The Week Ahead

Plan to Attend Tuesday's HGRO Meeting

An in-person meeting will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday at OHA offices for member hospital government relations officers. The agenda will include a deep dive with lame duck issues. Lunch will be provided.

RSVP to Kate Huffman.
 

Hospital-Related Bills Moving Quickly

OHA is working with hospital leaders and advocates that member interests are fully represented with a number of key health care bills that are moving quickly through the legislative process and could be enacted by the end of the year. The following bills moved through hearings last week.
  • HB 7, tort reform, has been a prime focus of OHA and the Ohio State Medical Society. The bill unanimously passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week heading for the Senate floor. Among key provision, the bill grants limited immunity to certain health care professionals and hospitals related to patients with mental health conditions; qualified immunity for providers during declared disasters; and encourages a broader conversation between patients and physicians when an unanticipated outcome occurs.
  • Sub. HB 464 provides for the recognition of stroke centers and establishment of protocols for assessment, treatment and transport to hospitals of stroke patients. OHA’s Advocacy team worked closely with sponsors and the American Heart Association to ensure the final bill was permissive and addressed major concerns of the hospital community. This bill was favorably reported out of committee Nov. 28 and could be headed to the full Senate for a vote. 
  • Sub. HB 286 creates the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Interdisciplinary Council, establishes the Palliative Care Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program and requires health care facilities to identify patients and residents who could benefit from palliative care. Through negotiations with the bill sponsor, OHA was successful in alleviating some of the requirements for hospitals, removing potential fines and ensuring hospital-specific representation on the advisory council. This bill has been recommended for passage by the Senate Health, Human Services & Medicaid Committee.
  • HB 535 includes a new overdose reporting requirement for hospitals. OHA has been successful in getting numerous changes to the bill earlier in the legislative process that helped minimize administrative burden and alleviate other concerns from the hospital community. We are continuing to work on this bill which is pending in the Senate Health, Human Services & Medicaid Committee.
  • HB 456 prohibits a hospital from requiring a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse to work overtime as a condition of continued employment. OHA remains neutral on the bill, although we have maintained our position that the legislation is unnecessary. This position of neutrality only pertains to the current version of the bill, which includes a number of exemptions including protection of on-call status. The bill has been referred to the Senate Health, Human Services & Medicaid Committee, but has not yet been scheduled for a hearing. 
  • HB 546 establishes telehealth coverage parity by prohibiting health benefit plans from treating telemedicine services differently from in-person health care services solely because they are provided as telemedicine services. The House Health Committee favorably reported this bill Nov. 28.
 
Amendments and swift consideration on these and other bills remain possible in the flurry of a lame duck season. Any legislation not enacted by Dec. 31 must be re-introduced in 2019 to receive further consideration.
What You Can Do

Submit Your PAC Contributions by Dec. 14

We are nearing the end of 2018 and the end of the Friends of Ohio Hospitals fundraising campaign. For those interested in contributing, you can use our secure site at www.mkt.com/OHAPAC, or mail a check to Friends of Ohio Hospitals, care of Kate Huffman, at 155 E. Broad St., Suite 301, Columbus, Ohio 43215. Please submit your contributions by Dec. 14.

As you know, Friends of Ohio Hospitals is the only political action committee that works on behalf of all hospitals in Ohio. It is an essential element in our united advocacy arsenal and its strength relies on leadership from you and your colleagues.

To those of you who have already contributed: Thank you! Your support is essential to strengthening our collective voice.

Showcase Your Hospital’s Innovations, Successful Strategies at the 2019 OHA Annual Meeting

The Ohio Hospital Association is seeking dynamic and engaging presentations to educate health care professionals and motivate the pursuit of excellence for the 2019 OHA Annual Meeting June 3-5 in Columbus. Representatives from member hospitals and health systems, corporate partners and related organizations are invited to complete the 2019 Call for Presentations by Dec. 14.

Please share this information with your administrative and clinical teams and encourage them to submit a presentation proposal. Read more.

Developments

HHS to Make Jan. 1 Effective Date for Final Rule on 340B Ceiling Prices

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Nov. 29 issued a final rule making Jan. 1, 2019 the effective date of its final regulations on drug ceiling prices and civil monetary penalties for manufacturers under the 340B Drug Pricing Program instead of the earlier-announced July 1, 2019 date, according to a finalized rulemaking.

HHS has delayed the effective date of the ceiling price rule five times. The change will cap the prices drug makers can charge hospitals that participate in 340B. The American Hospital Association and several other healthcare trade groups sued the agency this past fall to force it to finalize the regulations.
 
Happening this Week

Senate Health, Human Services & Medicaid Committee

3: 15 p.m. Tuesday, South Hearing Room

House Health Committee

9 a.m. Wednesday, Room 121

House Insurance Committee

10 a.m. Wednesday, Room 116

Senate Government Oversight & Reform Committee

9 a.m. Wednesday, Finance Hearing Room

OHA Finance Committee

10 a.m. Thursday, OHA offices
 
Legislative Radar

To view all the state and federal bills OHA has been tracking in the closing legislative sessions, visit this page.

Worth a Look

America's Essential Hospitals Gives Providers New Tips To Discuss Costs

America's Essential Hospitals on Nov. 27 unveiled an online library where providers can access tools to discuss cost of care challenges for patients.

The website is intended to help providers have informative and helpful conversations with patients about costs. A 2017 survey of 2,062 adults found about 70 percent reported they wanted to talk to their physician about prices before undergoing tests or procedures, but only 28 percent said their doctor or another staff member brought it up. The online repository was funded through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of its Cost Conversation project.

ONC Issues Draft Strategy to Reduce EHR Burden

The U.S.  Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT on Nov. 29 released for comment a draft strategy on reducing regulatory and administrative burden related to the use of health information technology and electronic health records.

The 21st Century Cures Act instructed HHS to identify, through consultation with stakeholders, ways to reduce regulatory and administrative burdens relating to EHR use.

The draft report outlines three overarching goals: reduce the effort and time required to record health information in EHRs; reduce the effort and time required to meet regulatory reporting requirements; and improve EHR functionality and ease of use. HHS will accept comments on the report through Jan. 28, 2019.

Online Tool Shows Costs for Common Surgical Procedures

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Nov. 27 launched a new online tool that allows consumers to compare Medicare payments and co-payments for certain procedures that are performed in both hospital outpatient departments and ambulatory surgical centers. The Procedure Price Lookup tool displays national averages for the amount Medicare pays the hospital or ambulatory surgical center and the national average co-payment amount a beneficiary with no Medicare supplemental insurance would pay the provider. Read more.

CMS Issues Update on HealthCare.gov Enrollment

More than 2.4 million people selected a 2019 health plan through HealthCare.gov Nov. 1-24, including more than 500,000 last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported Nov. 30. More than three-quarters of those selecting plans were renewing coverage and the rest were new consumers. The report shows total plan selections for the period in the 39 states using HealthCare.gov for 2019 open enrollment, which runs through Dec. 15.

In the first six months of 2018, an average of 10.3 million people selected a plan through the federal and state-based exchanges and paid their premium, according to a separate report released by the agency Nov. 30.
 
Corporate Partner Spotlight

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