U.S. Senator Josh Hawley and 30 other Senators sent Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar a joint letter about HHS’ new standards for using and repaying COVID-19 Provider Relief Funds. It expresses “grave concerns” that the standards will “create uncertainty and financial hardship for hospitals in our states, particularly in rural areas.” Sen. Roy Blunt sent a separate letter on the topic. MHA appreciates the Senators’ responsiveness to advocacy by MHA and its members reacting to the agency’s abrupt and unconventional revisions of its June standards. MHA also sent its own letter to Secretary Azar.
COVID-19 may be a novel virus, but the novelty certainly is beginning to wear off. Missouri’s positive test rates remain too high, and hospitals are experiencing record levels of hospitalization statewide. Throughout the last month, the state experienced a surge in regions that had not seen surge-level utilization in spring or the early summer months.
We’re increasingly seeing what has been called COVID-fatigue. It’s manifesting in our communities, and it is having a very real influence on health care workers.
We all remember scenes in the spring of communities celebrating their hospitals and staff. Organizations sent food, held vigils in parking lots, other first responders conducted parades and tributes — there was a sense of solidarity and a recognition of the great sacrifice. Unfortunately, COVID-19 isn’t a sprint, it is a marathon. And, the ongoing and growing challenges health care workers are seeing every day are very real, even though the public celebration and support has moved to the background.
Yesterday, I attended an event sponsored by the Spirit of Liberty Foundation. The organization is approximately halfway through a nationwide fly-around event celebrating the tremendous contribution of health care workers during this crisis. The event in Jefferson City was preceded by a stop in Kansas City on Sunday. A final Missouri event will be held at Lambert Airport in St. Louis on Monday, Oct. 12.
In Jefferson City, health care team members from Capital Region Medical Center and SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Jefferson City attended as did Gov. Mike Parson, First Lady Teresa Parson and several state elected officials. It was clear from the governor’s comments that he understands that hospitals remain under significant pressure to provide care.
The representative from the Spirit of Liberty Foundation indicated that our first responders and health care workers are a new “Greatest Generation.” Like those who fought on the home front or in the battles that led to victory over the Axis Powers in WWII, today’s health care workers are engaged in a daily and life-altering struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic. For most, it will be the defining moment in their careers and lives, and — like the Greatest Generation of the last century — they are driven to serve because it is the right thing to do.
The work our organizations are doing now, and have done since early this year, is saving lives. We are providing community leadership in the struggle — not just through care delivery, but in modeling behaviors, keeping our patients and communities informed, and demonstrating flexibility and resilience. Hospitals are filled with health care heroes.
It will be months, if not years, before the crisis abates. The spontaneous events demonstrating support and celebration of health care heroes have been replaced by something different. Our patients and communities have a much better understanding of the high value of having hospitals and health care assets locally, and the courage and perseverance of the individuals who work in them — from the bedside to the boardroom, and beyond.
“Everyday heroes” are undercelebrated. Nonetheless, they are essential. Thank you for what you do.
Let me know what you are thinking.
Herb B. Kuhn
MHA President and CEO
In This Issue
U.S. Senators Voice Concern About Provider Relief Repayment Standards
MHA And MPCA Contact State Attorney General On 340B Concerns
Parson Reverses Some Budget Withholdings And Distributes New COVID-19 Relief
MA And Medicare Part D Receive Plan Star Ratings
Nursing Board Issues Scam Alert
MLN Connects Provider eNews Available
CMS Hosts Stakeholder Engagement Calls