fah hospital policy blog

Perspectives on health policy affecting America’s hospitals and the patients we serve.

FAH “Strongly Supports” MAAPP Changes Included In the Continuing Resolution

September 21, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Legislation, Statement

WASHINGTON - FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following statement after seeing that the Continuing Resolution included important modifications to the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs:

“It is gratifying that Congress and the Administration are including in the Continuing Resolution important modifications to the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs (MAAPP). The revisions made to MAAPP recoupment are fair and appropriate, and we strongly support these changes.

“The MAAPP is a vital lifeline to hospitals and health care providers during the pandemic that has enabled hospitals and providers to maintain access to critical patient care. But the ongoing pressures of the current crisis required a revision of the repayment terms.

“CR will also temporarily extend key expiring health care provisions that are helping health care providers weather the ongoing effects of the pandemic. We endorse this action and look forward to working with Congress on ultimately extending these expiring policies into next year.”

Follow us on Twitter @ChipKahn, @FAHhospitals

David T. Vandewater Receives FAH’s Mike Bromberg Lifetime Achievement Award

September 16, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News

David T. Vandewater, former President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ardent Health Services, was honored with the Federation of American Hospitals’ Mike Bromberg Lifetime Achievement Award at its 2020 FAH Public Policy and Board of Governors Meeting.

David retired from Ardent in August after more than 30 years of service to the health care community. He has always been focused on greatly improving health services and patient care in communities across America. During his 19 years at the helm, David T. Vandewater grew the company into one of the largest hospital systems in the country. Under his leadership, Ardent focused on delivering indisputable value to local communities through investments in people, technology, facilities, and as a major employer.

As two-time Federation Chairman and a longtime member of the Board of Directors, he was a critical leader in the industry who left a lasting impact on our organization.   

David has also been named to Modern Healthcare’s prestigious list of the 100 Most Influential People in Health Care.

David T. Vandewater reflects many qualities with the namesake of the award he was given. Mike Bromberg, who led the Federation for 25 years, stood for a commitment to quality health care and access to hospitals for all Americans.

We in the FAH community sincerely congratulate David T. Vandewater on receiving this much-deserved award.

FAH Leaders Nominated for Modern Healthcare’s “100 Most Influential” List – Vote Now!

September 14, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News

Every year, Modern Healthcare honors health industry leaders in its “100 Most Influential People In Healthcare” list. This annual ranking is based upon input and voting from Modern Healthcare readers and the magazine’s senior editors.

This year, FAH is proud to announce that Modern Healthcare’s list of 300 nominees includes 11 leaders from our membership, including FAH President & CEO Chip Kahn. 

Voting for the list began on September 14 and will continue through September 29. We encourage everyone to place their vote by clicking here so we can acknowledge the great work of our FAH leaders.

FAH members nominated for the 2020 “100 Most Influential People In Healthcare” list are:

  • Benjamin Breier, President and CEO, Kindred Healthcare
  • David Dill, President and CEO, LifePoint Health
  • Audrey Gregory, CEO, Detroit Medical Center
  • Samuel Hazen, CEO, HCA Healthcare
  • Chip Kahn, President and CEO, Federation of American Hospitals
  • Alan Miller, Chairman and CEO, Universal Health Services
  • Dr. Jonathan Perlin, President of clinical services and chief medical officer, HCA Healthcare
  • Dr. Prem Reddy, Chairman, president and CEO, Prime Healthcare Services
  • Ronald Rittenmeyer, Executive chairman and CEO, Tenet Healthcare Corp.
  • Wayne Smith, Chairman and CEO, Community Health Systems
  • Mark Tarr, President and CEO, Encompass Health

You can learn more about Modern Healthcare’s awards on its recognition page. Voters are required to vote for exactly five nominees. Don’t forget to vote now!

FAH Launches ‘Advancing Health Equity’ Podcast Series

August 24, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News, Media

WASHINGTON - The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing and amplifying disparities in our health care system as people of color bear the brunt of this pandemic. 

This sadly isn’t a new problem – for years public health care officials, caregivers and those living in these communities have known that public health, health care and health coverage are affected by socioeconomics and systemic racism.

Starting this week, FAH’s Hospitals In Focus podcast will examine these issues with a new series entitled “Advancing Health Equity.” Host and Federation President and CEO Chip Kahn will talk to experts about how things like living conditions, language barriers, transportation impediments and poor access to technology impact people’s health.

Each in-depth conversation will explore the role of hospitals, as well as how current practices and policies can be shaped to overturn current disparities and achieve greater health equity across race and ethnic lines.

Guests include:

  • (RELEASED TODAY) Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, defines social determinants of health – and what steps providers can make to improve health outcomes for vulnerable populations.
  • Michael Crawford, Howard University’s Associate Dean for Strategy, Outreach and Innovation and Founder of 1867 Health Innovations Project, discusses the use of technology and data to change the dynamics of socioeconomic status, race, age, and chronic disease.
  • Representative Lauren Underwood (D-IL) talks about the Momnibus, her multifaceted effort to truly improve the health and well-being of expectant and post-partum mothers in the United States.
  • Dr. Chidinma A. Ibe, Associate Director of Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Equity, speaks to the role of community health workers in addressing disparities in care.

We hope you will tune in to Hospitals In Focus: Advancing Health Equity, which can be found on your favorite podcast platform.
 

Follow us on Twitter @ChipKahn, @FAHhospitals

FAH Urges Congress, CMS to Ensure Hospitals, Providers Won’t Lose Medicare Payments Amid Pandemic

August 18, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Medicare

WASHINGTON – The Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) sent a letter to congressional leaders today urging Congress to request that CMS and the Trump administration formally delay recoupment of payments providers received under the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs (MAAPP).

MAAPP provided lifesaving loans to hospitals and providers in the form of advance Medicare fee-for-service payments. Most providers are scheduled to begin repaying these loans this month in the form of lost Medicare payments.

Intervention is needed to prevent the halt of ALL Medicare fee-for-service payments to participating hospitals and providers, further straining health care providers across the country as hospitals will lose an average of approximately 25 percent of their payments. Rural facilities are particularly at risk with many relying heavily on Medicare reimbursements and already facing financial ruin amid the worst public health emergency in recent memory.

While FAH greatly appreciates Congress’ swift leadership in passing relief bills, such as the CARES Act, more must be done to prevent the loss of these vital Medicare payments. The letter, sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) urges Congress to call on CMS and the White House to take action in the short-term to formally delay recoupment of the MAAPP loans and to provide guidance to health care providers. While the programs are intended as loans that would be repaid, the effects of starting repayment while the pandemic is still ongoing could be disastrous.

“Although Congress’ expansion of this program in the CARES Act successfully prevented short-term cash flow concerns for many hospitals, the onerous repayment terms were not created with the current pandemic in mind,” the letter says. “Until Congress has had an opportunity to enact legislation, we urge you to immediately call on CMS and the White House to exercise their administrative authority to formally delay recoupment of MAAPP loans – with public guidance to providers.”

In addition to the immediate ask to urge CMS to use its administrative authority, the FAH letter also urges Congress to enact several changes to the MAAPP repayment terms in the next COVID-19 legislative package, including:

  • Extending the start of repayment of the loans from 120 days to at least 12 months – no earlier than April 2021
  • Reducing the amount of repayment taken from each Medicare claim during repayment from 100% to 25%
  • Extending the repayment period from 12 months for hospitals (or 210 days for other providers) to a minimum of 36 months before providers must pay the outstanding balance and before interest begins to accrue
  • Waiving the interest rate or at least limit it to no more than 1 percent
  • Resuming the program, which was paused on April 27
  • Increasing the amount that can be advanced to hospitals from three or six months of Medicare payments to 12 months of Medicare payments
  • Allocating the funds from general Treasury revenues rather than from the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund
  • Authorizing loan forgiveness in cases of severe distress

For the full letter sent today click here. For FAH’s “Out of Time” initiative urging action on MAAPP visit FAH.org/MAAPP.

Critical Access to Patient Care Will be Affected if Medicare Accelerated & Advance Payment Programs aren’t Adjusted NOW!

June 16, 2020 | Chip Kahn, FAH President and CEO

Category: FAH News, Financing, Medicare

Time is up! An important federal program that provided a vital financial lifeline to hospitals and health care providers, allowing them to provide access to critical patient care, could now have devastating effects.

The Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs’ loans saved hospitals during the COVID-19 shutdown, but now the shortsighted, rigid repayment terms are colliding with the on-going impact of the pandemic.

Frontline facilities and care providers coast to coast have passed the point of no return. Many must soon pay off the loans or have their Medicare fee-for-service payments zeroed out.

The problem: with new COVID hotspots emerging across the country and patients reluctant to return for regular care, most hospitals simply don’t have the resources to immediately pay back the loans in full.

And losing all Medicare fee-for-service payments is, for many, a potentially crippling blow that could put patient care in jeopardy. It means an average of approximately 20 - 25 percent of a hospital’s expected payments just disappear until the loan is repaid. This crisis is only magnified in rural areas, where patients are more dependent on Medicare and hospitals need these payments to keep their doors open. And if the loans are not repaid in full within a year, hospitals face a daunting near 10 percent interest on the remaining balance!

There is a better way that respects the purpose of the program without weakening hospitals at the very time they should be supported and strengthened by federal policy. Both the House and Senate have put forward proposals to address some of the loan repayment terms – and we very much welcome their action but neither of those proposals have become law and more needs to be done as caregivers face a myriad of issues as the pandemic worsens.

Hospitals and health care providers - our nation's first responders - are now on borrowed time. Every day of inaction creates more uncertainty for our patients and our caregivers - jeopardizing our recovery and patient access to care.

The terms of the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs must be adjusted NOW!

BACKGROUND:

Pandemic Plunges Health Care System in Chaos

COVID-19 charged through every facet of our society like a tornado, shuttering schools, restaurants, large and small businesses, and throwing the entire health care system into chaos.

Hospitals have been hit particularly hard by an unprecedented triple whammy:

Instructions from federal, state and local officials to shut down all but the most essential services. Facilities had to stop all non-emergency scheduled services and procedures - like cancer treatments, placement of cardiac stents and joint replacements.

Preparations for a surge (and now resurgence) in COVID-19 cases, including increased costs for supplies to protect frontline caregivers and building additional and alternative ICUs.

Facilities in hotspot areas experiencing an overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients - straining resources and stressing staff.

These factors combined have already resulted in $200 billion in hospital losses (approximately $50 billion per month) through June 2020 alone, fueled by dramatic and devastating declines in patient volumes. Further analysis shows that losses could hit $323 billion by the end of the year. Hospital volumes declined by as much as 62% compared to pre-COVID levels. This includes a whopping 42% drop in emergency department visits, and screenings for many common cancers, such as cervical, colon, and breast cancer, were down between 86% and 94%.  

Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs Save Hospitals – Temporarily

Congress and the Trump administration didn’t waste any time jumping into action, working together they quickly passed and signed into law the largest series of relief packages in the history of our nation, including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The CARES Act established two vital policies for health care providers – the Provider Relief Fund and the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs, the latter of which was expanded by Congress and the administration to meet this extraordinary crisis.

The Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payments Program has been around for years. It was established as a small-scale program to assist distressed hospitals and providers for a very short time. No one ever thought it would be used the way it is now – providing a critical infusion of operating capital to hospitals coast to coast to help them care for patients during a crippling pandemic.

Under the CARES Act, and the administration’s implementation, the terms for the accelerated or advance payments include:

  • Providers can receive either three or six months of their typical Medicare fee-for-service payments, similar to a cash advance, and most health care providers that applied received these funds in March and April.
  • Repayment is happening now – a mere 120 days from receipt of the funds – in the form of zero percent Medicare reimbursement until the loan is repaid.
  • Repayment of the loans in full within 12 months for acute care hospitals and within seven months for clinicians and other health care providers.
  • If a provider is unable to complete the repayment by the deadline, interest begins to accrue on the balance at a rate of approximately 10 percent – an astonishing rate that is totally disconnected from fiscal reality and is at odds with low rates Congress specified in the CARES Act for other industries.  

The timeline and terms of repayment have essentially just delayed the crisis for hospitals as the COVID case count increases in many areas.

Think about it this way - withholding 100 percent of Medicare payments is similar to garnishing all of a worker’s wages, rather than a regular, modest payment more typical of a conventional loan. For most hospitals, it will result in a complete loss of Medicare fee-for-service payment – approximately 25 percent of a hospital’s total payments on average – until the loan, and any interest that accrues is repaid. This is simply not tenable for already struggling hospitals. The continued financial impact caused by the pandemic, which is nowhere near over, may make it difficult for some hospitals to afford to ever pay back the full amount of the loans, let alone do so right now.

Healing Hospitals Requires Urgent Action from Policymakers

Policymakers at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue acknowledge that further action is needed to stop this Medicare health care provider payment crisis before it has a devastating lasting effect on access to patient care.  

After the passage of the interim emergency package in April, Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer publicly said they had reached an agreement with the Trump administration to make important adjustments to the program. According to their statement, this included significantly lowering the interest rate and lengthening the repayment schedule.

Since then both the House and Senate have put forward proposals to address some the loan repayment terms, but there has been no legislative action and time has run out!

Many hospitals and health care providers have passed the deadline – meaning they are no longer receiving Medicare fee-for-service payments until they completely pay back their loans. Plus they face a crippling 10 percent interest rates if the money isn’t paid within a year.

Lawmakers must fix this immediately before it has a massive impact on access to patient care.

FAH is calling on Congress and the administration to immediately make the following changes to the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs:

  • Stop the current repayments and extend the start of repayment to at least 12 months from receipt of the loan (i.e., no earlier than April 2021)
  • Reduce the amount of repayment taken from each Medicare claim during repayment from 100 percent to 25 percent
  • Extend the repayment period from 12 months for hospitals (or 210 days for other providers) to a minimum of 36 months before providers must pay the outstanding balance and before interest begins to accrue
  • Waive the interest rate or at least limit it to no more than 1 percent  
  • Resume the Program, which was paused on April 27th
  • Increase the amount that can be advanced to hospitals from three or six months of Medicare payments to 12 months of Medicare payments
  • Allocate the funds from general Treasury revenues rather than from the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund
  • Authorize loan forgiveness in cases of hardship.

We appreciate the administration and Congress for their work thus far to protect patients and assist the health care providers that care for them, but the job isn’t finished, and it will be much harder with caregivers now losing their Medicare payments. COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on patients, their communities and the health care providers that serve them. These changes to the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs must be made quickly so we can continue to move forward in the fight against COVID. Delays in action are now jeopardizing our progress and threatening to put hospitals, clinicians, and other health care providers right back where they started – on the brink.

Happy Birthday, Medicaid and Medicare!

July 30, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Medicaid, Medicare

July 30, 2020 marks 55 years since Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965. As the programs celebrate their emerald anniversary, they are at the peak of their popularity and provide health coverage for more than 34% of those covered in the US.

In fact, recent polling by Public Opinion Strategies finds that 89% of Americans have a favorable or very favorable view of Medicaid and 94% have the same view of Medicare.

The Federation of American Hospitals commends the Medicaid and Medicare programs for improving the health care and well-being of millions of Americans for more than five decades. What started out as hospital and medical insurance has since grown to meet the evolving health care needs of people across the country adding prescription benefits and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The Affordable Care Act (ACA) aimed to expand Medicaid and currently, 38 states have offered Medicaid program benefits to low-income adults.

In times like these, the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent public health emergency make it clear that Medicaid and Medicare are lifelines for Americans across the country. These programs are vital to the health and well-being of many families and FAH is proud to support and advocate for their continued care.

Fun fact: standing by President Johnson on that historic day were Lady Bird Johnson, former President Harry S. Truman and Bess Truman. President Truman was the first enrollee in Medicare! 

FAH Leader Reacts to Senate Republicans, White House COVID Relief Package

July 27, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Legislation, Statement

WASHINGTON - FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following statement after Senate Republicans and the Administration released their latest COVID-19 legislative package:

“With the challenge of the pandemic worsening, the Senate Republicans and White House today are taking a critical step forward releasing a COVID-19 relief package.

“We strongly support Majority Leader McConnell’s efforts to protect frontline health care workers and hospitals from COVID-19 lawsuit abuse, and appreciate additional resources for the Provider Relief Fund.

“While recognizing that hospitals and caregivers require further assistance, unfortunately, the package does not sufficiently ease the burden of the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs loan repayment. It is critical that truly sustainable terms for loan repayment are provided by Congress.

“Time is running out for providers, and action is critical before hospitals lose 100% of Medicare fee for service payments. The Federation has been warning of this impending threat. With our countdown clock now just days away from hitting zero – it is vital that Congress act quickly before patient care is affected.

“The Federation looks forward to working with Senate and House leadership and the White House as they develop an agreement for an all-important COVID-19 relief package.”

Local Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Revise Medicare Accelerated & Advance Payment Programs

July 21, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Medicare

Local leaders across the country are sounding the alarm and urging lawmakers to revise the terms of the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs (MAAPP) before it starts to affect access to patient care. On or around August 1, hospitals could lose all Medicare fee-for-service payments – a devastating blow to frontline caregivers still battling the coronavirus crisis.

FAH launched a countdown initiative highlighting the imminent threat MAAPP poses to local hospitals nationwide. To learn more about MAAPP and how policymakers can improve the programs, visit FAH.org/MAAPP.

Here’s What They’re Saying…

Idaho

Idaho Statesman: Letters to the editor: Boise mayor, due process, rural hospitals, violence

"MAAPP repayment terms call for hospitals that have begun repayment to have 100 percent of their Medicare payments withheld until loans have been completely repaid. For rural health care providers, withholding all Medicare payments will be financially devastating. Sens. Crapo and Risch must prioritize adjusting the terms of MAAPP loans to provide hospitals serving rural Idaho greater flexibility." - Gretchen Manning, nurse at St. Lukes Hospital.

Indiana

Hamilton County Reporter: Loan repayment terms hurt hospitals’ efforts to fight COVID-19

“Now, however, the strict repayment terms of these MAAPP loans threaten to undermine the positive impact the loans have had. These terms could end up hurting the very same hospitals they were intended to help. Congress must rectify this situation before it is too late, and Senators Todd Young and Mike Braun should help by lending their support to this effort.” - Beth Henderson is a small-business owner, registered nurse.

WATCH: CBS4 News: Hospitals want more time to pay off federal loans

WATCH: Fox59 News: Hospitals face loan payment deadline

Columbus Republic: Congress must update loan repayment terms to protect hospitals

"Congress must work to update the outdated loan terms by extending the loan repayment start date, extending the repayment period, and, in cases of extreme hardship, forgive these loans so that doctors and hospitals across our state and country can remain fully prepared to take care of their communities." - Doug Leonard, former president and CEO of the Indiana Hospital Association and Columbus Regional Health and current executive director of the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress.

Iowa

Iowa Field Report: Hospitals Just Days Away from Even More Financial Trouble

“What is the impending impact here in Iowa? The Federation of American Hospitals has an online tool that paints a picture of the payments that have been received in each state. In total, more than $ 1 billion has been loaned to hospitals and health care providers in Iowa.” – Luke Martz

Twitter – Dr. Marianette Miller-Meeks, US House candidate IA-02

“As a doctor, I understand just how important it is for rural hospitals to keep their doors open. In the fight against COVID-19, they shouldn't also face the threat of closure. Congress must adjust #MAAPP loans now. #IA02 http://Fah.org/maapp”

Herald Register (print): Iowa's Rural Hospitals Face Mounting Financial Pressures

"Senators Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst can help protect Iowa's rural hospitals and patients by working to update MAAPP loan repayment guidelines before our caregivers on the frontlines take yet another blow - this time, one from which they may not be able to recover." – Ed Hatcher, Board Member Emeritus, Unity Point Health - Ginnell Regional Medical Center

Cedar Rapids Gazette: Rural hospitals need congressional help

"I encourage Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, who have long supported our hospitals, to push for bigger, much-needed changes — including extending the start of loan repayments to a year and the total repayment period to at least 36 months." – Marlys Popma

Kentucky

Northern Kentucky Tribune: Congress must protect access to care for Kentuckians, needed resources for hospitals

“Now is not the time to be denying Medicare payments for hospitals and providers. That will only undermine their ability to continue providing quality, comprehensive care for patients and entire communities. Senators McConnell and Paul should push Congress to reduce the amount of repayment taken from Medicare claims from 100 to 25 percent per claim.” – Kyle Keeney is the founder and director of the Kentucky Access to Care Coalition

Medical News: Sen. McConnell: Help Ease Burden on Kentucky Hospitals

"Senator Mitch McConnell should use his influence as Senate Majority Leader to push for critical updates to MAAPP loan repayment guidelines to help protect our nation’s hospitals, particularly vulnerable rural ones serving at-risk patients." – Susan Murphy, biotech consultant and board member for the Kentucky Life Sciences Council

Louisiana

New Orleans Agenda Newsletter

“Our Senators should make it a priority to fix these outdated MAAPP loan repayment terms by extending the start of loan repayments to at least 12 months; reducing the amount of repayment taken from Medicare claims from 100% to 25%, waiving the interest rate or at the very least reducing it to 1%.” – Howard Castay Jr., owner of Castay Media and a board member of the Teche Action Clinics

The Advocate: Hospitals need help on key Medicare support during virus pandemic

"This cannot wait. By Aug. 1, it will be too late and the challenges facing Louisiana hospitals and could be insurmountable. Our senator and Congress should act soon to keep Louisiana hospitals strong and protect vulnerable patients." –  Markalain Dery, medical director for infectious diseases, Access Health Louisiana 

Maine

The County: Collins is working for rural hospitals

"In addition, current MAAPP terms dictate that once hospitals begin repayment, they will lose their Medicare fee-for-service payments until they have paid off their loans in full. Losing these payments is equivalent to cutting an average of approximately 25 percent of a hospital’s total payments. This would be devastating for struggling rural hospitals that tend to treat a larger share of Medicare recipients." - State Representative Dustin White

North Carolina

Mooresville Tribune: COVID-19 is nationwide crisis that is hitting close to home

“We urge all U.S. Senators, including Senator Burr, to stand with hospitals and make the necessary changes to the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs — including adjusting the repayment timeline and lowering the interest rate.” – Stephen Midkiff, CEO of Lake Norman Regional Medical Center and Josh Snow, CEO of Davis Regional Medical Center

Oklahoma

Ponka City News: COVID-19 is hitting us hard at home

“Medicare fee-for-service patients make up approximately 42% of our total patients and losing 100% of payments for those services is a catastrophic blow.”

New Poll: Americans View Hospitals Very Favorably, Support Additional Financial Aid

July 16, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Media, Research

New national public opinion polling shows Americans overwhelmingly support hospitals and recognize the need for further aid as front-line health care providers fight to defeat COVID-19. The poll conducted on behalf of the Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care (FAH is a founding member) found registered voters hold strongly favorable views of health care providers and hospitals, with 76% rating hospitals as favorable and 42% as very favorable. This is the highest level of support recorded in memory and is consistent across political affiliation.

Three-quarters support $100 billion of additional relief for hospitals and other care providers, reflecting recognition of the clinical and financial challenge in the response to COVID-19. Among respondents, 58% believe that hospitals are experiencing bad times financially. The 75% support for financial aid for hospitals includes majorities of Republicans (60%), Independents (76%) and Democrats (89%).

“Unfortunately, the pandemic is far from over. Our caregivers are working tirelessly to save lives, but hospitals need help. Americans understand and that is why – regardless of party affiliation – we see broad based support for Congress and the Administration providing hospitals the resources necessary to beat COVID-19,” said Chip Kahn, FAH President and CEO.

According to the poll, Americans also report they are hearing more media reports about hospitals. More than 7-in-10 voters across the country say they have heard “a lot” about hospitals in the news, up from a previous high of just 20%. The more Americans are exposed to news about hospitals, the more they understand the challenges hospitals face in caring for coronavirus patients. This is also the case for Americans who have been hospitalized at some point during the pandemic.

Supermajorities across political affiliation also expressed support for proposals including:

  • Providing financial assistance to help businesses that have been badly impacted by the coronavirus continue to provide health insurance coverage to their employees;
  • Providing tax-free child care, housing, transportation and education benefits to health care providers working in hospitals who are caring for patients with the coronavirus;
  • Protecting health care providers, like doctors and nurses working in hospitals, from lawsuits related to the coronavirus; and
  • Protecting hospitals from lawsuits related to shortages of equipment or personnel during the coronavirus emergency.

“Our coalition was founded more than 20 years ago to serve as a unified voice for everyone who cares about hospitals and the health of their communities, and that voice is needed more today than ever,” said Marna P. Borgstrom, Chief Executive Officer of Yale New Haven Health System and Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care. “These results indicate the American people are behind us in our advocacy to ensure hospitals and health systems have the resources they need in the continued battle against COVID-19.”

The Coalition is a community of 2 million people who advocate on hospital’s behalf to elected officials in Washington. The group represents the interests of the community, children’s, teaching, public, religious, rehabilitation, behavioral health, and long-term care hospitals, and their patients.

“Americans are paying close attention to this pandemic and how it impacts both their health and the hospitals they rely on for care,” said Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association. “They know – as we do – that the entire nation is counting on hospitals and health systems to remain strong and resilient in this face of the COVID-19 threat. This is a matter of both public health and national security.” AHA is also a founding member of the Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care.

The survey was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies through a national telephone survey of 800 registered voters from June 25-28, 2020. The margin of error was 3.46%.

Read more about the survey’s findings HERE.

FAH Recommends COVID-19 Waivers for Permanent Policy, Expiration, and Future Blanket Waiver Status

July 10, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Medicare

Today, FAH submitted recommendations to CMS urging the agency to take action and work with Congress, where necessary, to make certain temporary COVID-19 waivers permanent Medicare policy. The recommendations also specify waivers that should expire upon the conclusion of the public health emergency (PHE) and those that should be automatically activated during any future PHE. 

FAH noted that many of the waivers have been transformational for our health care system in terms of utilizing technology to modernize and redesign how care is delivered. The FAH recommendations highlight:

  • The need for CMS to establish a "glide path" for phasing out COVID-19 waivers put into effect during the PHE, rather than a hard stop, and ensuring health care providers have significant advance notice of any such changes; 
  • The importance of existing telehealth waivers as well as those that permit the treatment of hospital outpatients at home through remote technology; and
  • An overarching principle for transforming waivers into permanent Medicare policy is ensuring that payment for health care services provided remotely through technology reflects differences in the cost structure of the entity providing the service. 

The letter states “we support CMS’ efforts to transform certain temporary waivers into permanent Medicare policy and look forward to working with the new CMS Office of Burden Reduction and Health Informatics to assist in achieving these meaningful and lasting policy changes across our health care system. In some cases, Congressional action may be needed to ensure a smooth transition, and we urge CMS to work expeditiously with Congress to act on policies that require such action to become permanent Medicare policy.”  

You can read the entire letter, as well as a list of the waivers that FAH recommends for permanent status, expiration or activation as a blanket waiver in a future PHE here.

FAH Promotes Two: Evangelista to SVP, External Affairs and Richardson to SVP, Government Affairs and Counsel

June 30, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News

WASHINGTON - The Federation of American Hospitals is pleased to announce promotions of two veterans of the organization to the role of Senior Vice President. Leah Evangelista is now SVP, External Affairs and Erin Richardson is SVP, Government Affairs and Counsel.   

“The Federation is reimagining our Government Relations and Public Affairs teams to meet the unprecedented challenges presented by this pandemic. I am proud to promote two leaders who have stepped up during these turbulent times. Leah and Erin each bring years of strategic vision as well as a unique set of skills to their new roles. As we serve our member hospitals and their patients, I look forward to the counsel and leadership of Leah and Erin."

With FAH since 2012, Leah’s new role will include responsibility for the advocacy, political affairs and coalition strategy for the Federation. Leah also oversees all digital and creative functions for FAH as well as manages the public affairs team. Additionally, she serves as the Treasurer and Director of FedPAC – the FAH’s political action committee.

Erin, who joined FAH in 2017, will lead the Federation’s government relations functions, managing and directing FAH’s legislative strategy and advocacy. Additionally, she maintains an active policy and legal portfolio and advises the public affairs team.

Two others at FAH are taking on new responsibilities and getting new titles to better describe their roles. Sean Brown is now Vice President, Public Affairs and Digital Strategy and Claudia Salzberg is Vice President, Health Services Research and Policy.

You can learn more about the background of Federation staff by clicking here.

FAH Leader Reacts to House Passage of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act

June 29, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Affordable Care Act, Legislation

WASHINGTON - FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following the statement after the House passed The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act:

"As millions of Americans are losing jobs to the COVID-19 recession, many are losing their health care too. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act (HR 1425) comes none too soon to bring ACA coverage within reach for so many by improving access to critical individual and Medicaid coverage. This builds upon what works to help ensure all Americans have health coverage.

"This enhanced framework fits the bill because it encourages states to expand Medicaid, makes health care premiums more affordable and strengthens outreach and enrollment programs. While the bill gets the coverage enhancement right, FAH remains concerned about over-regulation of drug prices. 

"FAH has and always will unwaveringly support coverage for all Americans. This bill is a step in the right direction and is needed now more than ever. We look forward to working with Congress to ensure all Americans have the coverage and care they deserve and need."

FAH Joins Broad Health Care Provider Coalition Urging Congress to Correct Taxation Issues in CARES Act

June 25, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Legislation

FAH is part of a wide-ranging coalition of nearly 20 health care provider organizations that represent doctors, nurses, hospitals, dentists and more, that sent a letter to congressional leaders on June 25th asking for legislative action to fix a taxation penalty embedded in the CARES Act. Without congressional action, many providers will lose more than a fifth of the grant funds approved by Congress to sustain lifesaving care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The groups are asking lawmakers to correct unintentional tax consequences of policies meant to provide vital funding to health care providers through the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (also referred to as the Provider Relief Fund) and other programs as part of the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter states, “It is critical that the actions taken to support front-line caregivers and hospitals are not diluted by technical issues around the taxability of support funds. The current grant structure creates an inefficient process that provides grants, and then takes back 21 percent or more of the same grants for many of the organizations that need the assistance the most.”

The groups are asking that 1) Provider Relief Funds and similar funding provided in response to COVID-19 is not taxable; and 2) that entities receiving these funds maintain tax deductions attributable to these funds.

The other groups signing the letter include:

  • Ambulatory Surgery Center Association
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • American Association for Homecare
  • American Association of Nurse Practitioners
  • American College of Physicians
  • American Dental Association
  • American Hospital Association
  • American Medical Association
  • American Nurses Association
  • American Occupational Therapy Association
  • American Optometric Association
  • American Physical Therapy Association
  • Federation of American Hospitals
  • National Association for Behavioral Healthcare
  • Premier Healthcare Alliance
  • Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The complete letter can be located HERE.

FAH, AMA Support Bicameral Fix to Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs

June 22, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Legislation, Medicare

A recently introduced bicameral bill will fix a lifeline for health care providers before it becomes an anchor that sinks the recovery of hospitals.

The Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payments Improvement Act (S. 3750 / H.R. 6837) does exactly what the name says – it fixes the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs (MAAPP). FAH supports this legislation, along with the American Medical Association, as it’s key to assuring Americans that their hospitals can continue providing COVID-19 and emergency care while safely re-opening for non-emergency procedures to recover from shutdowns driven by the crisis.

MAAPP loans are financial advances made on providers’ Medicare payments, and they  delivered vital funding to keep hospitals open and ensure access to patient care during the pandemic.

The problem is the terms of repayment. Despite still being in the middle of the fight to defeat COVID-19, starting on or about August 1, 2020, hospitals around the country will have their Medicare fee-for-service payments zeroed out until the borrowed funds are repaid. They also face steep interest rates – hovering around 10% – if the loans aren’t repaid within a year.

Recognizing that this will be a devastating blow to frontline heroes, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (NH) and Michael Bennet (CO) and Reps. Brad Schneider (IL-10) and Ron Kind (WI-3) teamed up to introduce legislation to fix the flawed terms of the programs.

Remedies in the bill include:

  • delaying recoupment of the loans;
  • lowering the recoupment withheld from 100% of Medicare payments to 25%;
  • limiting the interest rate to 1%, with accrual beginning after two years;
  • utilizing general Treasury funds for the programs (rather than Medicare Trust Funds);
  • unfreezing disbursements; and,
  • authorizing loan forgiveness in cases of extreme hardship. 

We urge other members of both the House and Senate to join the efforts and co-sponsor this important legislation. We must act NOW! Every day of inaction creates more uncertainty for hospitals, our patients and our caregivers - jeopardizing our recovery and patient access to care.

Learn more about the MAAPP program and needed adjustments by clicking here.

HCA Healthcare’s Dr. Jim Jirjis Named to HHS’ HITAC

June 09, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: General, HIT

FAH member HCA Healthcare’s Dr. Jim Jiris was recently named to HHS’ The Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC).

Dr. Jirjis, who is HCA’s Chief Health Information Officer of the Clinical Services Group, was nominated for this position by House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

HITAC, which was established in the 21st Century Cures Act, sets forth standards for the formation and use of federal advisory committees. Dr. Jirjis was appointed to the committee by Congress. HITAC represents the diverse views of the health industry and helps the federal government by providing recommendations relating to the implementation of a health information technology infrastructure, nationally and locally. The aim of the committee is to advance the access, exchange and use of health information for providers and patients across the health care continuum.

FAH commends Dr. Jim Jirjis on this well-deserved honor. A pioneer in health information technology, Dr. Jirjis has led the clinical informatics strategy for the health industry.

For more information on Dr. Jirjis’ appointment to HITAC click here.

FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn recently spoke with Dr. Jirjis on FAH’s Hospitals In Focus podcast about how HCA Healthcare is using groundbreaking artificial intelligence to provide patients with tailored care at the right place and right time. To listen to the discussion click here.

FAH Outlines COVID Relief Priorities in Letter to Senate Leaders

May 28, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Health Care Delivery, Legislation

WASHINGTON - The Federation of American Hospitals sent a letter to Senate leaders today outlining priorities for upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation. They include refining repayment terms for the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payments Program, ensuring the newly unemployed can maintain their private health coverage and enacting liability protections for caregivers and hospitals.

“Your bold and rapid action has been critical in enabling the nation’s health care providers to help meet the enormous immediate challenges posed by COVID-19. Unfortunately, the task at hand is far broader in its scope and urgent in its need than any undertaking in my lifetime, and it is evident that more must be done to ensure our ability to continue providing quality care to our patients and communities,” wrote FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn. The letter was sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles Schumer.

A top priority for hospitals – adjusting the repayment terms for the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payments Program.

The Program has been critical lifeline for hospitals during the fight to defeat COVID-19, but health care providers must start repaying the funds in a matter of weeks. CMS will garnish Medicare payments for providers who used the Program, effectively eliminating their Medicare reimbursement amid this ongoing crisis. Without modification, this will place insurmountable financial stress on already struggling facilities and providers.

FAH outlined several necessary changes to the Program including: ending the current pause in the Program so additional funds can be made available; increasing the number of months’ worth of funds that can be advanced to hospitals; extending the period before repayment begins and the period before interest begins to accrue; reducing the amount of the per-claim repayment percentage; waiving the interest rate or, at a minimum, capping the rate at one percent; and allocating the funds from general revenues rather than from the Medicare Trust Fund.

The letter goes on to outline steps Congress can take to ensure that Americans, especially the newly unemployed, can maintain or gain access to affordable health insurance coverage, particularly Employer Sponsored Insurance.

FAH also urges the Senate to build on efforts already underway to provide liability protection for caregivers and hospitals. It is vital to protect the good faith efforts of those on the front lines of this pandemic. 

You can find the complete letter here.

Coronavirus FAQs: What are elective surgeries, who receives the Provider Relief Fund and more!

May 22, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: General, Health Care Delivery

With countless new guidelines from Congress and the Trump administration in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it can be challenging to cipher through the meaning of complicated legislation and regulations.

But words matter.

Whether in the news media or in policy conversations, there is confusion around a handful of items related to FAH member hospitals and the patients we serve. Those items are explored below:

What are elective surgeries or procedures and why are they important?

Those not involved in patient care tend to view elective procedures as something optional, like cosmetic surgery or routine wellness checks. But the word “elective” can be misleading in that it isn’t referring to the usefulness or medical necessity of the service, but rather to the urgency of the service. “Elective” procedures are often lifesaving and/or preventive but are non-emergency, meaning they can be scheduled in advanced without negatively impacting the patient’s outcome and overall health. The term “elective” includes a wide range of procedures - everything from cancer treatment and essential diagnostic testing to the placement of cardiac stents to joint replacement surgeries. Thus, it is more accurate to refer to these services as non-emergent or scheduled procedures.

In response to local, state, and federal guidance, hospitals across the country stopped these non-emergent procedures in order to allocate more resources and personnel to COVID-19 response. But these decisions by government leaders, which were appropriate at the start of this pandemic, have had negative consequences on patients and the hospitals that serve them. Patients needing care have delayed medically necessary services, which can result in serious complications and poor health outcomes.

In addition, hospitals rely on revenue from these procedures and without them many are struggling to keep their doors open. The American Hospital Association released a study finding hospitals will lose $202.6 billion in expenses and lost revenue from March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020 – an average of $50 billion per month. A recent FAIR Health study found a national 16% decrease in revenue for large hospitals. Not surprisingly, volume has also been greatly impacted by coronavirus – hospitals and health systems have experienced an average decline in patient volume of 56% over a six-week period in March and April.

Hospitals in hot spots are filled with COVID patients, but in the majority of the country the elimination of non-emergent procedures, combined with the trepidation of patients to seek care during the pandemic, has left facilities empty. Regardless of its prevalence in a community, coronavirus has resulted in devastating impacts across all parts of the health care industry.

What COVID-related services are covered for the uninsured?

Hospitals are there to serve their communities and will treat COVID-19 patients regardless of whether those individuals are insured or uninsured. For insured individuals, some insurance companies have agreed to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment while others have not waived cost-sharing or have limitations on what services are eligible for those waivers.

For uninsured individuals, Congress passed legislation providing coverage for COVID-19 testing and testing-related services. And the Trump administration set aside funding from Congress to cover COVID-19 treatment for uninsured patients. Unfortunately, that treatment coverage does not extend to all uninsured COVID-19 patients, creating confusion for health care providers and patients and leaving many uninsured individuals responsible for the cost of COVID-19 treatment they thought would be covered by the government.

The administration’s program reimburses health care providers for treatment services when COVID-19 is the primary medical diagnosis. However, many patients have a secondary diagnosis of COVID-19 – in accordance with international medical coding guidelines – with the primary diagnosis representing the serious effects of the virus, such as pneumonia or sepsis. Patients with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 will have their services covered by the government; in contrast, patients who are seriously ill with pneumonia who have a secondary diagnosis of COVID-19 will not have their services covered by the government.

Are the billions of dollars in the Provider Relief Fund designated for hospitals only?

Press coverage and reporting of recently passed legislation like the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748, Public Law 116-136) and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 266, Public Law 116-139) often incorrectly infers that all of the funding in the Provider Relief Fund is going to hospitals. In reality, a wide variety of health care providers are eligible for these funds, including physicians, physician practices, ambulatory surgical centers, post-acute care facilities, behavioral health providers, and more.

Response to COVID-19 Requires Health Security as Well as Income Security

May 19, 2020 | Chip Kahn

Category: Affordable Care Act, Insurance

This op-ed originally appeared in Morning Consult on May 19th.

To understand the true effect of the fallout of the current COVID-19 crisis, just read recent headlines. One of the latest jobs reports has been described as “unthinkable” and the road to economic recovery characterized as “long and painful.”

In response to the fiscal emergency, President Donald Trump and Congress have appropriated trillions of dollars and erected a panoply of economic programs to curb the individual and corporate downfall. These efforts dwarf the programs of the 1930s and the speed of enactment and implementation is unmatched even by the response to the 2008 financial collapse.

While each of these actions protects American’s income security, nothing has been done for the sake of health care security.

A frequent and heinous side effect of job loss is the loss of health care coverage. While policymakers seem to recognize the cold hard facts of joblessness, they have not yet focused on the potential loss of health care access. Clearly, that loss is a scary prospect for the tens of millions now out of work and their loved ones who live with the fear, not only of COVID itself, but the risk of any illness without insurance.

In fact, the historic job losses caused by this pandemic will be rivaled by the losses in private health coverage. Estimates released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation show that up to 43 million people could lose their employer-sponsored health insurance coverage.

There has never been a recession in modern times where we’ve seen private coverage plummet like this. It has the potential to undermine our fight against the coronavirus and do lasting damage to our health care system and economy.

It is time for Congress and the administration to step up and protect employer-based coverage with the same urgency displayed to protect paychecks. To stay on the sidelines and do nothing risks the collapse of a structure that provides coverage for 180 million Americans, and opens the door for an unsustainable one-size-fits-all, government-run program. That’s the last thing this nation needs as we fight to recover the economy, stabilize our health care infrastructure and support our heroic caregivers on the front lines.

It starts with making sure people retain access to their employer-based insurance. Policymakers need to provide subsidies and/or tax credits to employers to partially offset the cost of continuing to provide coverage for their workers.

Federal assistance to help people with the cost of coverage through the COBRA program is also vital. COBRA allows the newly unemployed to keep their current coverage, but the cost can be prohibitive without the employer’s support. Congress should step in and provide temporary assistance to help cover premiums so individuals and families already suffering job loss can at least keep access to the health care they had before the pandemic as they await their return to work when our economy reopens.

For the nearly 28 million people who didn’t have insurance before COVID-19 struck, policymakers should provide a new, one-time special enrollment period to enable them to get comprehensive individual market coverage. And enhancing eligibility for premium subsidies on the federal health exchanges will help those individuals to better afford health insurance coverage.

We applaud the bold moves already taken by Congress and the Trump administration, which have helped thousands of businesses and millions of employees. But as the number of uninsured steadily grows, we must do more to contain the damage. These few straightforward actions can stop COVID-19 from menacing our health care coverage system as it has our economy and the health of so many Americans.

Since 2001, Chip Kahn has been president and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, which represents more than 1,000 leading tax-paying hospitals and health systems, and has been a leading voice in health care policy in DC for more than 40 years in a variety of roles.

FAH Reacts to Introduction of the HEROES Act in the House

May 12, 2020 | Chip Kahn

Category: Legislation

FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following statement after the release of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act:

"FAH supports The HEROES Act as an important step forward in assuring Americans their hospitals can continue providing vital COVID-19 care as well as recover shutdowns driven by the crisis.

“Americans and their caregivers are facing unprecedented health care challenges due to the pandemic. The HEROES Act builds on the CARES Act to provide critical resources to sustain our health care infrastructure while giving caregivers the necessary support both to defeat the virus and to enable hospitals to return to delivery of scheduled services.

“To further secure the care for patients and prevent obstacles to service, it is vital the next legislative package also includes additional crucial priorities such as COVID-19 medical liability protections for hospitals and caregivers. As the HEROES Act advances, we look forward to working with members of the House and Senate to ensure its development strengthens hospitals to impart the care our patients deserve and expect.”

Hospital Week 2020: Honoring Our Health Care Heroes – from a Safe Social Distance

May 11, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News, General

This year’s National Hospital Week feels different. As caregivers fight to defeat COVID-19, the gratitude and appreciation we have for hospitals on the front lines has reached new heights.

Now more than ever the nation is getting a glimpse of what hospitals mean to communities and experiencing the true meaning of service.

During National Hospital Week 2020, which runs from May 10th – May 16th, FAH and our member companies salute all those who work in and around the more than 5,000 community hospitals across the country.

We are in awe of the care and compassion displayed by the dedicated physicians, nurses, therapists, clinicians, engineers, environmental service teams, food service workers, volunteers, administrators and others who keep hospitals operating all day, every day to care for anyone who walks through their doors.

This year we are teaming up with our colleagues at the American Hospital Association (AHA) for a “Week of Thanks.” This is an opportunity for everyone to salute the health care heroes who are battling the pandemic – but do it from a safe social distance. Each day presents an opportunity to say thank you and then share your action on social media using #HospitalWeek so you can make sure front-line workers see it!

Opportunities include:

Send-a-Meal Monday: Provide a Meal to a Local Health Care Hero (or their family)

Help feed a local health care worker, or their family, as they work to fight COVID-19. Donate to one of these organizations or send food via one of these delivery services.

Tune In Tuesday: Hit Shuffle and Show us Your Dance Moves

Promote a motivational or positive Spotify playlist and share clips of people or health care workers dancing to it (or any music). Use #HospitalWeek in all your posts.

#WednesdayWisdom: Join this Social Trend to Share a Message of Positivity

Share a funny meme, an inspirational quote or a simple thank you to front line caregivers. Use #WednesdayWisdom and #HospitalWeek in your posts.

Thank You Thursday: Share Pics of Chalk Art (or any art!) Thanking Health Care Heroes

Draw positive messages and share pics with #HospitalWeek – Not an artist yourself? RT and help share other people’s artwork.

Face Mask Friday: Show us how you Mitigate the Spread of Germs with Your Face Mask

Share pictures of your face masks (health care workers can share pictures wearing their PPE) with #HospitalWeek.

The important role of community hospitals cannot be overstated. We recognize the hard work and dedication of everyone who makes sure they are open for patients 27/7/365 and say THANK YOU!

Hospital Letter Urges Federal Liability Protection for Frontline Providers

May 07, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News

A group of hospitals and health systems, including FAH, joined together today to send a letter to congressional leaders urging legislative action to protect those serving on the front lines of the pandemic from unwarranted legal action related to COVID-19.

Several states have taken action to shield providers from the legal exposure that results from actions and decisions undertaken in responding to an unprecedented public health emergency. But there is an inconsistent level of action across the country and federal legislation would ensure all frontline workers are protected.

The letter asks for liability legislation to be included in the next coronavirus relief package and was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

In addition to FAH, America’s Essential Hospitals, American Hospital Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, Catholic Health Association of the United States, Children’s Hospital Association, National Association for Behavioral Healthcare, Premier healthcare alliance and Vizient, Inc. joined the letter.

For the full letter click here.

FAH Celebrates National Nurses Week 2020

May 06, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News

Amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, one thing has been a constant – the service of frontline caregivers, doctors and nurses. During National Nurses Week (May 6-12, 2020) we are proud to celebrate 2020: The Year of the Nurse by honoring the heroic service of nurses working countless hours every day to ensure the safety and security of their fellow Americans.

Now more than ever, nurses are playing a vital role in delivering consistent, quality care in facilities across the country. Hospitals deeply appreciate the care and compassion that nurses provide patients and their families during the coronavirus national health emergency.

Their important work cannot be overstated – while many Americans are at home during the pandemic, nurses are working more hours than ever. Nurses are on the front lines making sure patients leave medical facilities safe and healthy.

FAH salutes the professionalism, commitment and dedication of the nurses who work in our member company hospitals and in other health care settings and we thank them for the outstanding care they deliver to patients.

Join in the discussion and celebrate the work of nurses across the country during National Nurses Week on social media with #NationalNursesWeek.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) declared May National Nurses Month. To learn more about how to support these caregivers on the front lines of COVID-19 click here.

Each year’s National Nurses Week ends on May 12, the birthday of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.

HHS' Swift Release of Funding for Hot-Spots Appreciated but "Job Isn't Done"

May 01, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Statement

WASHINGTON - FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following statement in response to HHS’ announcement it will be disbursing resources next week from the Provider Relief Fund to COVID “hot spot” hospitals and rural providers:

“Our patients and caregivers appreciate the speed at which HHS has provided needed resources to the COVID-19 front lines to keep hospitals going. The HHS response to the crisis in size and scope is unprecedented and the commitment of the administration to support America’s hospitals and our patients speaks volumes.       

“However, the job isn’t done. The latest GDP decline in health care and hospital spending shows that this critical part of the economy, which is the lifeblood of America, remains deeply stressed. Looking forward to the next distributions from the Provider Relief Fund, we hope HHS will target the significant losses experienced by providers in lower impact COVID-19 areas. To prep for and fend off the virus, state and local officials have required these facilities to significantly reduce or even shutter most of their services. We will need that help from the Fund to get going again.”

New Analysis: Dramatic GDP Reduction Reflects Unprecedented Financial Stress on Hospitals

May 01, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Research, Statement

WASHINGTON - The Federation of American Hospitals, in conjunction with FTI Consulting, today released a new analysis showing how a decline in health care spending as a result of COVD-19 – fueled by an unprecedented drop in scheduled hospital services and revenues – is the main driver behind the recent decrease in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“The future of hospital care in America is teetering, and some facilities may not recover from the COVID-19 pandemic economic crisis. The facts on the ground are totally unprecedented. The health care sector is contributing half the decline of the larger recession. When you do a deep dive into the roots of the massive drop in GDP - you see a desperate trend for hospitals. The failing financial health of hospitals could have a lasting negative effect on patient care and on America’s economic future,” said Chip Kahn, President and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals.

The FTI analysis says that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the recent drop in health care spending is a driving force behind the estimated 4.8% decrease in GDP in the first quarter of 2020.

In March alone, the component of GDP relating to hospitals dropped 12.1% coinciding with the declaration of a global COVID-19 pandemic on March 13th. This decline represents the most significant reduction in recorded history – dwarfing the second-largest decline (3.1%) in March of 1970. April numbers are likely to be worse.

The report concludes that a primary reason for this drop is the slowdown that hospitals experienced in March due to bans on scheduled procedures, treatments and diagnostics imposed across the country.

You can find the complete report here.

FAH Letter to Congress Recommends Future Actions to Protect Access to Care

April 29, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Legislation, Statement

WASHINGTON - The Federation of American Hospitals recently a letter to congressional leaders outlining recommendations for future COVID-19 relief legislation.

FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn expressed appreciation to congressional leadership and President Trump for acting swiftly to support hospitals on the front lines but emphasized more effort is necessary to assure the resources and regulatory relief are there to keep hospital doors open for our patients.

“Maintaining patient access to hospitals is critical if we are to defeat COVID-19 and provide the care Americans need. Congress can accomplish that goal by focusing future legislation on three important fronts,” Kahn said.

“First, ensure that the resources already allocated are flowing to the right places at the right time and any repayment is fair and reasonable. Second, it is also crucial that we protect health coverage for the newly unemployed so they can continue to get the care they depend on and provide access to affordable health insurance for those currently without it. Third, enact liability protections for caregivers and facilities,” he added.

FAH’s letter, which was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, outlines ways to accomplish these important objectives. They include:

  • Strengthen Programs that Provide Immediate Financial Support to Hospitals
    • Revise the Medicare Accelerated Payments Program Terms
      • Increase the amount hospitals can advance from 3 or 6 months to 12 months
      • Extend the period before repayment begins (currently 120 days) to at least 12 months
      • Reduce the amount of the claim offset from 100% to 25% during the repayment period
      • Extend the repayment period for acute and post-acute providers from 12 months (or 210 days) to a minimum 36 months before hospitals must pay the outstanding balance and before interest begins to accrue
      • Waive the interest; at a minimum the interest rate should be no more than 2%
      • Ensure funding is allocated from general revenues
      • Consider forgiving repayment for hospitals and health systems that are struggling
    • Better Target the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF)
      • Ensure additional funds are available, if needed, based on a triggering event
      • Require distribution of the Fund based on actual extraordinary COVID-19 costs and lost revenues
  • Ensure and Maintain Health Insurance Coverage
    • Eliminate Cost-sharing for Treatment
      • Eliminate out-of-pocket expenses for the treatment of COVID-19 patients
      • Ensure hospitals receive waived cost-sharing (copayments, coinsurance, deductibles) directly from the government or applicable insurer
      • Remove prior authorization requirements related to COVID-19 and post-acute care
    • Maintain Employer-Sponsored Insurance
      • Provide subsidies/tax credits to employers to maintain health coverage for employees
      • Offset the full cost of coverage through COBRA for the recently unemployed
      • Extend the COBRA election period from 60 to 180 days
    • Bolster and Enhance Health Insurance Enrollment for the Unemployed and Uninsured
      • Provide a special enrollment period for the Federally Facilitated Exchanges (FFEs)
      • Waive or reduce premiums for the newly unemployed
      • Expand eligibility for premium tax credits and lower the premium caps associated with the eligibility thresholds
      • Ensure enrollees are not dropped from the Exchanges due to a reduction in income
      • Provide a unique funding allocation for COVID-19 treatment for those remaining uninsured
      • Ensure presumptive and retroactive eligibility for Medicaid
  • Provide Liability Protection for Clinicians and Facilities Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Support Frontline Health Care Workers
    • Establish a COVID-19 Medical Professional Loan Forgiveness Program to provide forgiveness or tax credits (if loans are already paid in full) to frontline providers regardless of the tax status of the facility at which they work  
    • Waive location and specialty limitations on health care providers with H-1B and J-1 visas and protect the immigration status of their families in the event of the health care worker’s death or disability due to COVID-19
  • Expand Access to Telehealth/Broadband
    • Ensure tax-paying hospitals’ eligibility for the FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program and for H.R. 6474, The Healthcare Broadband Expansion During COVID-19 Act
  • Provide Additional Stability to Hospitals and Health Systems
    • Halt finalization of the CMS Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation (MFAR)
    • Ensure COVID-19 temporary hospital beds do not reduce teaching hospitals’ indirect medical education (IME) payment (i.e., do not include those beds in the resident/bed ratio)
    • Adopt S. 3559 / H.R. 6365, Immediate Relief for Rural Facilities and Providers Act
  • Bolster Behavioral Health Funding and Telehealth Coverage
    • Waive the Medicaid IMD Exclusion for at least the duration of the COVID-19 crisis
    • Waive the Medicare 190-day lifetime limit for free-standing psychiatric hospital stays
    • Improve compliance with mental health parity requirements
    • Ensure hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) can provide and bill for telehealth for outpatient therapy and psychiatry programs
    • Allow critical access hospitals (CAHs) to directly bill for behavioral health telehealth services regardless of their billing method
  • Suspend Payment Impacts of CMS Penalty and Performance-based Payment Programs and Hold Harmless Participants in Alternative Payment Models (APMs)
    • Suspend payment impacts of CMS payment-based performance programs for any fiscal year impacted by COVID-19
    • Hold harmless APM participants (e.g., ACO’s, BPCI-A) from 2020 performance year losses and prohibit CMS from mandating participants move to higher risk levels in 2021 
    • Sunset the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model (CJR) this December
  • Support Resumption of Medically Necessary Services
    • Enable hospitals to resume scheduled procedures and services to meet the needs of non-COVID-19 patients by increasing access to testing and personal protective equipment

You can find the complete FAH letter here and a summary here.

Follow us on Twitter @ChipKahn, @FAHhospitals

FAH Joins Health Care, Business Groups in Urging Congress to Expand Access to Affordable Coverage

April 28, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Statement

WASHINGTON - The Federation of American Hospitals along with a wide-ranging group of health care and business organizations sent a letter to congressional leaders on Tuesday urging them to “take immediate action to support employers and workers by protecting and expanding high quality, affordable health care coverage” during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn said, “Congress acted in the coronavirus bills to ensure America’s income security, now is the time to act on health care security. The economic crisis is a health coverage crisis too. With pandemic job losses, many Americans are losing their private coverage. It is mission critical for Congress to assure the newly unemployed can keep their health care.”

In the letter, the groups expressed appreciation for the swift action already taken by Congress but wrote in the letter that more needs to be done to ensure the millions of Americans left unemployed by the COVID-19 crisis do not lose their health coverage.

“Loss of health care coverage will create additional financial and emotional stress on individuals and families, reduce resources available to the health care system at a time where providers must increase capacity to address the COVID-19 surge, and stymie public health interventions that require routine engagement between individuals and the health care system,” the letter states.

The groups urged lawmakers to enact several policies to prioritize maintaining private health benefits for individuals and families and increase coverage options for those who are already uninsured. They include:

  • Provide Employers with Subsidies to Preserve Health Benefits
  • Cover the Cost of COBRA Premiums for the Recently Unemployed who have employer-sponsored insurance
  • Open a Special Enrollment Period for the Health Insurance Marketplaces
  • Increase Eligibility for Federal Subsidies for the Health Insurance Marketplaces

The letter was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Groups signing onto the letter included FAH, AHA, AHIP, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Rural Health Association, America’s Essential Hospitals, the Children’s Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Nurses Association and two dozen other groups.

The full letter can be found here.

Hospital Groups Send Letter Outlining Changes to Medicare Advanced Payment Program

April 24, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Medicare

FAH and a group of hospital organizations sent a letter to HHS, CMS and congressional leaders this week encouraging improvements be made to the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs.

The groups expressed appreciation for the quick action of lawmakers and officials in the Trump administration to provide resources to caregivers during the COVID-19 crisis.

The letter also pointed to additional things that can be done to make sure hospitals can continue to provide needed care – one of those is adjustments to the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs.

The letter strongly supports reforms already being discussed by congressional leaders, including lowering the interest rate on such payments (currently 9.625 percent), increasing the length of the repayment period and allocating the funds from general revenues rather than from the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund.

“Such improvements are necessary to ensure that a program designed to address hospitals’ and other health care providers’ cash-flow issues associated with responding to COVID-19 does not inadvertently exacerbate these issues once the repayment period begins,” the groups wrote.

Other improvements to the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs suggested by the hospital groups include:

  • Increase the amount that can be advanced to hospitals from three or six months of Medicare payments to 12 months of Medicare payments;
  • Extend the period before repayment begins from four months to at least 12 months;
  • Reduce the amount of the Medicare claim reduction during repayment from 100 percent to no more than 25 percent;
  • Extend the repayment period before interest begins to accrue from 12 months to a minimum of 36 months; and
  • Waive the interest rate (or the collection of interest); at a minimum, the interest rate should be no more than two percent.

In addition to FAH, America’s Essential Hospitals, American Hospital Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, Catholic Health Association of the United States, National Association for Behavioral Healthcare, Premier healthcare alliance and Vizient, Inc. signed onto the letter.

The full letter can be found here.

Hospitals: “Safety and Protection of Caregivers is Top Priority”

April 22, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News, Health Care Delivery

The safety and protection of caregivers is a top priority for hospitals as we work diligently to overcome the unprecedented health care crisis caused by COVID-19. 

Hospitals and health systems are strictly following CDC guidelines when it comes to the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), especially respirators like the N95 masks.

The situation on the front lines changes on a daily basis, and hospitals are doing everything in their ability to protect staff and safely care for patients during this pandemic. This mission is of the utmost importance to FAH members.

Bipartisan COVID-19 Relief Package a "Lifeline" to Hospitals, Caregivers

April 21, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Legislation, Statement

WASHINGTON - The Federation of American Hospitals President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following statement in reaction to the bipartisan coronavirus relief package:

"The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act throws a critical lifeline to frontline caregivers in the COVID fight. The Federation commends congressional leaders and President Trump for these necessary resources to keep hospitals open and serving our patients. 

"The act will help assure that hospitals can respond to the virus as well as to other, non-COVID patients, particularly when scheduled procedures come back online. The act’s dedicated funding for testing is another important step toward ensuring patient and staff safety and enabling the resumption of elective procedures.

"While we appreciate Congress taking swift action – more still needs to be done to defeat COVID. It is important that HHS distributes the funding in a timely, well-targeted fashion. And it remains mission-critical to reform the Medicare Accelerated Payment Program so that it does not impede hospitals’ ability to meet patient needs."

FAH Urges Congress to Replenish The Provider Relief Fund, Releases Issue Brief Highlighting “Operational Headwinds" Facing Hospitals

April 13, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Statement

WASHINGTON - The Federation of American Hospitals today urged Congress to replenish The Provider Relief Fund with an additional $100 billion. FAH also released a new issue brief produced in conjunction with FTI Consulting that highlights the critical nature of our nation’s hospital finances and the potential lasting effects that the COVID-19 pandemic could have on communities across the country:

"Congress must act again to protect Americans' hospital care during this unprecedented crisis. It is time for lawmakers to join together and enact a new measure that replenishes The Provider Relief Fund with an additional $100 billion.

"The infusion of funds for providers from the CARES Act is a start, but unfortunately nowhere near enough. Swift action is necessary to ensure that our nation’s caregivers can continue to serve all the patients who depend on them every day.

"A new issue brief released today by FAH in conjunction with FTI Consulting reinforces the need for Congressional action to replenish the Provider Relief Fund. It documents the overwhelming operational headwinds currently facing America’s hospital. Not only do hospitals face the high cost of caring for COVID-19 patients, but they are also struggling to keep their doors open because of the cancellation of most other procedures and diagnostics and the growing cost of uncompensated care as the recession deepens.

"As the report states: 'These extraordinary pressures are putting hospitals, particularly in rural areas, at increased risk of closure. Absent swift federal intervention, many of these hospitals may never reopen and communities may lose access to vital services.'

"Congress must act quickly to protect hospitals before these dire warnings become a grim reality."

You can find the complete issue brief here.

FAH Outlines CARES Act Funding Principles in Letter to HHS

April 01, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Financing, Legislation

FAH recently sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar commending the department on its expeditious efforts to work with hospitals to fight COVID-19.

The letter also outlines the financial impact the pandemic is having on hospitals and health systems, plus lays out FAH’s principles for distributing the resources allocated in the CARES Act’s Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF).

You can read the letter here.

FAH Applauds CMS for "Stepping Up" to Help Hospitals During Crisis

March 31, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Statement

FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following statement in response to CMS' recently released waivers:

"CMS is to be lauded for stepping up to enable hospitals to treat the surge of patients requiring care during this crisis.

"I've never seen a situation in which hospitals are in such desperate need of both regulatory and financial relief. The waivers recently announced by CMS will give caregivers on the frontlines the essential flexibility to provide every patient the right care in the right setting - whether it is at a hospital or treating someone at home using telemedicine.

"CMS Administrator Seema Verma and her team have been responsive to the crisis and worked tirelessly to help hospitals prepare and cope. Their creative and relentless efforts during this unprecedented situation are helping ensure caregivers are protected and patients have access to life-saving care.

"We look forward to continued cooperation with CMS as everyone bands together to defeat COVID-19."

FAH Applauds Swift Passage of CARES Act by House

March 27, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Legislation, Statement

WASHINGTON - FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following statement in response to the House passage of the CARES Act:

"FAH applauds the House for acting swiftly on the historic CARES Act. 

"The CARES Act is a lifeline to caregivers and hospitals saving lives right now across the nation.

"America’s hospitals are facing unprecedented challenges because of the continued progression of COVID-19. This act will boost caregivers and hospitals - large and small, urban and rural - to meet the challenge.

"Now that the legislation is passed, we must work to ensure the resources it provides are rapidly allocated and dispatched to those hospitals who need the critical support.

"The Congress’ action today is to be commended. Now it is crucial that policymakers stay engaged – and lead us in the next steps to quell the crisis. We look forward to continued cooperation among our nation’s leaders as we all join together to assure all our patients have access to lifesaving care."

FAH Applauds Comprehensive CARES Act, Urges Swift Passage by House

March 25, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Statement

WASHINGTON - FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following statement in response to the Senate passage of the CARES Act:

"Senate action on the CARES Act has been swift and comprehensive. Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer and the entire Senate are to be commended for meeting head-on the national challenge of COVID-19. 

"The progression of COVID-19 across the nation is an escalating threat and we urge the House to follow the Senate’s lead and quickly approve this essential measure.

"The CARES Act will ensure the flow of resources that provide caregivers and hospitals with the tools and equipment they need to treat desperately ill patients.

"It is vital the Congress remain engaged to take any next steps necessary to quell the crisis. We are confident our nation’s leaders will work together to support the care needed for those Americans who rely on a strong and available health care system."

FAH Applauds CMS Narrowing Hospital Surveying in Response to COVID-19

March 23, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Quality, Statement

The Federation of American Hospitals released a statement in response to CMS' hospital surveying announcement:

"In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, hospitals must maintain a steady focus on the demands of patient care. At the same time despite the importance of oversight of hospitals, it is also important to safeguard the health of surveyors with limited access to PPE by not putting them at unnecessary risk. 

Towards these ends, FAH today commends CMS for narrowing the focus of hospital surveys and assessments to those most important to ensure patient safety in response to the COVID-19 national emergency. We look forward to continuing to work with CMS to ensure survey prioritization and reduce regulatory burden across the board for hospitals during this national emergency."

The complete CMS memo on the Prioritization of Survey Activities can be found here.

Updated: Congress Needs to Take Bold Action NOW to Ensure Hospitals can Handle COVID-19 Crisis

March 20, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Legislation, Statement

The Federation of American Hospitals calls on Congress to act swiftly to provide the necessary resources for hospitals to meet the challenge of COVID-19 for our patients.

Policy recommendations and supplementary funding requests sent to leaders in Congress highlight at least an estimated $225 billion in aid needed by hospitals.

FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn put this crisis in perspective and outlined the consequences of inaction:

“In my 40+ years in health policy, I have never seen a threat to patient care like the COVID-19. Congress must give hospitals a backstop NOW to ensure caregivers will be available for this challenge.”

“This threat cannot be overstated. The costs of COVID-19 to the entire health care system – medically and financially - will be staggering. The truth is the care will not be there without Congress ensuring hospitals are properly funded. It’s never been more important that policymakers take bold action NOW to assure care and save lives.”

Key policy recommendations include: $90 billion in bi-weekly supplemental payments to offset significant cashflow concerns; a $100 billion hospital loan backstop program; and other policies to ensure patient access to and coverage for COVID-19 care, protect health care workers, and provide immediate financial support to hospitals during this pandemic.    

To learn more about the actions Congress can take to make sure hospitals can serve patients during these unprecedented times, click the links below.

Policy Recommendations

Supplemental Funding Requests

Supplemental Funding Details

House Passed COVID-19 Package “Vital Step” toward access to testing

March 14, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Statement

WASHINGTON – FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn issued the following statement reacting to the House of Representatives passing the coronavirus response package:

“It is gratifying that Congress is moving with dispatch to address the COVID-19 crisis, and the Federation of American Hospital supports these great efforts.

"Waiving patient copayments and cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing, and providing funding for uninsured Americans, are vital steps toward ensuring that all patients can depend on seamless and timely access to necessary testing.

"There is still much to do to address the pressing needs of ill patients and prepare for the possibility of a surge. We will continue to work with Congress as we all strive to overcome the challenges ahead."

National Emergency Declaration is “Critically Important”

March 13, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Statement

WASHINGTON – FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn issued the following statement in response to President Donald Trump declaring a national emergency:

“It is critically important to the health of the American people that the President has decided to proactively address the COVID-19 pandemic by declaring a national emergency. This action will free up vital resources and provide the administrative flexibility, particularly via waivers under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act, necessary to help hospitals meet the possible surge of patients.

"The threat of COVID-19 is rapidly evolving and will test our nation’s health system over the coming weeks and months. The President’s action gives HHS Secretary Alex Azar the authority to make crucial decisions in a timely fashion that will enable caregivers to meet this challenge."

FAH Joins Release of Consumer Access to Data White Paper

March 10, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News, HIT

FAH joined with 11 health care provider, health insurer and patient organizations to release a white paper entitled Health IT Leadership Roundtable: Future of Interoperability and Secure Consumer Access to Health Care Data.

The paper summarizes key perspectives raised during the January 2020 Roundtable event, including recommendations for advancing interoperability and consumer access to health care data. The recommendations include:

  • Education and Engagement - the need for educational efforts to help clinicians and patients better understand HIPAA, including the differences between HIPAA and non-HIPAA-covered entities (such as third-party apps) and notice and consent policies
  • Privacy and Security - the need to establish a public-private partnership to review privacy and security policies for third-party apps and a create a star-rating, or some other indicator, of the app's commitment to privacy and security; the need to establish a data privacy structure that ensures health data is protected outside of HIPAA; and the need for stronger compliance mechanisms for non-HIPAA-covered entities
  • Data Sharing and Interoperability - the need to strengthen consumer discrimination protections related to downstream or secondary uses of data; and the need for funding to support standards development for priority data elements and use cases.

The other organizations in addition to FAH to sign onto the white paper include American Academy of Family Physicians; American College of Physicians; American Health Information Management Association; American Heart Association; American Hospital Association; American Medical Informatics Association; Blue Cross Blue Shield Association; College of Healthcare Information Management Executives; Consumer Technology Association; National Partnership for Women & Families and Premier.

To read more click here.

CMS Interoperability Rules “Lack Adequate Privacy and Security Requirements”

March 09, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Health Care Delivery, HIT, Statement

WASHINGTON – FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn issued the following statement after reviewing the final interoperability rules issued today by CMS:

“The final interoperability rules issued today lack adequate privacy and security requirements for third-party apps – leaving patients susceptible to misuse of their data and unnecessarily risking patient trust. Hospitals are held to high standards to protect our patient privacy and security; third-party apps should be too.

"At a time when almost all of one’s personal information is accessible on your phone; patients deserve the same convenience for their health care needs. But, we owe it to patients to protect their privacy and security. This regulation does not meet that test."

Follow us on Twitter @ChipKahn, @FAHhospitals

Coronavirus Funding Package Provides Hospitals "Essential Assistance"

March 04, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Financing, Legislation, Statement

WASHINGTON – FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn issued the following statement in response to the recently released coronavirus funding package:

“The Federation deeply appreciates the Congress’ swift and timely action on funding the nation’s effort to combat coronavirus. This bill will provide essential assistance to caregivers and communities on the front lines of this battle.

"Hospitals are often the first line of defense in local communities across the country. Our patients depend on us and this funding will help us with ‘job one,’ providing critical health care to our patients and assisting in keeping Americans healthy and safe."

FAH Presents Annual Corris Boyd Leadership Award to Kevin Price

March 03, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News

This week the Federation of American Hospitals presented Kevin Price, Senior Director, Supplier Diversity & Performance at Novant Health, with the 14th annual Corris Boyd Leadership Award. Price was honored March 2nd during the FAH Annual Conference and Business Exposition in Washington, D.C.

It has become a tradition to surprise the winner and this year was no different. Mr. Price was unaware of the honor until his name was called.

Nominators described Price as “the picture of leadership;” “the player everyone should want on their team;” and as a mentor – not just inside his company, but in the community – who is “engaging, respectful and supportive.”

During his presentation speech, Ken Kuiper, Chairman of the FAH Exposition Advisory Committee, highlighted Price’s accomplishments during 14 years at Novant Health.

“He has helped his company become an industry leader in providing historically underutilized businesses the opportunity to participate in the procurement process. The success has been amazing! In 2019, the company he works for surpassed one-billion-dollars of cumulative spending with ethnic minority, women, veteran and LGBTQ owned businesses at both the tier one and tier two levels combined,” said Kuiper.

Leaders at Novant Health also sent a letter to be read during the presentation praising Price for leadership and his role in the company’s success.

But it isn’t just Price’s work with Novant that earned him the award. Those who know him best also point to his personal attributes. He has a passion for volunteering at his church and his dedication to mentoring young men in his fraternity, as well as young business owners he meets in the community.

Kevin Price is an amazing example of what our industry strives to achieve.

Also, there to join in the presentation of the award was Corris Boyd’s wife – Vanessa.

“This award is given annually in memory of our late friend. Corris Boyd was an exceptional person and an outstanding leader in workplace diversity. This award is our way of keeping his legacy of excellence going and we are so happy to have Vanessa here to take part,” Kuiper said.

The Corris Boyd Leadership Award honors an individual or company that has made an outstanding contribution in fostering leadership in the health care industry. FAH established the Corris Boyd Leadership in 2007 to honor the late Corris Boyd, who spent his career working with hospital management companies and group purchasing organizations. Corris Boyd committed his life to diversity and excellence in health care. He believed that leadership development is crucial to success and was devoted to the success of minority- and women-owned business enterprises.

FAH is honored to present Kevin Price as the 2020 Corris Boyd Award winner and extends its thanks for his outstanding work which embodies the ideals the award represents.

In the Eye of the Storm: FAH Members Emergency Services & Crises Response

February 14, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Health Care Delivery

FAH member hospitals are prepared 24/7/365 to come to the aid the communities they serve to minimize the spread of disease or in the event of a natural or manmade disaster.

When a dangerous storm is approaching – our teams jump into action. Carefully crafted plans are executed to make sure hospitals are ready to continue caring for the patients inside and remain open for those in need.

Hurricane Katrina was a watershed moment for the hospital industry. The historic floods in New Orleans devastated medical facilities across the city. FAH member companies learned from that terrible tragedy and their work since can be credited with saving countless lives.

In 2017 as Hurricane Harvey neared the Texas coast, HCA Healthcare activated their storm protocols – many of which were created after Katrina. They prepared their facilities for possible flood waters and planned for evacuation scenarios. It worked! Patients and employees survived the storm. Once the rain stopped and the wind died down, HCA employees from across the country mobilized to help patients and their co-workers recover from the storm. You can read more about HCA’s efforts during and after the storm here.

Similar scenarios played out at Universal Health Services (UHS) hospitals. Employees in affected areas worked around the clock to provide care to those taking shelter at UHS facilities, with one patient saying, “We were seen promptly and appropriate testing was ordered. I know that many of the staff there were working multiple shifts and several were brought over from another hospital. They all need to be highly commended." To learn more about the efforts by UHS staff in times of crisis click here.

FAH members have also been in the eye of many other recent storms including Category 5 Hurricanes Irma and Michael. Each time our hospitals were there to serve and protect patients.

Sadly, many of the mass shootings over the past several years have also impacted communities served by FAH members.

When a gunman opened fire at the Route 91 Music Festival in Las Vegas chaos ensured. Hundreds of victims flooded the emergency rooms of HCA’s Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, as well as Summerlin Hospital Medical Center and Valley Hospital Medical Center – both operated by UHS.

According to news reports, staff at each facility handled the overwhelming situation with a sense of calm and caring. They made sure each patient received the best care possible and are credited with saving numerous lives. The companies and their employees say the response was made possible by great training and protocols. They were prepared for the unthinkable and knew exactly what to do when it happened. You can learn more about the response from HCA here and UHS here.

Unfortunately, preparing for these unimaginable incidents is a reality for hospitals. From El Paso to Orlando, Virginia Tech to Columbine and many others – FAH member hospitals have found themselves in the middle of tragedy. Each time, thanks to careful planning and execution, the staff have acted in heroic fashion – caring for the injured in a swift and organized way.

At Tenet Health, company leadership makes sure their hospitals are ready for anything. Tenet deploys Hospital Incident Command Center teams at all its acute care facilities for any “extreme weather, floods, fires, earthquakes, utility failures, infectious disease concerns or other active threats, as well as major events happening in the immediate proximity of our operations.” You can learn more about Tenet Health’s emergency preparedness efforts here.

Our hospitals are also ready when public health emergencies arise. From treating people who had the Ebola virus in 2015 to those infected by coronavirus/COVID-19 currently, FAH members are ready with the equipment and technology to make sure they can care for the sick and minimize the spread of these conditions.

But these are just a few anecdotes of the many lives touched by tragedies and the heroic men and women of FAH member hospitals who go above and beyond to take care of their communities. Regardless of size or location, our hospitals are ready to provide around the clock emergency services and essential crisis response. The size and scope of our members provides them the ability to respond to crises in an organized, holistic fashion, whether it be transferring patients in an emergency evacuation or sharing resources. These facilities stand prepared to respond with the tested experience needed to save lives in communities across the country.

Who Is FAH

February 14, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News

Whether your loved one is getting cancer treatment at Willamette Valley Medical Center in Oregon or you need emergency care at Delray Medical Center in Florida – the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH)’s 1,000+ hospitals are a lifeline for patients in communities coast to coast.

Our goal is simple: an America in which every patient receives the right health care when and where they need it.

Our members provide health care services in urban and rural America in a wide range of settings that include everything from inpatient rehabilitation and long-term acute care hospitals to psychiatric and cancer treatment centers.

As an organization, our mission is to advance public policy that ensures patients and communities have access to high-quality and affordable health care.

Our member companies are comprised of leading tax-paying hospitals and health care systems. Together they represent nearly 20% of U.S. hospitals – accounting for nearly 150,000 hospital beds nationwide.

Our facilities don’t just care for the sick and injured, they also contribute to robust local economies. FAH membership employs more than half a million people in 45 states.

These facts reflect the impact of FAH and our member companies. The health care delivery system is changing, and we are in the middle of the transformation.

Because of this the FAH membership recently renewed our purpose with a new mission and vision statement and laid out our values and strategic goals. They include:

  • High-quality and affordable care across the care continuum
  • Comprehensive health coverage
  • Patient choice and care setting
  • Around the clock emergency services and essential crisis response
  • Fair and competitive payment for health care services
  • Tax-paying hospitals contributing to community needs
  • Major employers boosting local economies
  • Market-based solutions that put patients first

You can learn more about our efforts in each of these areas by clicking here.

“For more than 50 years, job one of FAH has been to work with policymakers to ensure our hospitals are able to provide the highest quality care for all patients. Our facilities are critical resources to the patients and communities we serve,” said Chip Kahn, FAH President and CEO.

Building Upon the ACA to Achieve Universal Coverage

February 14, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Affordable Care Act

The 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provided millions of Americans access to affordable health care, assuring they could receive needed care. The law accomplished this goal by establishing federal and state marketplaces, expanding Medicaid and utilizing the current mix of public and private coverage.

The Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) played a pivotal role in the passage of the ACA. We worked alongside leaders in the hospital community to forward the efforts of lawmakers to ensure patients had true comprehensive health coverage, including protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

FAH members have long fought for the ACA to meet its expectations of providing universal access to coverage for all Americans. In the years since its implementation, controversies over health coverage have led to some calling for the elimination of the ACA, while others have started pushing for a one-size-fits-all government-run health care system. Though these politics have presented obstacles, the ACA has brought health care security to millions by establishing a pathway to care for people who need hospital services.

The law has dramatically reduced the number of uninsured Americans. Despite court decisions and other actions designed to undercut ACA, since it’s passage more than 20 million people have gained coverage and the uninsured rate fell to its lowest point of only 10%.

FAH and its membership firmly believe that the ACA provides the platform that will lead to the universal coverage the majority of Americans support. It’s our hope that the administration, Congress and courts - in time - will embrace the law and its mission to provide everyone affordable access to care. The good news - progress is being made. Congressional deliberations over the last few years have provided a roadmap to enable the ACA to meet its aspirations for better health care for all Americans. It’s time lawmakers build on the parts of the law that are working and find reasonable solutions to fix what’s broken.

White House Budget is “Bad Medicine” for Patients

February 10, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Medicaid, Medicare, Statement


WASHINGTON – FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following statement in reaction to the White House's 2021 proposed budget:

“The administration budget proposal is bad medicine for the most vulnerable American patients.

"The arbitrary cuts to health care programs envisioned in the budget will make the job of America’s caregivers much more difficult. This proposal combined with already issued regulations will result in a reduction in coverage, putting the health care of millions of patients at risk.

"This is no time to cut the Medicare and Medicaid programs that so many Americans depend on. 

"The plan to reduce funding to HHS agencies on the front lines of protecting our public health is particularly ill-timed. The spread of the coronavirus is evidence that we need a strong permanent defense system to stop threats before they start and contain them when they do."

Follow us on Twitter @ChipKahn, @FAHhospitals

FAH Supports Ways & Means' Commonsense Surprise Billing Solution

February 07, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Legislation, Statement

WASHINGTON – FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following statement in reaction to the House Ways and Means surprise billing proposal:

“Hospitals have long called for a balanced, fair approach to protect our patients from out-of-network surprise bills. The bipartisan House Ways and Means proposal meets that need.  
 
"The plan authored by Chairman Neal and Ranking Member Brady provides certainty for patients while enabling the health care community to settle payments without unnecessary rate setting. We are pleased to see this progress on surprise billing legislation and hope that the Congress can unify around this commonsense solution."

How the Trump Admin is Trying to Cut Health Care to America’s Neediest

February 06, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Medicaid

A recent move by the Trump administration will dramatically force billions of dollars in state budget cuts and jeopardize the Medicaid program. 

Under the proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation (MFAR) rule, CMS would have the ability to strike down common financing arrangements in states across the country. These arrangements include provider taxes, intergovernmental transfers and donations. If the administration’s rule is finalized, MFAR would have far-reaching, detrimental impacts on Medicaid, a program whose very mission is to provide necessary care to low-income Americans and children.

FAH opposes the Trump administration’s proposed MFAR rule and is asking it to be withdrawn given the harm it will inflict on the neediest Americans and patients across the country. The magnitude of cuts to Medicaid imposed by this proposal would also have a detrimental impact on hospitals' ability to provide care.

MFAR could have impacts that reach beyond health care. To make up for the loss of federal funding for Medicaid, many states would have to cut budget priorities like highway funding or other infrastructure.

In a comment letter sent to CMS, FAH describes the consequences the rule will have on state Medicaid programs and patients. Furthermore, the letter argues that CMS has exceeded its statutory authority. The complete letter can be viewed here

Protect Patients from Surprise Billing

February 04, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category:

No patient should ever receive a surprise bill – this is at the core of a set of principles developed by the hospital industry as leaders work to solve this issue.

FAH, the American Hospital Association (AHA), America’s Essential Hospitals, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Catholic Health Association of the United States and Children’s Hospital Association are committed to protecting patients from surprise medical bills that result from unexpected gaps in coverage or medical emergencies.

The groups have been working with Congressional leaders and other stakeholders for more than a year to find a compromise that treats everyone in the process fairly.

FAH and other hospital associations sent a letter to Congress laying out these principles to act as a framework for a legislative solution to surprise billing:

  • Preserve the role of private negotiation. Health plans and providers should retain the ability to negotiate appropriate payment rates. The government should not establish a fixed payment amount or reimbursement methodology for out-of-network services, which could create unintended consequences for patients by disrupting incentives for health plans to create comprehensive networks.
  • Remove the patient from health plan/provider negotiations. Patients should not be placed in the middle of negotiations between insurers and providers. Health plans must work directly with providers on reimbursement, and the patient should not be responsible for transmitting any payment between the plan and the provider.
  • Ensure patients have access to comprehensive provider networks and accurate network information. Patients should have access to a comprehensive network of providers, including in-network physicians and specialists at in-network facilities. Health plans should provide easily understandable information about their provider network, including accurate listings for hospital-based physicians, so that patients can make informed health care decisions. Federal and state regulators should ensure both the adequacy of health plan provider networks and the accuracy of provider directories.

To read the full letter sent to Congress click here.

Healthy Adult Opportunity Demo Means "Neither Health nor Opportunity" for Medicaid Beneficiaries

January 30, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Medicaid, Statement

Healthy Adult Opportunity Demo Means "Neither Health nor Opportunity" for Medicaid Beneficiaries

WASHINGTON – FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following statement in reaction to the newly released Healthy Adult Opportunity (HAO) Demonstration:

“The CMS Healthy Adult Opportunity announcement means neither health nor opportunity for Americans who depend on Medicaid for their health care. 

“The plan will create roadblocks for patients to access care and will threaten Medicaid coverage for millions more.

“Medicaid block grants have rightly been rejected by Congress. Rebranding them under the thin veil of a demonstration doesn’t change the fact they would lead to arbitrary cuts that will weaken Medicaid for those most in need.”

Follow us on Twitter @ChipKahn, @FAHhospitals

FAH Comments on Insurer Transparency Proposed Rule

January 30, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Financing, Insurance

FAH Comments on Insurer Transparency Proposed Rule

The FAH submitted comments in response to the Transparency in Coverage Proposed Rule, which would require health insurers to: publicly disclose the payment rates they have negotiated with health care providers and disclose to their enrollee’s estimated cost-sharing liability (e.g., copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles). The Proposed Rule would also allow insurers to claim credit under the medical loss ratio (MLR) methodology for “shared savings payments” made to an enrollee who selects a lower-cost provider.

Public Disclosure of Negotiated Rates

The FAH comment letter reiterates our support for HHS’ goal of transparency for patients while opposing the disclosure of negotiated rates and highlighting the legal and operational concerns with the Administration’s proposal. The comment letter argues that the Proposed Rule exceeds the Administration’s statutory authority, and raises 1st amendment/trade secret concerns. It also risks significant market disruption and unforeseen anticompetitive effects that pose significant potential harms for consumers. The letter urges CMS to engage with industry to further develop price estimator tools that provide clear, accurate, and actionable cost-sharing information tools rather than implement an unnecessary proposal to publicly release negotiated rates.

Disclosure of Cost-Sharing Information to Enrollees

The FAH comment letter expressed support for proposals that would require insurers to provide enrollees information regarding their cost-sharing liability, including the accumulated deductible and out-of-pocket amounts incurred by the enrollee to date, and any prerequisites to coverage for the item or service. 

“Shared Savings Payments” under the MLR

The FAH comment letter opposed the proposal to allow insurers to claim credit under the MLR for “shared savings payments” made to an enrollee who selects a lower-cost provider. Allowing insurers to treat payments to enrollees who obtain care from lower-cost providers as if those dollars had been spent on health care services or activities to improve the quality of care would allow insurers to spend less on their enrollees’ care without returning the premium dollars saved to all enrollees as required by the statute.

You can read the FAH’s comment letter here

FAH Welcomes Alyssa Keefe as Vice President, Policy and Analysis

January 17, 2020 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News

The Federation of American Hospitals is pleased to announce the addition of Alyssa Keefe as Vice President, Policy and Analysis. Alyssa will join the Federation on March 9th.

“We are thrilled that Alyssa is joining the Federation team. With more than two decades in the hospital field, she is one of the top health policy experts in Washington. Her experience makes her uniquely qualified to hit the ground running to enhance our efforts on behalf of our patients and the hospitals that serve them,” said Chip Kahn, FAH President and CEO.

During her career in Washington, Alyssa has worked across a spectrum of hospital associations, most recently serving as the Vice President of Federal Regulatory Affairs at the California Hospital Association.

Before working for CHA, Alyssa was Managing Director of the Hospital Quality Alliance and Senior Associate Director at the American Hospital Association. She has held positions at the Catholic Health Association of the United States and the National Coalition on Health Care.

Alyssa earned her Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University and graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Policy Studies and Speech Communications.

FAH Member Facilities Named in Leapfrog Group’s Top Hospitals of 2019

December 19, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News

The Leapfrog Group published its 2019 Top Hospitals awards earlier this month and 15 FAH member facilities made the prestigious list.

The FAH member companies represented on the list include Ardent Health Services, HCA Healthcare, Prime Healthcare Services, and Universal Health Services.

The Leapfrog Group does not have a set number of facilities it honors each year. Instead, the group analyzes which hospitals have best prevented medication errors, have higher quality on maternity care and lower infection rates, among other qualities. The list is divided into four categories: general, children’s, rural and teaching hospitals. Leapfrog has released the list every year since 2006. For more information about the list click here.

FAH member hospitals honored on the Leapfrog 2019 top hospitals are:

  • General:
    • Desert Valley Hospital (Prime Healthcare Services)
    • JFK Medical Center North Campus (HCA Healthcare)
    • Henderson Hospital (Universal Health Services)
    • Northern Nevada Medical Center (Universal Health Services)
    • Lovelace Women's Hospital (Ardent Health Services)
    • Medical City Alliance (HCA Healthcare)
    • Medical City Denton (HCA Healthcare)
    • Reston Hospital Center (HCA Healthcare)
  • Rural:
    • East Liverpool City Hospital​ (Prime Healthcare Services)
  • Teaching:
    • Rose Medical Center (HCA Healthcare)
    • Sky Ridge Medical Center (HCA Healthcare)
    • Brandon Regional Hospital (HCA Healthcare)
    • MountainView Hospital (HCA Healthcare)
    • Aiken Regional Medical Centers (Universal Health Services)
    • Cache Valley Hospital (HCA Healthcare)

For a full list of the recognized hospitals click here.

Today's ACA Decision Leaves "Critical Law in Limbo"

December 18, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Affordable Care Act, Statement

WASHINGTON – FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following statement in response to today's U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on the Affordable Care Act:

"Today’s decision is unfortunate because it leaves this critical law that so many Americans depend on in limbo. Without question, this decision stretches out the timeline on the final fate of pre-existing conditions and other important protections in the ACA. We hope that the courts will act with dispatch to ensure that the vital provisions of the ACA remain in place."

FAH Leader Comments on Congressional Spending Package

December 16, 2019 | Chip Kahn

Category: Medicaid, Statement

FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following statement after the announced Congressional spending package:

“The end of year congressional spending package appropriately delays Medicaid DSH cuts and funds other important health care extenders.

“Congress is acting prudently to allow time to develop sound policy to protect patients from surprise bills and lower prescription drug costs.

“We stand ready to work with lawmakers in the new year on these important issues to help patients and lower their costs.”

FAH Leader Comments on Bipartisan Ways & Means Surprise Billing Proposal

December 11, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Statement

WASHINGTON – FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn issued the following statement in response to the release of the House Ways and Means surprise billing proposal:

"We’re encouraged that the House Ways and Means Committee has joined the deliberations with fresh, bipartisan thinking to protect patients from surprise medical bills. We look forward to the release of the proposal details and working with both Committee members and other lawmakers who are all making such a great effort to solve this problem."

HELP, E&C Proposal Takes Two Steps Forward and Three Steps Back

December 09, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Statement

WASHINGTON – FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following statement in response to the Senate HELP Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee health care proposal:

"No patient should ever receive a surprise medical bill. However, this package takes two steps forward and three steps back.

"Instead of rushing to meet false deadlines, Congress needs to go back to the drawing board and rethink several of the provisions contained in this proposal, particularly the new measures. Failing to do so would lead to unintended consequences that will limit patients’ access to critically-needed care."

Modern Healthcare Honors FAH’s Chip Kahn, Members on Annual “100 Most Influential” List

December 09, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News

Over the weekend, Modern Healthcare released its annual 100 Most Influential People in Health Care rankings. The Federation is strongly represented with FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn and several member company leaders appearing on the list.

Modern Healthcare’s annual list is a collaboration of both the magazine’s senior editors’ rankings as well as votes from readers and the general public. After a nomination process, readers pick their favorites from a preliminary ballot of 300. As previously reported on the FAH Hospital Policy Blog, six leaders from FAH’s membership were nominated for this year’s list in September.

The rankings released over the weekend encompass both the public vote totals and input from the publication’s senior editors.

The following six FAH leaders have been selected as some of the most influential leaders in the industry for Modern Healthcare’s 2019 list:

  • David Dill, President and CEO, LifePoint Health, Brentwood, TN
  • Samuel Hazen, CEO, HCA, Nashville, TN
  • Chip Kahn, President and CEO, Federation of American Hospitals, Washington, DC
  • Alan Miller, Chairman and CEO, Universal Health Services, King of Prussia, PA
  • Ronald Rittenmeyer, Executive Chairman and CEO, Tenet Healthcare Corp., Dallas, TX
  • Wayne Smith, Chairman and CEO, Community Health Systems, Franklin, TN

Chip Kahn is one of only three people who have appeared on the list since its inception in 20001. Modern Healthcare recognized Chip for his “continued efforts to shape policy to advance health care quality and information technology in Washington.”

You can see Modern Healthcare’s 2019 100 Most Influential People in Health Care list in its entirety by clicking here.

Congratulations to all of the leaders honored this year.

FAH Celebrates 20th Anniversary of To Err Is Human

December 05, 2019 | Chip Kahn

Category: Quality

Health care has changed immensely in the 20 years since the Institute of Medicine published To Err Is Human – a groundbreaking effort that served as a threshold report for better understanding patient safety.

The message to hospitals and the medical community in the report was clear – action needed to be taken to prevent medical errors. It was time to reform patient care to ensure patient safety. During my tenure at FAH, I’ve strongly advocated for clinical and performance measurement to make patients safer and improve care. I believe this is vital because it is essential that above all else, hospitals “do no harm” and provide patients a safe environment for their diagnoses and treatment.  

In the wake of To Err Is Human, leaders of the AHA, AAMC and I developed the Hospital Quality Alliance (HQA), a public-private multi-stakeholder collaboration to foster the use of clinical and performance measurement to improve the quality and safety of hospital care. The HQA also sought to provide objectivity for holding hospitals and caregivers accountable while creating the information to make care and safety transparent. Prior to the HQA, there had been little data available for the improvement, accountability and transparency of hospital care.

The National Quality Forum (NQF), which was also established in 1999, has since taken up the mission of HQA. It is now the organization that ensures the usefulness of quality and performance measures, which help hold providers accountable. We proudly join with NQF today as it works tirelessly to ensure patients are safer and receive better care through meaningful measurement and public reporting.

Since this movement started two decades ago, hospitals have achieved vast improvements in the quality of care and patient safety they provide. While quality improvement and patient safety is ever-evolving, it owes its beginnings to the release of To Err Is Human two decades ago.

Hospital Groups File Lawsuit Over Illegal Rule Mandating Public Disclosure of Individually Negotiated Rates

December 04, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News, Insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, Statement, Transparency

Today, four national organizations representing hospitals and health systems sued the federal government, challenging last month’s contract disclosure rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The legal challenge became necessary after the administration finalized the rule, despite offers from the hospital community to work together to find alternative solutions that would allow hospitals to provide every patient with meaningful cost-sharing information, including most importantly their out-of-pocket costs.

At issue is a provision that mandates public disclosure of individually negotiated rates between commercial health insurers and hospitals. The lawsuit asks the court for relief on the ground that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) lacks statutory authority to require and enforce this provision.

Additionally, the lawsuit makes the argument that the provision violates the First Amendment by compelling the public disclosure of individual rates negotiated between hospitals and insurers in a manner that will confuse patients and unduly burden hospitals.

The Federation of American Hospitals (FAH), the American Hospital Association (AHA), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) filed their lawsuit against HHS in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The associations are joined in the suit by hospital plaintiffs: Memorial Community Hospital and Health System in Blair, Neb.; Bothwell Regional Health Center in Sedalia, Mo.; and Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, Calif.

“CMS’ final rule fails to offer patients easy-to-understand information regarding their out-of-pocket obligations for care - so we feel obligated to contest the regulation. We contend the agency exceeded its authority and should go back to the drawing board,” said Chip Kahn, FAH President and CEO.

“America’s hospitals and health systems stand with patients and are dedicated to ensuring they have the information needed to make informed health care decisions, including what their expected out-of-pocket costs will be,” said Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the AHA. “Instead of giving patients relevant information about costs, this rule will lead to widespread confusion and even more consolidation in the commercial health insurance industry. We stand ready to work with CMS and other stakeholders to advance real solutions for patients.”

“Patients deserve to have the most relevant information when they are making decisions about their health care. Unfortunately, CMS’ final rule will only create confusion for patients,” said David Skorton, M.D., president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges. “We urge CMS to work with us to find the best way forward for patients.”

"Children’s hospitals care for children with the most complex conditions, and the majority of our patients are covered by Medicaid. We are concerned our patient families may confuse these commercial rate disclosures and not seek essential care for their children," said Mark Wietecha, president and CEO of CHA.

FAH Comments on CMS Program Integrity RFI

November 21, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Medicare

This week, FAH submitted comments to CMS in response to a Request for Information (RFI) seeking feedback on the Future of Program Integrity in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

FAH commented on issues related to provider enrollment, program integrity for value-based payment programs, Medicare Advantage (MA), prior authorization and provider education and encouraged CMS to balance the desire to test new program integrity approaches with the burden on patients and health providers.

You can read the FAH letter here.

FAH Leader Named DC Health Care “Power Player” by Business Insider

November 20, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News

Business Insider just released its first-ever list of DC health care power players and it includes FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn.

As the website states, “this list features people making and shaping healthcare legislation and regulation in DC, from K Street to the Capitol and beyond. The 34 people on the list, hail from both sides of the political aisle, and include doctors, lawyers, CEOs, and lobbyists. These individuals have made significant contributions to healthcare policy, which affects every American.”

Here is how the article described why Chip made this prestigious list:

Chip Kahn is the president and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, which represents more than 1,000 for-profit hospitals and health systems. Kahn has led the organization since 2001.

Kahn previously worked for a health-insurance industry group and as a congressional staffer for committees specializing in health legislation.

In 2015, he authored a report in Health Affairs examining the effects of three Medicare pay-for-performance programs that sparked a discussion on value-based treatment programs for hospitals and physicians. Last year, The Hill named Kahn one of Washington's top lobbyists for the 18th year in a row, according to his profile on FAH's website.

Business Insider said it decided to put together the Health Care Power Players list because the issue is taking center stage in the upcoming presidential election. Additionally, editors said the need to understand who shapes US health care policies has become increasingly important to its readers.

Click here to see who else made the list.

FAH Opposes Bill That Would Allow Patient Cherry-Picking at Physician-Owned Hospitals

November 19, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Legislation

Today, FAH and American Hospital Association (AHA) sent a letter to every U.S. Senator urging them to oppose any legislation that would repeal the part of the Affordable Care Act that limits self-referral to physician-owned hospitals (POHs).

Recently, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) reintroduced The Patient Access to Higher Quality Health Care Act of 2019 (S. 2860), which seeks to repeal the ACA’s limit on self-referral to physician-owned hospitals. Repealing this ban would lead to these facilities cherry-picking patients and increasing health care costs on taxpayers.

The letter cites a study by Dobson | DaVanzo to highlight the harmful effects this practice has had on the hospital industry, including that POHs treat fewer medically complex patients as well as enjoy margins nearly three times those of non-POHs.

The FAH/AHA joint letter states, “The empirical record is clear that these conflict-of-interest arrangements of hospital ownership and self-referral by physicians result in cherry-picking of the healthiest and wealthiest patients, excessive utilization of services, and patient safety concerns.”

The letter urges the Senate to reject any legislation that would weaken the current law.

You can find the complete letter here.

Back in June, the companion House bill (H.R. 3062) was introduced by Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX). This bill is similar to the legislation introduced by former Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) in previous Congresses.

Protecting Rural Hospitals: Five Ways Policymakers Can Make A Difference

November 18, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Rural

While National Rural Hospital Week, November 18-22, is a time to celebrate all of the things that make rural America unique, it is also a time to address the ways policymakers can support access to quality health care for the 60 million Americans who reside in rural communities.

There are five policy areas that lawmakers can champion to protect health care in rural America – the Rural ACO Improvement Act, Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments, Telehealth, Broadband and the Medicare Dependent Hospital (MDH) and Low Volume Hospital (LVH) programs.

Rural ACO Improvement Act

Recently, the FAH, along with 14 other health care organizations, sent a letter in support of a Senate bill that would revise the benchmarking formula for the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Pat Roberts (R-KS)'s legislation, the Rural ACO Improvement Act (S. 2648), would help ensure accountable care organizations (ACOs) in smaller communities have an equal opportunity to share in the program’s savings. Currently, not all ACOs are treated equally. This flaw in the system hurts programs in rural areas solely because of their geographic location and scope of care.

The FAH letter states, "This legislation fixes an important flaw in the current MSSP benchmarking methodology - a flaw that systematically disadvantages ACOs in rural areas and makes it harder for them to achieve savings even when they improve quality and reduce costs on par with their counterparts in urban areas."

This bipartisan bill would fix this issue and level the playing field to further incentivize health care coordination in rural areas. FAH encourages Congress to enacts this legislation.

 

Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) Payments

Safety-net hospitals throughout the United States are dependent upon Medicaid DSH payments that help offset the costs of care hospitals incur treating Medicaid and low-income patients, and further preserves access to care in rural America.

In FY 2020, hospitals are scheduled to endure Medicaid DSH cuts of $4 billion that would be detrimental to health care in rural America.  We urge Congress to enact legislation that will eliminate, or at a minimum delay, these cuts.

 

Telehealth

Telehealth is pivotal to bringing personalized care to rural America. New technological advancements can increase timely access to patient-centered care, enhance patient choice and, through early intervention, can help prevent long-term, costly health events for many of the folks who call rural America home.

Specialty care is becoming harder and harder to find in rural communities, the use of telehealth reduces geographic challenges and provides patients convenient and more timely access to providers.

As the utilization of telehealth continues to grow, FAH believes that it should be reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and other payers at the same level as when those services are delivered in person. Reimbursements should not discriminate based on the technology used. The use of telehealth should be encouraged by federal policies, especially those with a focus on access to care in rural America.

 

Broadband

Using telehealth in rural areas expands access to and improves the quality of health care millions of Americans receive. However, there is often a lack of infrastructure in place to achieve the expansion of telehealth – namely, a lack of broadband internet.

And while broadband is used in everything from agriculture to education, expanding rural America’s access to reliable internet service is pivotal to increasing access to quality health care for rural communities. Policymakers everywhere – at the federal, state and local level – should work to promote the deployment and availability of broadband nationwide, especially in rural areas. Americans should have access to quality health care, and broadband is an important step to achieve that goal in rural areas.

 

Medicare Dependent Hospital (MDH) & Low Volume Hospital (LVH) Programs

The Medicare Dependent Hospital (MDH) and the Low Volume Hospital (LVH) payment programs should be made permanent to ensure patient access to hospitals in rural America. These programs, which currently sunset in 2022, help relieve some of the financial pressure on rural providers.

FAH is committed to the permanent extension of the MDH and LDH programs that are essential for rural hospitals to continue to serve their communities. We urge policymakers to permanently extend these vital programs.

FAH will continue to work with policymakers to achieve the above goals in order to increase access to quality health care for the 60 million people who call rural America home.

FAH Member Hospitals’ Community Partnerships in Rural America

November 18, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Rural

This year in celebration of Rural Hospital Week (November 18-22), FAH is highlighting stories of cooperation from our member hospitals throughout rural America.

Small communities face different obstacles than their urban counterparts when it comes to health care delivery. With a more Medicare-dependent population and challenging geography, community leaders and hospitals are coming together to create unique partnerships that allow residents to take control of their own health. Below are just a few of the success stories seen at FAH member hospitals around the country:

1. Maria Parham Franklin FSED Opening

When Franklin Medical Center closed in 2015, the residents of Louisburg, North Carolina lost a critical access point for care. The 2018 opening of the new Maria Parham Franklin (MPF), a free-standing emergency department and geriatric psychiatric unit, restored critically important 24/7 emergency care, diagnostic services and behavioral health care to the community.

Since its opening, Maria Parham has added the Maria Parham Multispecialty Clinic for primary and specialty care and has broken ground on a 20-bed adult behavioral health unit that is set to open in early 2020.

“We are honored to restore vital health services to the communities of Louisburg, Franklin County and the surrounding areas,” says Bert Beard, chief executive officer of Maria Parham Health. “This project underscores our commitment to ensuring that high-quality healthcare is accessible close to home.”

The project was made possible by Duke LifePoint Healthcare, the Dorothea Dix Hospital Property Fund, the Golden Leaf Foundation and the North Carolina Department of Commerce through the North Carolina Community Development Block Grant.

 

2. Sovah Health – Danville/Community Health Workers Program

In 2016, Sovah Health, the Danville Regional Foundation, Gateway Health and other community partners joined together to launch the Community Health Workers (CHWs) program to address health disparities in southern Virginia’s Dan River Region.

CHWs are public health workers who serve as a vital link between health care, social services and members of the community to enhance access to services and improve health management. CHWs improve patients’ ability to manage their health – following a hospital stay or emergency room visit – through a series of activities, including outreach, community education, informal counseling, screenings, social support and advocacy.

As a result of the CHWs program, Sovah Health – Danville has seen a significant decline in readmissions and unnecessary emergency room visits. But the greatest payoff? Seeing patients take charge of their health.

 

3. Sovah Health – Martinsville/Harvest Foundation and PHCC Education Grant

Like other hospitals and health systems across the country, Sovah Health - Martinsville has been challenged by the nursing shortage in recent years. Hospital leadership met with other local community leaders from Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) and the Harvest Foundation to address this challenge. From those meetings, a big idea was born – to build a state-of-the-art Clinical Simulation Lab for Nursing Education. Thanks to a grant from the Harvest Foundation, PHCC – in partnership with Sovah Health – is set to open the lab at the hospital later this year.

The “Sim Lab” will feature the latest advanced patient simulator programs and equipment to provide valuable “hands-on” training for PHCC nursing students and current Sovah Health staff. Most importantly, the lab will be an important bridge between nursing students and the community’s largest healthcare provider and employer.

“We are thrilled to further our partnership with PHCC through the implementation of this cutting-edge technology in Martinsville,” says Jacquelyn Wilkerson, market chief nursing officer at Sovah Health. “This simulation lab will take our nurse education and training to the next level, ensuring our region has the highest clinically-trained workforce capable for the diverse healthcare needs of our community.”

 

4. UP Health System Rural Psychiatry Program Pilot

In rural areas, there is often a personal connection between a hospital and its patients, with healthcare facilities committed to providing the best care possible in numerous specialties. That can often mean enhancing a service line to fill a local care need. Every county in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP) except Marquette is a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area for mental healthcare, based on the number of psychiatrists per capita. Primary care providers across the UP have reported that their patients encounter barriers in accessing behavioral care resources.

The pilot rural psychiatry residency program at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in Marquette is set to change that. A joint venture between four Michigan medical schools and the state itself, the program will help ensure that the UP has access to the psychiatric care necessary to meet the behavioral healthcare needs of its communities.

The program provides funding to expand residency positions where half of the instruction will occur in a rural site and is designed to help increase the number of behavioral care providers and improve care in the UP. The goal is to have two psychiatry residents each year graduate from the program and stay in the area to practice, beginning with the class of 2023.

“If the retention rate is as successful as the Family Medicine Residency Program (with 40 percent of graduates staying in the area long-term), there would be a positive impact on the way care is provided in this rural area within a few years,” said Stuart Johnson, DO, chief executive officer and community assistant dean, MSU College of Human Medicine UP Campus. “I am grateful for the way the State of Michigan is partnering with medical schools, residency programs and local providers, as well as the commitment from our local psychiatrists, to improve care in shortage areas like ours.”

 

5. Bolivar Medical Center ER Tours

In an effort to educate local school children on how to help a parent, grandparent or any other person who may be in need of emergent care, Cleveland, Mississippi’s Bolivar Medical Center staff and paramedics, along with Pafford Medical Services EMS, led groups of second and fifth graders from local elementary schools through Bolivar’s Emergency Department, Imaging Department and an ambulance.

A cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was demonstrated, and chest pain was emphasized as a focus topic during the tours. The paramedics led an engaging conversation to ensure that the children understood what constitutes an emergency and how Bolivar Medical Center and Pafford can help. They were able to view a trauma room and see how care is administered during an emergency, and were shown how x-ray and CT machines work. Paramedics also led them through the inside of an ambulance to educate them on how much can take place in the vehicle. These tours take place annually, and approximately 40 children attend each year.

FAH Celebrates National Rural Hospital Week (November 18-22)

November 18, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Rural

The Federation of American Hospitals is celebrating National Rural Hospital Week November 18th through 22nd to highlight the unique and essential role hospitals play in rural communities across the United States.

Rural America faces countless health care obstacles: fewer providers in less populated areas, technological and transportation accessibility issues and high costs for service. Rural hospitals overcome these challenges every day and are vital to these smaller communities across the country.

More than 60 million Americans live in rural America – that’s one in five Americans relying on rural hospitals for timely and quality care. These 60 million Americans are scattered across 90% of the United States, living in countless communities, each presenting its own unique challenges to the health care system. Rural hospitals are often the sole comprehensive care provider in these communities and face everything from challenging geography, weather and distance to provide care for their patients – each and every day!

Aside from rural hospitals’ unique geographic hardships, they also provide care for a different population than the average urban hospital. On average, the rural communities these hospitals provide for are older and from lower-income backgrounds, relying heavily on Medicare. Though these hospitals provide for a smaller volume of patients, partly because of the high reliance on Medicare, rural hospitals are financially vulnerable and facing continuous operational and funding cuts in Congress.

But these rural hospitals are not only vital for their lifesaving and comprehensive health care services, they are the economic backbone of rural communities. Closures of rural hospitals would not only affect the health care system but would result in massive job loss and unemployment for rural communities. Across the country, rural hospitals are often the largest or second-largest employer in their region, providing an invaluable economic backbone to the community. If these hospitals are forced to close, entire communities could be left without health care providers and employment.

Since the inception of FAH, the Federation has advocated on behalf of rural hospitals to highlight to legislators and policymakers the vital role hospitals play in providing quality care to rural communities across the United States. But there is more work to be done to protect these essential hospitals from future vulnerability. The Medicare Dependent Hospital (MDH) Payment and Low-Volume Hospital (LVH) Adjustment will expire in 2022 and are critical to rural hospitals’ ability to provide quality and affordable care to their patients.

 

This week and every week, rural hospitals work diligently to combat the unique challenges facing rural communities. They play a vital role in the economic prosperity of disadvantaged populations and provide invaluable care to smaller communities across the country.

Joint Statement from National Hospital and Health System Groups on Public Disclosure of Privately Negotiated Rates Final Rule

November 15, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Statement, Transparency

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 15, 2019) - The American Hospital Association (AHA), Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) and Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) issued the following joint statement on today’s final rule from CMS:

Today’s rule mandating the public disclosure of privately negotiated rates between commercial health insurance companies and hospitals is a setback in efforts to provide patients with the most relevant information they need to make informed decisions about their care. Instead of helping patients know their out-of-pocket costs, this rule will introduce widespread confusion, accelerate anticompetitive behavior among health insurers, and stymie innovations in value-based care delivery. America’s hospitals and health systems have repeatedly urged CMS to work with hospitals, doctors, insurers, patients, and other stakeholders to identify solutions to provide patients with the information they need to make informed health care decisions and know what their expected out-of-pocket costs will be. We continue to stand ready to work with CMS to achieve this goal.
 

Because the final rule does not achieve the goal of providing patients with out-of-pocket cost information, and instead threatens to confuse patients, our four organizations will soon join with member hospitals to file a legal challenge to the rule on grounds including that it exceeds the Administration’s authority.

Final Hospital Price Transparency Rule Will Result in "Patient Overload of Useless Information"

November 15, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Statement, Transparency

WASHINGTON – FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following statement in response to the release of the administration's final regulation on hospital price transparency:

"Patients should have readily available and easy-to-understand cost-sharing information when they need to make health care decisions. Health care price transparency ought to be defined by the right information at the right time. 

"This final regulation on hospital transparency fails to meet the definition of price transparency useful for patients. Instead, it will only result in patient overload of useless information while distorting the competitive market for purchasing hospital care.

"Beyond these patient concerns, the fact is that this regulation exceeds the administration’s authority, and we plan on joining with hospitals to file a legal challenge."

Follow us on Twitter @FAHhospitals

FAH Sponsors Drug Shortage Briefing on Capitol Hill

November 06, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News, Pharmaceuticals

FAH, along with eight other health care organizations, sponsored a briefing on Capitol Hill delving into the impact prescription drug shortages have on patients and on the entire health care system.

Drug shortages can cause a hefty burden for providers, adding $230 million a year to U.S. drug costs and $216 million a year in increased labor costs. The briefing focused on the urgency for Congress to act to address issues like these.

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) opened today's briefing, focusing on her legislation, the MEDS Act (S.2723). In addition to Senator Collins, expert panelists spoke to the crowd of Hill staffers, including: Brian Marden, PharmD, Chief Pharmacy Officer, MaineHealth; Edward R. Mariano, MD, MAS, Chief, Anesthesiology and Perioperative Care Service and Associate Chief of Staff for Inpatient Surgical Services, VA Palo Alto Health Care System; and Daniel Teich, PharmD Vice President of Pharmacy Purchasing and Contracting, Fairview Pharmacy Services.

FAH and the American Hospital Association (AHA) released a study on the topic earlier this year that found that 80% of hospitals say it has become "extremely difficult" to obtain drugs. Additionally, the study found that the average total drug spending per hospital admission increased by 18.5% between FY2015 and FY2017. The FAH/AHA joint study can be found by clicking here.

Along with the Federation, America's Essential Hospitals, American Hospital Association, American Society of Anesthesiologists, American Society of Clinical Oncology, ASHP, ASPEN, Children's Hospital Association and Premier sponsored the briefing.

FAH Is Now @FAHhospitals on All Social Media

November 01, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News

Today, FAH is streamlining our social media accounts to all have the same handle: @FAHhospitals.

This switch will ensure FAH’s social media handles are accessible and easy to find, optimizing our presence on various platforms.

If you already follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – you don’t have to do a thing. You will still see our posts – the only difference is that our handle has switched.

Follow along with FAH on social – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @FAHhospitals.

FAH Expresses “Strong Support” for Nursing Bill

October 31, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Legislation, Rural

This afternoon FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn sent a letter to leaders of the Senate HELP Committee expressing “strong support” for S. 1399, Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019.

The legislation will extend critical nursing workforce development programs that invest in the education and training of our nation’s nurses.

It also includes the text of S. 1045, the Nursing Where it is Needed Act - bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. Doug Jones (D-AL) and Todd Young (R-IN).

FAH says in the letter that the legislation as a whole will benefit nurses and the patients they care for.

“This legislation will play a vital role in ensuring that nurses continue to provide high-quality care to patients across the nation, including in rural and underserved communities, by supporting nursing education, practice, recruitment, and retention. The legislation will also ensure that all nurses in critical shortage facilities are eligible for the loan repayment program. We thank you for your leadership in advancing this legislation. We look forward to working with you to secure the legislation’s passage through the Senate,” Kahn wrote.

The letter, which can be found here, was sent to Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) – Chair of the HELP Committee – and Patty Murray (D-WA) – Ranking Member.

FAH Applauds Congressional Action on Vital Nursing Bill

October 28, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Rural, Statement

FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released a statement in response to the U.S. House of Representatives passing the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 728), including legislation reauthorizing the incentive program for nurses to practice in underserved areas.

“For patient care in rural and underserved communities, it is often a struggle for hospitals to attract and retain nurses. The legislation passed tonight by the House helps solve this problem. It ensures nurses in any hospital in a critical shortage area are eligible for a vital loan repayment program. I look forward to the Senate joining the House and acting on this bill soon so patients everywhere receive the kind of nursing care they expect and deserve.”

FAH Member Officials Named to Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Emerging Leaders

October 21, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News

Modern Healthcare’s recently released list of the Top 25 Emerging Leaders includes two officials from FAH member companies - Daniel Deslatte of Ardent Health Services and Brian Elisco of Tenet Healthcare.

The Top 25 Emerging Leaders program, which was previously entitled Up & Comers, is an annual list honoring young leaders in the health care management field. The list represents rising stars under 40 who have made significant contributions in administration, management or policy.

Daniel Deslatte is the Senior Vice President of Business Affairs and External Relations for the University of Texas Health Science Center in Tyler, Texas. Deslatte helped lead the joint venture acquisition with FAH member Ardent Health Services to take control of East Texas Medical Center.

Brian Elisco serves as the Texas Group Chief Financial Officer for Tenet Healthcare Corp. Elisco oversees finances for Tenet’s largest group, which generates $2 billion of net revenue annually. He also helps with an initiative that provides improved access to care for psychiatric patients and helps relocate emergency observation beds to community settings.

FAH congratulates Daniel Deslatte and Brian Elisco for their outstanding service in the field – we are confident they will continue to be leaders for years to come. For more information about Daniel and Brian, and to learn more about all of the 25 Emerging Leader honorees, click here.

Wayne T. Smith Receives FAH’s Mike Bromberg Lifetime Achievement Award

October 17, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News

Wayne T. Smith, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Community Health Systems, was honored with the Federation of American Hospitals’ Mike Bromberg Lifetime Achievement Award at its conference earlier this week.

Wayne is a three-time chair of the FAH board and a pillar of the health care industry.

Wayne has been CEO of Community Health Systems for more than 20 years, dedicating more than four decades to the health care sector. He has always been focused on greatly improving health services and patient care in communities across America.

During Wayne’s time at the helm of CHS, he has been committed to clinical and operational excellence in the delivery of accessible, safe, high-quality and compassionate care for millions of people. He has also built the company into one of the nation’s largest health care systems, which also contributes to communities through economic development, significant capital investments, and as a major employer.

Wayne has also been named one of Modern Healthcare’s 100 Most Influential People in Health Care since the inception of that prestigious list.

Wayne reflects many qualities with the namesake of the award he was given. Mike Bromberg, who led the Federation for 25 years, stood for a commitment to quality health care and access to hospitals for all Americans.

We in the FAH community sincerely congratulate Wayne T. Smith on receiving this much-deserved award.

 

FAH Announces 2020 Chairman and Board of Directors

October 15, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News, Statement

The Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) announced today that LifePoint Health President and CEO David Dill will be the organization’s Chair for the 2020 calendar year. Serving with him will be a new slate of Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors is comprised of the executives of FAH’s member companies. Dill will begin his term in January 2020, exchanging the gavel with 2019 FAH Chair Ron Rittenmeyer, Chairman and CEO of Tenet Healthcare Corporation. Also of note - Prem Reddy, MD, Chairman, President & CEO of Prime Healthcare was named Chair-Elect for 2021.

“David Dill is a tireless advocate for health care in our local communities and the important role of hospitals to the patients we serve. Seeing health care at the forefront of Congress’ agenda and a tough presidential election on the horizon, 2020 will be a pivotal year for health policy. With David at the helm, FAH is well-positioned to meet the challenges that the new year will bring,” said Chip Kahn, President and CEO of FAH.

“It is an honor to be chosen to serve as Chair of the Federation next year. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Board and the FAH team to ensure every American has access to personalized, quality care in their local communities. 2020 will surely bring challenges, but I am confident in FAH’s mission. This organization has a proven track record of affecting the policy process for the best interests of the patients we serve,” said David Dill, President and CEO, LifePoint Health.

CHAIR

David Dill
President and CEO
LifePoint Health

DIRECTORS

Benjamin Breier
President and CEO
Kindred Healthcare, Inc.                                                                

Samuel N. Hazen
Chief Executive Officer
HCA

Alan B. Miller
Chairman and CEO
Universal Health Services, Inc.

Prem Reddy, MD (Chair-Elect for 2021)
Chairman, President and CEO
Prime Healthcare

Ronald A. Rittenmeyer
Executive Chairman and CEO
Tenet Healthcare

Wayne T. Smith
Chairman and CEO
Community Health Systems

Mark J. Tarr
President and CEO
Encompass Health

David T. Vandewater
President & CEO
Ardent Health Services

New Report Shows Cumulative Hospital Cuts Top $252 Billion

October 15, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Statement

The cumulative reductions in federal payments to hospitals since 2010 will reach $252.6 billion by 2029, according to a report released today by the health economics consulting firm Dobson | DaVanzo and Associates.

The study, which was commissioned by the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) and the American Hospital Association (AHA), examined how 11 pieces of legislation combined with numerous regulatory changes would affect hospital funding from 2010 through 2029.

The leaders of FAH and AHA reacted to the results.

“Hospitals are nearing the tipping point we have predicted for so long. The disruptions that come with Medicare and Medicaid cuts of this magnitude have a real-world impact on our ability to deliver the vital services to the patients and the local communities that depend on us. As these cuts pile up, we urge policymakers to understand there comes a point where enough is enough. For the sake of our patients we need to stop this troubling trend,” said Chip Kahn, FAH President and CEO.

AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack added, “Hospitals and health systems are doing more to meet the needs of patients and communities than ever before. They not only work to ensure the highest quality care in delivering essential public services, but also address the social determinants of health, community violence, and ensure they are always there and ready to care in the case of any emergency. The pile-up of reductions in funding for patient services outlined in this report is already creating very serious challenges to ensure access to care. Enough is enough.”

A complete copy of the Dobson | DaVanzo study can be found on fah.org and aha.org. To view the Enough Is Enough infographic click here.

FAH: Proposed OPPS Rule “Misses Mark” on Transparency; Patients Need “Actionable” Info

September 27, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Statement, Transparency

FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following statement after the organization submitted comments on the Calendar Year 2020 Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) proposed rule:

“Patients and their families need actionable information to make their health care decisions. The CMS proposed regulation on negotiated price transparency wholly misses the mark on providing financial information Americans can actually use.

“To start, the regulation’s transparency mandate cannot be implemented, and HHS lacks the authority to even require these disclosures. Beyond that, if carried out, the mandate would backfire, resulting in unnecessary patient confusion and misinformation while distorting the current competitive free market.

“All stakeholders in health care should work towards effective approaches to provide patients with the actionable cost-sharing information they need.

“We hope CMS will carefully consider our concerns about this important regulation.”

You can find FAH’s complete comment letter by clicking here.

Follow us on Twitter @FedAmerHospital

FAH, Others Concerned about Cures Act Implementation, Send Letters to Congress

September 23, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: HIT, Statement

Alarmed that HHS implementation of the information blocking provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) are not ready for prime time, FAH, along with six other organizations representing clinicians, hospitals, health systems, health informatics and health information management sent letters to congressional leaders today. They called on lawmakers to ensure the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) effectively and appropriately implements the law.

“It is imperative that we get this right to realize the promise of health IT and improve the quality and efficiency of care provided to patients while reducing provider burden," said FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn.

Adding, “FAH supports the goals of the Cures Act to further interoperability by ensuring the appropriate movement of clinical data among health care providers and other stakeholders and ensuring patients have access to their data. However, ONC’s proposals to implement this important legislation – particularly the information blocking provisions – threaten to hinder rather than advance interoperability and will lead to significant confusion among health care providers and patients.”


Specifically, the letter recommends that the regulations implementing the Cures Act incorporate the following:

•    Additional rulemaking prior to finalization: To ensure a sufficient level of industry review and to appropriately respond to stakeholder feedback, ONC should issue a supplemental rulemaking to address outstanding questions and concerns.
•    Enhanced privacy and security: The proposed rule does not sufficiently address the Cures Act’s directives to protect patient data privacy and ensure health IT security. Further, it is imperative that the Committee continue its oversight of privacy and security issues that fall outside of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulatory framework.
•    Appropriate implementation timelines: ONC should establish reasonable timelines for any required use of certified health IT (CEHRT). Providers must be given sufficient time to deploy and test these systems, which must take into account competing regulatory mandates.
•    Revised enforcement: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should use discretion in its initial enforcement of the data blocking provisions of the regulation, prioritizing education and corrective action plans over monetary penalties.

The complete letter to Senate leaders can be viewed here. A similar letter was sent to leaders in the House.

FAH Appreciates Congress Addressing Rising Drug Costs

September 19, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Statement

FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released the following statement in reaction to the release of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan to lower the price of prescription drugs:

"Skyrocketing drug costs are causing a crisis for Americans who depend on their prescription medications. As reports have shown, the rapidly rising price of vital medications is driving up the costs of patient care for local hospitals.

"Hospitals are at the forefront of this fight and we appreciate Speaker Pelosi taking meaningful action to address drug costs. FAH looks forward to working with Congress to ensure our patients have access to affordable medications."

FAH Leaders Nominated for Modern Healthcare’s “100 Most Influential” List – Vote Now!

September 09, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News

Every year, Modern Healthcare magazine honors industry leaders in its “100 Most Influential People In Healthcare” list. This annual ranking is based upon input from Modern Healthcare readers and the magazine’s senior editors.

This year, FAH is proud to announce that Modern Healthcare’s list of 300 nominees includes 10 leaders from our membership, as well as FAH President & CEO Chip Kahn.  Voting is underway and will continue through October 7th.  We encourage everyone to place their vote by clicking here so we can acknowledge the great work of our industry’s leaders.

FAH leaders nominated for the 2019 “100 Most Influential People In Healthcare” list are:

  • Benjamin Breier, President and CEO, Kindred Healthcare
  • David Dill, President and CEO, LifePoint Health
  • Samuel Hazen, CEO, HCA Healthcare
  • Chip Kahn, President and CEO, Federation of American Hospitals
  • Alan Miller, Chairman and CEO, Universal Health Services
  • Dr. Jonathan Perlin, President, clinical services and chief medical officer, HCA Healthcare
  • Dr. Prem Reddy, Chairman, President and CEO, Prime Healthcare
  • Ronald Rittenmeyer, Executive chairman and CEO, Tenet Healthcare Corp.
  • Wayne Smith, Chairman and CEO, Community Health Systems
  • Mark Tarr, President and CEO, Encompass Health Corp.
  • Dr. Tony Tedeschi, CEO, Detroit Medical Center

You can learn more about Modern Healthcare’s awards on its recognition page.  Voters are required to vote for exactly five nominees.  Don’t forget to vote now!

Public Charge Rule Could Have Chilling Effect on Access to Care

August 12, 2019 | Chip Kahn

Category: Insurance, Medicaid

Federation of American Hospitals President and CEO Chip Kahn issued the following statement in response to the release of the final public charge regulation:

"Hospitals are concerned that today’s decision will put the health of millions at risk by creating a chilling effect on enrollment for vital health safety net programs. Many eligible people won’t sign up for health insurance coverage, like Medicaid, over fears it could hurt their or their loved ones’ immigration status.

"We hope the administration will reconsider these damaging changes to the public charge regulation."


Follow us on Twitter @FedAmerHospital

REPORT: A Medicare Public Option Puts Majority of Rural Hospitals at Risk

August 07, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Research, Rural

What would a Medicare public option do to rural hospitals? A new study released today says more than half could be at high risk of closure if a Medicare public option becomes a reality.

The study, released by Navigant, shows that a Medicare public option could put as many as 55% of rural hospitals – or 1,037 hospitals in 46 states – at high risk of closure.  Beyond those hospitals at greater risk for closure, the study demonstrates that all rural hospitals would face increased risk from the public option, noting that rural hospitals may have to eliminate critical services harming access to care.

Patients and rural Americans not only rely on hospitals to provide invaluable care when and where they need it, these hospitals often are the largest or second-largest employer in their communities.

According to Navigant, these are the three main findings of their study:

  1. Revenue loss to rural hospitals is projected to be 2.3% under a Medicare public option if only the uninsured and current individual market participants shift to the public option, placing an estimated 28% of rural hospitals at high risk of closure (Scenario 1).
  2. If employers shift between 25% and 50% of their covered workers from commercial coverage to a Medicare public option, hospital revenues are projected to drop between 8% and 14% and cause an estimated 51% to 55% to face high risk of closure, with an additional 39% to 41% facing moderate risk (Scenarios 2 & 3).
  3. To keep hospitals whole from the financial consequences of any of these scenarios, Medicare would have to increase hospital payment levels for a public option between 40% and 60% above present Medicare rates, costing between $4 billion and $25 billion annually (depending on the severity of the employer shift).

For the full Navigant report, THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF A MEDICARE PUBLIC OPTION ON U.S. RURAL HOSPITALS AND COMMUNITIES: A SCENARIO ANALYSIS, click here.

To learn more about how essential rural hospitals are to their communities click here.

Follow FAH on Twitter @FedAmerHospital

In the News – FAH’s Study on Modernizing the HCAHPS Patient Experience Survey

August 02, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Quality

Last week, FAH and four major hospital associations rolled out a study on modernizing the HCAHPS patient experience survey. The report, Modernizing the HCAHPS Survey: Recommendations from Patient Experience Leaders, found that response rates to the HCAHPS survey are falling and could be improved by updating the questions and implementing an online modality.

The new report was covered in major publications and as FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn says, the HCAHPS survey is “in need of a serious update. Care in hospitals is vastly different than 13 years ago."

In Case You Missed It…

Modern Healthcare’s article detailed the study’s recommendations for “major changes to the survey including adding an electronic version, shortening the length, changing questions and re-evaluating the survey every few years. The recommendations were based on feedback from patient experience leaders at 27 hospitals and health systems nationally.”

Becker’s Hospital Review created a Five Things to Know post about the HCAHPS study, saying “the HCAHPS survey must be modernized to better reflect changes in care delivery, healthcare technology and patient expectations.”

Healthcare Dive’s brief, Hospital Groups Propose Overhaul to Patient Satisfaction Survey, noted Chip Kahn’s urge for modernization, saying, “HCAHPS has a great track record, but it has not been closely looked at in more than a decade."

Patient Engagement HIT said that “the time is ripe for the medical industry to overhaul the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Processes and Systems (HCAHPS) survey” in their article.

 

For more information on the study, including the report, key findings and recommendations click here.

Follow FAH on Twitter @FedAmerHospital

Joint Statement from National Hospitals Associations on Proposed CY 2020 OPPS Rule

July 30, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Transparency

Below is a joint statement from the American Hospital Association, America’s Essential Hospitals, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Children’s Hospital Association, and the Federation of American Hospitals on the proposed calendar year 2020 Outpatient Prospective Payment System rule:

"Hospitals and health systems want to ensure that patients have access to information they need to choose their health care, including their out-of-pocket obligations. This rule, however, is a misguided attempt to improve price transparency for patients because it fails to give them the information they need. Disclosing the negotiated rate between insurers and hospitals will not help patients make decisions about their care. Instead, this disclosure could harm patients by reducing patient access to care. This is the wrong approach to price transparency, and the administration should reverse course on this provision."

Demonstration: Strengthening and Improving HCAHPS Patient Experience Surveying

July 29, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Media, Quality, Research

Today, Bill McInturff and Micah Roberts, Partners at Public Opinion Strategies, are unveiling a groundbreaking report demonstrating how the HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) patient experience survey can be recast and improved.

The report, sponsored by the Federation of American Hospitals, concludes that, even though the HCAHPS survey has a solid track record, it can be strengthened to better reflect changing patient care and varying patient social backgrounds and medical literacy.

The demonstration also found that an online option to administer the survey can work well for many patients and likely increase response rates.

“Patient experience is critically important to improving hospital care. We need an HCAHPS that evolves with the advances in treatment we’ve seen within the past decade. We need an HCAHPS that is relevant to all types of patients - regardless of background or their social determinants of health. It’s time to take the HCAHPS online and modernize it to fit the lives of today’s patients,” said Chip Kahn, FAH President and CEO.

“The demonstration worked very well online and we hope that the results of the survey will help lead CMS and others to say that there’s every indication that an online option should be considered as one of the ways to administer the survey,” said Bill McInturff, Partner at Public Opinion Strategies. “I hope that in a small way, this project opened the door about further strengthening and improving the HCAHPS product.”

The demonstration builds on the study FAH and four other hospital associations released last week, Modernizing the HCAHPS Survey: Recommendations from Patient Experience Leaders. Researchers found that response rates to the HCAHPS survey are falling and that after ten years in the field, it needs a refresh. Recommendations include, among others, adding a digital modality and shortening the survey. The report can be found here.

The demonstration conducted by Public Opinion Strategies tested those key findings. It found that by adding items important to patients, the HCAHPS survey would better measure patient experience.

Some of the measures that could be improved from the current HCAHPS survey include:

The importance of doctors and nurses to listen, show courtesy and show respect.
Experiences that were reported more frequently than existing measures being used.
Chief among these - efficiency of care is a leading experiential factor that drives perceptions about hospitals.
Wait times in general, wait times for discharge specifically and understanding reasons for wait times overall during the care experience are important factors driving hospital ratings and recommendation likelihood.


FAH worked with Public Opinion Strategies to update the survey. This revised survey was administered to 500 recently hospitalized adults nationwide and it accomplished the following:

It better captured experience, reducing the number of experience questions from 20 to 18.
It was administered online in only 8.5 minutes, a statistically significant 1.3 minutes less than the HCAHPS survey.
It was even stronger than the current HCAHPS survey in predicting satisfaction with hospital stay and recommendation of the hospital to friends and family.

 

In concert with FAH’s report and McInturff’s study, the Federation’s “Hospitals In Focus” podcast released two new episodes focused on the HCAHPS survey. The first episode features Dr. Claudia Salzberg, FAH’s VP of Quality discussing the newly released study examining the HCAHPS survey from the perspective of Patient Experience Leaders. That episode can be found by clicking here. The second episode of the podcast features a discussion between Chip Kahn and Bill McInturff about the findings of his demonstration. That podcast can be found by clicking here.

Follow us on Twitter @FedAmerHospital

New Report Shows Benefit of Modernizing HCAHPS Patient Experience Survey

July 25, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News, Publications, Quality, Research

Today, five major hospital associations released Modernizing the HCAHPS Survey: Recommendations from Patient Experience Leaders, a paper that explores how to update patient experience surveying to best improve patient care.

The HCAHPS (the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) is a 32-question patient satisfaction survey required by CMS for all U.S. hospitals. Researchers found that response rates to the HCAHPS survey are falling and that after ten years in the field, the survey needs a refresh. Recommendations include the creation of a digital avenue for patients to respond to the survey (right now phone and mail are the only options), as well as shortening the survey. A full list of key findings and recommendations can be found below.

The paper was co-authored by the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH), American Hospital Association (AHA), America's Essential Hospitals, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA).

“Great hospital care needs to be patient-centered. Providing the best care, meeting patient expectations and keeping them comfortable and well informed is key,” said FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn. “Updating and improving the HCAHPS survey could have a major impact on improving care.”

“Being a nurse on the frontlines of providing care showed me why including the patient experience is crucial in order to have a complete quality picture,” said Robyn Begley, chief nursing officer of the American Hospital Association and chief executive officer of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership. “America’s hospitals and health systems believe strongly that HCAHPS is a critical patient experience survey that has important benefits for both patients and the providers that care for them. But, as our report clearly lays out, it is time to re-think HCAHPS to ensure it is capturing information on critical aspects of care as it is delivered today and that patients can choose to provide their responses in the way that is most convenient for them.”

“Our hospitals work hard to overcome the social and economic challenges their vulnerable patients face and that affect the care experience – language barriers and low health literacy, for example,” said Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, president and CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals. “This research shows more work is needed to ensure all hospitals ask the right questions in a culturally competent, easily understood way and without burdening patients or providers.”

“This important work demonstrates the commitment of hospitals in improving the experiences of care for patients. Our recommended approaches to modernizing the HCAHPS survey to reflect changes in health care delivery and advancements in technology will help ensure patients are empowered to provide valuable feedback,” said Janis Orlowski, MD, chief health care officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges.

“The patient is at the center of all we do as Catholic healthcare. An updated HCAHPS survey will give us a better understanding of how patients experience the care they receive in our hospitals and how we can improve our care delivery,” said Sr. Mary Haddad, CHA President and CEO.

The associations interviewed hospital and health system patient experience leaders (PELs), the people who operate and manage the patient experience activities within their organizations. This allowed the authors to gather real-world insights into the effectiveness of the HCAHPS. The paper examines in detail the current survey and the way it can be updated to better reflect the many changes and advancements that have happened in health care over the last 10 years.

KEY FINDINGS

  • Response Rates Are Falling. PELs found that their HCAHPS survey response rates were falling each year. We examined national data and identified a drop in the national rate of patient responses from 33% in 2008 to 26% in 2017. Low response rates erode the validity of the survey.
  • There Is Consensus the HCAHPS Survey Needs Updating. While most PELs thought the HCAHPS survey’s ability to provide patients with comparable data on patient experience was good, all felt the survey needs improvement.
  • Topics Covered Are Important but Incomplete. When asked to identify the questions most important to keep PELs identified eight of the 27 core questions including questions related to communication with doctors and nurses. PELs further identified five topics/questions they would like to see added to the survey, such as questions related to efficiency and team-work of the care team.
  • Research Is Needed on Additional Factors That Influence Patient Experience. More research needs to be done to identify social determinants of health that are outside of the hospital’s influence that impact the HCAHPS survey scores to ensure a level playing field when comparing hospitals.
  • Literacy Levels Need to Be Re-evaluated. PELs generally felt that the health literacy level of the survey was too high and that responses of patients with lower health literacy levels were not being captured adequately. PELs also indicated the absence of appropriate literacy levels in non-English language HCAHPS survey versions. These segments of the population risk being under-surveyed and are not properly represented in the reported HCAHPS survey results.

TOP RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Add a digital mode of delivery to existing modalities;
  • Shorten survey;
  • Revise the survey in light of today’s shift to value-based care, changes in health care delivery, improvements in technology, and evolving patient priorities;
  • Reframe the care transitions and discharge planning sections of the HCAHPS survey; and
  • Periodically re-evaluate the HCAHPS survey.

The full report can be found by clicking here.

FAH President and CEO Joins AHRQ’s National Advisory Council

July 19, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News

Today, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) announced eight new members joining its National Advisory Council, including FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn.

AHRQ’s National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality is comprised of private-sector health care leaders who advise the agency’s research into improving the quality, outcomes and cost-effectiveness of clinical practice. Chip Kahn will join the Council at its next meeting - July 24, 2019.

“It is gratifying to join the AHRQ’s National Advisory Council, which advises an agency so critical to patients and the quality and performance of Americans’ health care. AHRQ has always facilitated and disseminated important clinical and health services research central to understanding how best to finance and deliver care in America.”

It is noteworthy that Mr. Kahn, as a House Ways and Means Committee Minority Health Counsel 30 years ago, contributed to the drafting of the law that authorized the original AHRQ.

The other seven new members of the Council are:

Gregory L. Alexander, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, professor,
Sinclair School of Nursing, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri.
Peter J. Embi, M.D., M.S., FACP, FACMI, president and chief executive officer,
Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Christine A. Goeschel, Sc.D., M.P.A., M.P.S., R.N., FAAN, assistant vice president,
MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety, and director, Center for Improving Diagnosis in Healthcare, MedStar Health, Washington, D.C.
Rahul Gupta, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., FACP, senior vice president and chief medical and health officer,
March of Dimes, Arlington, Virginia.
George Kerwin, M.B.A., president and chief executive officer (Retired),
Bellin Health, Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Edmondo J. Robinson, M.D., M.B.A., M.S., chief transformation officer, senior vice president, Consumerism, senior vice president and executive director,
Christiana Care-Wilmington, Wilmington, Delaware.
Yanling Yu, Ph.D., president, Washington Advocates for Patient Safety, Seattle, Washington.

 

For more information on the National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality click here.

FAH Reacts to Energy and Commerce Health Markup

July 17, 2019 | Chip Kahn

Category: Legislation

Protecting patients from surprise medical bills should be job one. We appreciate the significance of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s surprise bill measure that now recognizes the need to protect patient access to care by offering an arbitration option. The Committee is taking a step in the right direction.

We remain concerned with the precedent embedded in the bill that empowers the federal government to set private rates. We look forward to working with lawmakers to protect patients and further improve the legislation while moving away from unnecessary government intervention.

FAH also sent letters to Committee leaders today outlining support for other important provisions approved in the Committee markup - including the roll back of cuts in Medicaid disproportionate share payments, the reauthorization of the incentive program for nurses to practice in underserved areas and the funding for the important quality and performance measures oversight by the National Quality Forum.

Those letters can be found here and here.

FAH Responds to Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Markup

July 11, 2019 | Chip Kahn

Category: Hearings, Legislation

"Today’s House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee markup reflects a clear consensus that federal action is essential to protect patients from surprise bills.

"We agree.

"It is encouraging that many Subcommittee members expressed concern about the rate-setting approach this legislation imposes on providers that would affect patient access to care. Once the patient is protected, it is critical that providers are able to obtain a fair payment from payers unencumbered by government intervention. We look forward to working with the Congress on a patient-centered solution to surprise bills.

"We also applaud the Subcommittee for taking action on other bills vital to patient care, including rolling back cuts in Medicaid disproportionate share payments, advancing the reauthorization of the incentive program for nurses to practice in underserved areas and funding the important quality and performance measures oversight work of the National Quality Forum."

For more details, see the letter FAH sent to Subcommittee leaders this morning by clicking here.

Chip Kahn Speaks on Capitol Hill Panel to End Surprise Billing

July 10, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News

group Physicians for Fair Coverage entitled “Ending Surprise Billing.”

Chip was part of a panel discussion where he focused his remarks on protecting patients from surprise bills, saying “hospitals very strongly support the patient protections in all of the legislation.” He added, “we feel strongly that there are issues but not the justification of government intervention into those relationships.” Chip also stated that once the patient is protected, when it comes to determining payment between insurers and providers, negotiation works in most cases, pointing to arbitration as a good fallback.

The event began with speeches from Congressman Joseph Morelle (D-NY) and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) on the different surprise billing legislation proposals being discussed on Capitol Hill. Chip spoke from the hospital perspective on a panel that included Melissa Williams of the National Patient Advocate Foundation, Sherif Zaafran of Physicians for Fair Coverage and Scott Behrens of Lockton Companies.

To watch the full Ending Surprise Billing panel click here.

What Democratic Presidential Hopefuls Should Address Heading into Tonight’s Debate

June 26, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: General

The 2020 Democratic presidential primary debates offer an opportunity for candidates to focus on the health care issues that matter most to Americans – access to high-quality care and lowering their health care costs. While more Americans have health care coverage today than before the Affordable Care Act, much more can be done to improve coverage for those who have slipped through the cracks. Further, efforts to improve coverage must take into account their impact on access. Coverage without access would be meaningless.  

Before the Democratic debates kick off tonight and tomorrow, there are a few things FAH hopes to hear from the presidential hopefuls.

 

Rural Health

In a time when nearly a quarter of rural hospitals are at risk of closure, voters across the country are looking to the 2020 candidates to address health care’s most pressing issues.

A recent survey from the Bipartisan Policy Center found that the majority of Americans, including both Republicans and Democrats, consider access to care in rural communities an important issue heading into the 2020 election. Additionally, the survey found that three in five voters would vote for a candidate who prioritized rural health care in their campaign platform.

Rural hospitals are increasingly vulnerable. These facilities traditionally serve older, low-income populations that rely more heavily on Medicare than their urban counterparts. This creates a dichotomy of a Medicare-dependent population but a lower volume of patients overall.

With nearly one in four Americans residing in rural America, it’s essential for Democratic 2020 candidates to address their plans to protect and increase access to quality, affordable health care in rural communities.

 

Expanding and Supporting the ACA

The Affordable Care Act allowed millions of Americans to gain access to affordable health care insurance through federal and state health care Marketplaces, as well as through the expansion of existing Medicaid programs. Now is not the time to abandon the current law for government-run, one-size-fits-all health care proposals.

Instead, FAH hopes that candidates will embrace and preserve the ACA and present plans to strengthen the current law. We support building on the strength of the employer-provided health care system that currently serves 180 million Americans. Now is the time to improve the ACA and make it truly universal so that all Americans can have quality coverage and access to care.

 

Medicare for All

Medicare for All proposals will undoubtedly be discussed at the debates in Miami tonight and tomorrow night. But, will the presidential hopefuls set the record straight on how much the proposal will cost and how much it will dramatically change America’s health care system?

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll of the American awareness of elements in Medicare for All found that 40% of respondents believe private insurers would continue to cover most Americans and 55% say people who are covered through their jobs would be able to keep that coverage. Both are wrong.

It’s clear that the voters are unaware of the devastating impact Medicare for All would have on the health care system. Presidential contenders should be honest with American families tuning in. The truth is under Medicare for All - everyone would be forced into a government-run health care plan that dramatically raises taxes and leads to longer wait times for lower quality care.

It is important that we focus on giving patients and consumers the power to choose the care and coverage that works best for them and their families while keeping the promise of Medicare for our nation’s seniors.

 

Medicare Public Options and Buy-Ins

Public option proposals or buy-in plans have become very popular among candidates running for president. The problem is they don’t talk about the effects it could have on your access to care.

A recent report by FAH and the American Hospital Association (AHA) looked at the impact a Medicare public option proposal - Medicare X - would have on the ability of hospitals and health systems to continue to provide access to high-quality care to their patients and communities. The study showed that a one-size-fits-all proposal could create the largest ever cut to hospitals - nearly $800 billion - and be particularly disruptive to the employer-sponsored health insurance market.

Instead of supporting these disruptive proposals that would dramatically change the health care system, 2020 contenders should embrace the ACA and build upon what is currently working.

FAH Applauds Ways & Means' Work to Reauthorize NQF

June 26, 2019 | Chip Kahn

Category: Hearings

The National Quality Forum (NQF) is critical to ensuring the reliability and effectiveness of the quality and performance measures used in American health care today. Funding for NQF is an investment in improving patient care, making patients, providers and clinicians accountable for care, and making care quality and performance transparent. It is gratifying the House Ways and Means has decided to further the nation’s investment in NQF’s work for another three years. FAH supports extending NQF’s funding and the Committee’s modernization of the organization's role. This move provides long-needed authority to recommend the removal of measures to assure Medicare beneficiaries continue to have metrics that drive improvements in quality and performance.

FAH Responds to HELP Committee Mark Up

June 26, 2019 | Chip Kahn

Category: Hearings

Today’s HELP Committee legislation unfortunately misses the mark. While hospitals agree with the overarching aim of the Lower Health Care Costs Act, key provisions of this will ultimately lead to higher prices and fewer options for patients.

We are united with other hospital groups to protect patients and end the problem of surprise billing. This bill solves the immediate problem for patients, but the unintended consequences of rate setting will lead to more narrow networks and a precedent of government interference in free market negotiations.  

FAH appreciates the bipartisan group of Senators who today voiced significant concern about rate setting.

In a letter sent to Committee leaders, community hospitals also expressed our concerns with contracting provisions contained in this legislation. These could hit vulnerable communities hardest by limiting access to care – especially in rural areas and inner cities.

We remain opposed to this legislative package as currently constructed and look forward to working with lawmakers on solutions that address health care affordability without limiting access.

FAH Supports Ways and Means Committee Action on Vital Health Care Bills

June 25, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Legislation

The Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) sent a letter to House Ways and Means Committee leaders today expressing support for several of the health care related bills that are scheduled to be marked-up on Wednesday.

“We appreciate the Committee taking action to, among other items, improve the Medicare experience for beneficiaries, reauthorize the important work on quality improvement being done at the National Quality Forum (NQF), extend mental health benefits via telehealth, continue work to address the opioid crisis, and improve the delivery of care for patients with chronic medical conditions,” wrote FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn.

The letter, which was sent to Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) and Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX), highlighted several important bills supported by FAH, including:

H.R. 3417, the Beneficiary Education, Tools, Telehealth, and Extenders Reauthorization Act of 2019

“We support increasing access to mental health services via telehealth and appreciate the legislation’s relaxing of existing Medicare rules which serve as an impediment to the expansion and adoption of telehealth services. The use of telehealth to deliver care, especially in rural settings, is an important means to preserving access to vital health care services. We encourage the Committee to consider additional ways to incent the delivery of care via telehealth and specifically consider how to incent the use of these technologies in rural settings including hospitals.”

Another FAH supported provision will change Medicare GME (Graduate Medical Education) treatment of hospitals by establishing new medical residency training programs.

This bill also includes an extension of funding for The National Quality Forum (NQF).

“We applaud the Committee’s inclusion of language to reauthorize the NQF through fiscal year 2022. The NQF has been critical to ensuring the reliability and effectiveness of quality measures, and we are pleased to see continued investment in their important work. FAH also supports the Committee’s expansion of the NQF’s scope, providing long-needed authority to recommend the removal of measures to ensure they continue to drive measurable improvements in quality for Medicare beneficiaries.”

The HEARTS and Rural Relief Act

FAH supports the extension of enforcement instruction on supervision requirements for outpatient services in critical access and small rural hospitals through 2021. “Many small rural and critical access hospitals have insufficient staff available to furnish direct supervision, especially due to difficulties in recruiting physician and non-physician practitioners to practice in rural areas.”

H.R. 3414, The Opioid Workforce Act of 2019

This legislation proposes the addition of 1,000 Medicare-supported GME positions over five years to hospitals that have established or are establishing substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and prevention programs. “Expanding and funding residency slots for this purpose will help ensure that tomorrow’s physicians are fully equipped with the training and skills necessary in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain management.”

Finally, FAH expressed support for a bill that will remove cost sharing responsibilities for chronic care management services under the Medicare program.

The full letter can be found here.

FAH Responds to White House Executive Order

June 24, 2019 | Chip Kahn

Category:

“FAH believes that American consumers should have actionable out-of-pocket cost information to assist them in making important health care decisions. We appreciate the administration’s executive order where it will meet consumer transparency needs. If implementing regulations take the wrong course, however, it may undercut the way insurers pay for hospital services resulting in higher spending. The Federal Trade Commission has said that spending would likely increase if hospital-insurer payment arrangements were published.

"So much progress has been made in holding down health care prices. Now is not the time to increase the costs of care. Instead, we hope the administration will focus its effort to inform Americans on their out-of-pocket costs. We look forward to working with the administration to assure that transparency works for Americans when they seek health care.”

3 FAH Member Execs Named to 50 Most Influential Clinical Executives List

June 20, 2019 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category:

Three FAH member company executives were named to Modern Healthcare’s 2019 50 Most Influential Clinical Executives program.

The 2019 50 Most Influential Clinical Executives list honors physician, nursing and medical leaders in the health care industry who are recognized by their peers as outstanding in their field.

The FAH member Executives named to the list are:

  • Dr. Jonathan Perlin, President of clinical services and chief medical officer, HCA Healthcare
    • As the magazine highlighted, “Perlin oversees a corporate team at investor-owned HCA of 400 physicians, nurses, data scientists and researchers. He also has executive responsibility for HCA’s 45,000 physicians, 95,000 nurses and 35,000 other health professionals. He plays an integral role in spreading best practices across the organization. That includes a program that uses artificial intelligence to reduce sepsis rates, credited with saving nearly 9,000 lives since 2013.”

 

  • Jane Englebright, Senior vice president and chief nursing executive, HCA Healthcare
    • Modern Healthcare noted of Englebright, “As head of the CNO Council, she plays an integral role in shaping the for-profit chain’s nursing agenda, including shaping future leaders and setting clinical outcomes. Earlier this year, HCA pledged to invest money it saved from the tax reform law into staff benefits, including tuition reimbursement and loan repayment. A lot of that investment will be geared toward nurses.

 

  • Dr. Tony Tedeschi, CEO, Detroit Medical Center, Tenet Healthcare Corporation
    • When explaining why Dr. Tedeschi made the list, the magazine said, “He has 20-plus years of experience in operational and clinical leadership positions. Earlier this year, DMC announced plans to add 79 slots to its graduate medical education program. DMC currently has more than 100 residency and fellowship positions. Adding that many positions at once is rare for hospitals given the costs, but the system did so in hopes of meeting primary-care needs in the Detroit area.”

For a full list of honorees on Modern Healthcare’s 2019 50 Most Influential Clinical Executives program click here.

FAH Reacts to Release of Lower Health Care Costs Act

June 19, 2019 | Chip Kahn

Category: Legislation

Surprise billing is a problem for patients that needs to be solved. The Senate HELP Committee Chair’s Lower Health Care Costs Act resolves the patient’s problem, but the bill also includes a misguided arbitrary, government-dictated ‘benchmark’ payment rate for out-of-network services. FAH must oppose the bill until the Committee finds a better way.

Fortunately, appropriate payment for unavoidable out-of-network care can be left to providers and insurers to negotiate or when there are disputes the legislation can define a fair and objective arbitration process. 

The bill also contains contracting proposals that are apparently intended to reduce health care costs, but in reality will reduce patient access to vital medical care and have other unintended consequences for providers and payers alike.

FAH believes in the spirit of Lower Health Care Costs Act – protecting patients and lowering health care costs – though sees it as a work in progress that needs refinement. We look forward with working with the policymakers to help resolve the surprise billing problem for patients.

FAH Reacts to Senate HELP Hearing on Health Costs

June 18, 2019 | Chip Kahn

Category: Hearings

No hospital patient should receive a surprise bill - the message at today’s Senate HELP Committee hearing was clear.

The best way to protect patients is with a requirement that only holds them responsible for their in-network cost sharing amount for unavoidable out-of-network care.

It should then be up to providers and insurers to negotiate an appropriate payment. If policymakers want a fallback plan – arbitration best fits the bill."Proposals that extend the hand of government into private negotiations through rate setting or ‘network matching’ are unnecessary, untested and frankly amount to a cure searching for a problem.

The HELP Committee also examined an array of other proposals that are designed to reduce health care costs. These proposed rules and regulations are well-intentioned, but many of them don’t achieve the goal of helping patients navigate their medical care costs. While they likely would increase red tape for providers. It’s time to take a breath and carefully consider the effects of these plans on patients and caregivers.

FAH looks forward to working with the Committee as it seeks to perfect the legislation.

FAH Reacts to Senate HELP Hearing on Health Costs

May 29, 2019 | Chip Kahn

Category: Hearings

No hospital patient should receive a surprise bill - the message at today’s Senate HELP Committee hearing was clear.

The best way to protect patients is with a requirement that only holds them responsible for their in-network cost sharing amount for unavoidable out-of-network care.

It should then be up to providers and insurers to negotiate an appropriate payment. If policymakers want a fallback plan – arbitration best fits the bill.

Proposals that extend the hand of government into private negotiations through rate setting or ‘network matching’ are unnecessary, untested and frankly amount to a cure searching for a problem.

The HELP Committee also examined an array of other proposals that are designed to reduce health care costs. These proposed rules and regulations are well-intentioned, but many of them don’t achieve the goal of helping patients navigate their medical care costs. While they likely would increase red tape for providers. It’s time to take a breath and carefully consider the effects of these plans on patients and caregivers.

FAH looks forward to working with the Committee as it seeks to perfect the legislation.