The Week Ahead

Hospital-Related Bills Moving Quickly

Several health-care related bills this week move back to their originating chambers for reconciliation after votes at the statehouse, while the Ohio House on Dec. 6 concurred with the senate-passed version of tort reform legislation.
HB 7, tort reform, has been a prime focus of OHA and the Ohio State Medical Association. Among key provisions, 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 286 was passed by the Senate and heads back to the House. The bill 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.

SB 119, which would address opioid prescribing and medication-assisted addiction treatment, was amended with reporting elements from HB 535 and heads back to the Senate. The hospital reporting provision was not included at this time.

Any legislation not enacted by Dec. 31 must be re-introduced in 2019 to receive further consideration.

Open Enrollment for Plans on the ACA Exchange Ends Saturday

Enrollment in Affordable Care Act exchange plans continues to lag nationwide as Saturday's open enrollment deadline nears.

OHA and the American Hospital Association have teamed up to promote signups through statewide radio releases.

About 3.2 million people enrolled in health insurance plans on the ACA exchange in the first five weeks of open enrollment - an 11 percent decline from the same period last year, during which 3.6 million people signed up. More than 66,000 Ohioans have enrolled from Nov. 1 to Dec. 1. This number represents people who have changed or signed up for new plans. It does not reflect people who are renewing their plans. 
What You Can Do

Submit Your PAC Contributions by Friday

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, 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 Friday.

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.

Submit OHA Annual Meeting Presentation Proposals by Friday

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 Friday.

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


AHA, AAMC Sue HHS Over Outpatient Payment Policy

The American Hospital Association, joined by the Association of American Medical Colleges and several member hospitals, on Dec. 4 filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services for finalizing a policy to phase-in, over two years, a reduction in payments for hospital outpatient clinic visit services furnished in off-campus provider-based departments that are grandfathered (excepted) under Section 603 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. Read more.

CMS Issues Additional FAQ on Inpatient Price Transparency Requirement

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Dec. 7 released answers to additional frequently asked questions on a fiscal year 2019 inpatient prospective payment system final rule provision requiring hospitals to publicly post their charges in a machine-readable format at least annually.

Among other topics, the new FAQ clarifies that the requirement applies to all hospitals, including inpatient rehabilitation facilities, inpatient psychiatric facilities and critical access hospitals; to drugs, biologicals and other items and services that are not reflected in the hospital's chargemaster; and to charges for each diagnosis-related group.
Happening this Week

Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review

1:30 p.m. Monday, Senate Finance Hearing Room

Senate Health, Human Services & Medicaid Committee

9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Finance Hearing Room

House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee

1 p.m. Tuesday, Room 116; and 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Room 114.

Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee

8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Senate North Hearing Room

House Health Committee

9 a.m. Wednesday, Room 121

Senate Government Oversight & Reform Committee

9:45 a.m. Wednesday, Finance Hearing Room

House Insurance Committee

10 a.m. Wednesday, Room 116

OHA Board of Trustees

8 a.m. Friday, 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

Amazon Debuts New Medical Data, Records Service

Amazon has introduced a new cloud-based software service that reportedly will sift through patient medical records in seconds searching for actionable intelligence to provide hospitals and physicians with clinical decision support and coding while reducing costs.

Amazon Comprehend Medical can identify health information such as medical conditions and medications and determines their relationship to each other (for example, medication dosage and strength). The software can be accessed through a simple application program interface with no machine-learning expertise required.

The product is intended to help health care providers, insurers, researchers, and clinical trial investigators as well as health care IT, biotech, and pharmaceutical companies to improve clinical decision support, streamline revenue cycle and clinical trials management, and better address data privacy and protected health information, or PHI, requirements.

Report: U.S. Spent $10,739 Per Person on Health Care

The United States spent $3.5 trillion on health care in 2017 - or $10,739 per person - according to a report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Office of the Actuary, but the rate of spending growth fell to 3.9 percent, down from 4.8 percent in 2016. The slower growth in spending was attributed to reduced costs associated with hospital care, physician and clinical services, prescription drugs and Medicaid, resulting in part from decreased utilization of health services. Read the full AP story here.

AHA Center for Health Innovation Issues New Market Intelligence Tools

The American Hospital Association Center for Health Innovation on Dec. 6 released the first in a series of new market intelligence tools for hospital and health system leaders. The Market Insights resources, which focus on health care disruption, include:
  • An interactive timeline featuring some of the initiatives innovative companies have launched this year to disrupt health care's status quo
  • A framework for disruptive innovation highlighting three market forces driving the disruption of hospital and health system business models
  • A discussion guide with 20 questions that health care leaders can ask to assess their organization's readiness and potential impact of disruptors
  • A report outlining moves hospitals and health systems can make to convert the challenges that disruptors present into opportunities to serve the health needs of their patients.

MedPAC Discusses Draft Payment Recommendations for 2020

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission last week discussed several draft recommendations for Congress, which the panel could vote on in January. The proposals would:
  • Increase payment rates for hospital inpatient and outpatient services by 2.0 percent in 2020, with an additional 0.8 percent increase to be allotted via MedPAC's proposed hospital value incentive program
  • Provide no payment update for skilled nursing facilities in 2020
  • Reduce payment rates for inpatient rehabilitation facilities and home health agencies by 5 percent in 2020.
The commission, when it reconvenes in January, also could vote on recommendations to:
  • Eliminate "incident to" billing for advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants and require them to bill Medicare directly, and refine specialty designations for these advanced practice clinicians
  • Increase 2020 payment rates for physicians and other health professional services by the amount specified in current law
  • Eliminate the ambulatory surgical center conversion factor update for 2020
  • Require ASCs to report cost data.
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