift focus in that direction.

Herb Kuhn, MHA President & CEO



Herb B. Kuhn
MHA President and CEO

In This Issue

Congress Delays Federal Government Shutdown
MHA Promotes Opportunity For Medicaid Value-Based Payment
MO HealthNet Issues PDMP Check FAQs
HHS Issues Interim Final Rule To Further Implement The No Surprises Act
CMS Issues FY 2022 IPF PPS Correction Notice
CMS Rescinds Trump Rule On FQHC 340B Drug Discounts
MLN Connects Provider eNews Available
New Requirement: Hospitals To Begin Reporting COVID-19 Vaccination Data To NHSN
Combatting The Fourth Wave Of America’s Opioid And Substance Use Disorder Crisis
Truman Medical Center Changes Name
CoxHealth Announces Leadership Changes

COVID-19 Updates
Quality & Population Health
CEO Announcements
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