CMS Releases Medicare Wage Index Information

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released the timetable and preliminary hospital data that will be used to develop the Medicare wage index for fiscal year (FY) 2025, which begins Oct. 1, 2024. The wage index is used to adjust Medicare fee-for-service payments for geographic variations in labor costs and adjusts up to 68% of the inpatient payment rate and 60% of the outpatient payment rate. The hospital wage index is also used to adjust post-acute care payments. Hospitals have until Sept. 1, 2023, to review their data and submit requests for changes to the Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC), along with supporting documentation.

The MHA is hosting an educational webinar at 10 a.m. June 29 to assist hospitals with data reporting. The webinar is free of charge, but registration is required. The MHA will provide hospitals with comparative data from the latest CMS public use file within the next few weeks. Contract labor will have a significant impact on the FY 2025 wage index due to the workforce shortage and heavy reliance on agency staffing during the pandemic. Hospitals are encouraged to begin reviewing agency staffing invoices for cost reporting periods beginning in federal FY 2021 to ensure the information required for the MAC review process is available.

All prospective payment system hospitals are also required to submit a completed occupational mix survey to the MAC by June 30, with survey results used to adjust the wage index for FYs 2025, 2026 and 2027. The CMS is scheduled to release the preliminary survey results July 12, 2023. Resources on completing the occupational mix survey are available upon request.

Members with questions should contact Vickie Kunz at the MHA.

MHA Keystone Center Cohosting Caregiver Navigation Roundtable

The MHA Keystone Center is partnering with the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and RUSH University Medical Center to host a virtual roundtable from 10 to 11:15 a.m. June 21 on implementing caregiver navigation programs in health systems across Michigan.

Attendees will learn about a new Michigan Caregiver Navigation Toolkit developed by the MHA Keystone Center, as well as how RUSH University Medical Center has expanded its Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative to incorporate caregiving best practices in its Caring for Caregivers model. Attendees will engage in a roundtable discussion about barriers and solutions to expanding caregiver programming in their organizations and across the state.

Attendees will also:

  • Learn about new initiatives and programs that focus on the health and well-being of patient caregivers.
  • Engage in an open discussion about potential barriers and solutions to adopting caregiver programming in your organization.
  • Participate in small breakout sessions to better learn each attendee’s unique needs to assist with adopting a new caregiver model.
  • Develop and leverage feedback to plan and evaluate how to expand caregiver programming across the state.

Executive and clinical leaders, patient safety officers, quality improvement personnel, directors of patient experience or compliance, care managers and caregiver program managers are encouraged to register by June 7 for the virtual roundtable.

Members with questions may contact the MHA Keystone Center.

Headline Roundup: Cancer Drug Shortage Continues

MHA CEO Brian Peters appears on the Michigan Business Beat.
MHA CEO Brian Peters appears on the Michigan Business Beat.
MHA CEO Brian Peters appears on the Michigan Business Beat.

The MHA received media coverage the week of May 21 regarding the continued shortage of cancer drugs carboplatin and cisplatin and hospital workforce shortages.

MHA representatives appearing in published stories include CEO Brian Peters, Executive Vice President Laura Appel, Senior Director of Government & Political Affairs Elizabeth Kutter and Senior Director of Communications John Karasinski.

Below is a collection of headline from around the state.

Thursday, May 25

Wednesday, May 24

Tuesday, May 23

Monday, May 22

Sunday, May 21

Members with any questions regarding media requests should contact John Karasinski at the MHA.

Person and Family Engagement Leaders Explore PFE Roadmap

Approximately 80 leaders responsible for quality, safety and patient experience and patient care participated in an MHA webinar to review the newly released MHA Person & Family Engagement (PFE) Roadmap, which includes recommended policies to re-engage patients and caregivers. Participants reviewed the harm that the pandemic caused and its contribution to patient and caregiver isolation. Participants also shared best practices to rebuild relationships and collaborate on patient care. An assessment tool is available by request for hospitals and health systems to identify and resolve challenges around PFE adoption.

Members with questions may contact Erin Steward at the MHA.

MHA Continues Work Towards Chemotherapy Drug Shortage

The MHA has been in frequent contact with members of the Michigan Congressional delegation since the association was made aware of shortages of the chemotherapy drugs carboplatin and cisplatin. Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-Ann Arbor) and Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) led the Michigan delegation in sending a bipartisan letter May 24 to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf to urge the FDA to take immediate action to mitigate the effects of the nationwide shortage of chemotherapy medications. Every member of the Michigan delegation signed on to the letter.

U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing), along with U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing), wrote a separate letter to Dr. Califf asking that the FDA do everything in its power to mitigate the dire shortage of cancer drugs that has reached crisis levels in recent months.

The office of Sen. Peters also provided the following information to the MHA during the week of May 22 regarding the shortages.

  • The shortages for each drug are caused by the manufacturer Accord deciding to place production on hold, pending further assessments. Four other manufacturers of the drugs have not been able to fill the supply gap left by Accord.
  • The FDA has continued to work with Accord on prioritization of their assessments for product release and cisplatin and carboplatin are prioritized for release. Cisplatin is now being released following the assessment and supplies are making their way to hospitals and cancer centers. Meanwhile, carboplatin is planned to be released soon.
  • The FDA is also working with the other four manufacturers to increase supply and are offering expedited review of anything needed to increase supply, such as additional manufacturing lines, facilities and suppliers.
  • The FDA is requesting the manufacturers provide data to extend expiration dating for lots on the market that remain in distribution but are nearing expiration. Once received, the FDA will post the drug, old lot number and new lot number on the Extended Use database on the Drug Shortage website.
  • In addition, the FDA is exploring temporary importation to meet patient needs during the shortage. During temporary import, the FDA evaluates the overseas product attributes, as well as the manufacturing facilities, to ensure no risks exist for US patients.

Updates for both cisplatin and carboplatin are being provided by the FDA on the drug’s FDA Drug Shortage webpages.

Members with questions may contact Renee Smiddy with the MHA.

Michigan Society of Anesthesiologists Address Legislative Policy Panel

MSA President Neeju Ravikant, MD, MS, presents to the MHA Legislative Policy Panel.

The MHA Legislative Policy Panel convened May 24 to develop recommendations for the MHA Board of Trustees on legislative initiatives impacting Michigan hospitals.

The meeting was highlighted by a presentation on potential state licensure of anesthesiologist assistants (AAs) from Michigan Society of Anesthesiologists (MSA) President Neeju Ravikant, MD, MS; Secretary/Treasurer & Legislative Co-Chair Courtney Abernathy, MD; and MSA board member William Peruzzi, MD. Currently Michigan is one of four states that allow practice for AAs via physician delegation. Licensure would still require AAs work under the supervision of a qualified physician anesthesiologist and would have Michigan join 15 other states, the District of Columbia and the US Territory of Guam that have moved over to licensure.

In addition to the presentation, the panel recommended the MHA support telehealth parity and discussed issues around pharmaceutical manufacturers discriminating against covered entities based on their contract pharmacy relationships.

The panel received updates on other issues including a review of the MHA Strategic Action Plan from MHA CEO Brian Peters, a federal update from federal lobbyist Carlos Jackson with Cornerstone Government Affairs and state updates on the budget and nurse staffing ratio legislation.

For more information on the MHA Legislative Policy Panel, contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.

Governor Signs Red Flag Laws

capitol building

capitol buildingLegislation to create Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) was signed by Gov. Whitmer May 22. These new public acts allow for certain individuals, including healthcare providers, to file an ERPO if a person is a threat to themselves or others.

Healthcare providers are uniquely positioned to offer healing in times of need given the close relationship between providers and patients. Inclusion in the state’s “red flag” laws recognize the important role healthcare providers play in their communities. In instances where patients present and indicate they pose a significant risk to themselves or others, the newly signed legislation allows a provider to file an ERPO to protect that individual from self-harm or harm to others.

These Public Acts (PAs) establish the new “red flag” laws in Michigan.

  • PA 35 introduced by Rep. Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Township).
  • PA 36 introduced by Rep. Stephanie Young (D-Detroit).
  • PA 37 introduced by Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Novi).
  • PA 38 introduced by Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak).

Under the newly signed laws, a healthcare provider means “a physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, certified nurse specialist, or a mental health professional.” Further, the law defines mental health professional as a person “who is trained and experienced in the area of mental illness or developmental disabilities and who is a physician, a psychologist, registered professional nurse, licensed or otherwise authorized master’s social worker, licensed or otherwise authorized professionally counselor, and a licensed or otherwise authorized marriage or family therapist.”

Healthcare providers are often the first interaction a resident has where an opportunity for care and harm prevention can be offered. Michigan’s Extreme Risk Protection Order law is another tool available for healthcare providers in responding to patient needs.

Members with questions on the Extreme Risk Protection Order law may contact Elizabeth Kutter at the MHA.

2023 Ludwig Nominee: Hurley Patient Advocate Seeks to Address Barriers to Care

Since 1990, the MHA has honored member healthcare organizations working to enrich the overall welfare of their local communities through the Ludwig Community Benefit Award. This year, the MHA is excited to showcase all award nominees, highlighting the exceptional and creative work being accomplished by Michigan’s hospitals.

Hurley Medical Center, a 2023 nominee, is advancing the well-being of Flint and Genesee County communities through their Patient Resource & Community Advocate (PRCA), which focuses on addressing the barriers that prevent or delay vulnerable patient populations from seeking care.

Data collected by the medical center revealed that many residents in surrounding zip codes are disproportionately affected by chronic illness (heart disease, diabetes, etc.), lack of transportation, food insecurity, racial disparities and provider mistrust. In an effort to remove barriers and make the community healthier, Hurley looked for someone to fill the patient advocate role. Tarnesa Martin, RN, BSN, was seen as a perfect fit based on her medical knowledge and strong ties to the community.

As Hurley’s Patient Resource & Community Advocate, Martin works on community outreach, disease prevention and staff education to better serve patients in need. She frequently engages with community groups, minority-owned businesses, faith-based organizations and other trusted entities serving minority populations outside of the hospital in an effort to better understand barriers to care.

While most of her work is done out in the community, Martin also assists with educating Hurley resident physicians on patient trust-building, communication and health literacy. Her strong relationships with the hospital staff allow her to provide direction to patients as they navigate acute care needs and challenging diagnoses.

Every year, Hurley teams handle more than 20,000 inpatient cases, 350,000 outpatient visits and see over 80,000 emergency department visits. Hospital staff continue to collect and analyze patient data to identify disparities and find solutions that reduce hospital admissions, readmissions and adverse outcomes.

Members with questions about the program or the Ludwig Community Benefit Award should contact Erica Leyko at the MHA.

Licensing and Regulatory Updates

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) recently published updated rules related to hospitals. Those updates include the following:

  • Final EMS Life Support Agencies and Medical Control Rule: The final rule, effective May 19, 2023, discontinues the Certificate of Need of air ambulance services and updates the medical care requirements for air ambulance services.
  • Final Center Fill Pharmacies Rule: The final rule, effective May 19, 2023, updates record timelines for keeping prescriptions on file and defining central fill and shared pharmacy services.
  • Draft Board of Nursing – General Rules: The latest Board of Nursing draft rules address the NCLEX examination, clarify nursing education program requirements and continuing education, and modify the nurse professional fund scholarship program requirements.

Members with questions should contact Renée Smiddy at the MHA.

News to Know – May 22, 2023

  • The MHA and Endorsed Business Partner AMN Healthcare Language Services are hosting the webinar New Organizational Responsibilities in Health Equity Regulation: ACA Section 1557 from 3 to 4 p.m. ET June 14. Carla Fogaren, National Language Access Consultant and Vice President of the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care, will provide an overview of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and identify requirements for language access compliance; outline key requirements of Section 1557 for testing bilingual clinical staff and how to explore solutions and resources to support testing; and walkthrough new provisions related to translations, clinical algorithms, Medicare Part B and Section 1557 Coordinator. There is no cost to attend and members can register Members with questions may contact Rob Wood at the MHA.
  • Completed 2022 occupational mix surveys must be submitted by acute care hospitals paid under the Medicare prospective payment system to the Medicare Administrative Contractor by June 30, 2023. Hospitals are required to complete the survey every three years, with results from the 2022 survey to be used to adjust the Medicare wage index for fiscal years 2025, 2026 and 2027. Hospitals are encouraged to review their 2019 survey and determine whether there have been payroll changes, new job codes or job descriptions added, etc., to streamline the completion process. It is important to note that contact labor should be included in the various categories of the survey. Resource materials from the educational webinar hosted by the MHA in late January are available upon request. Members with questions should contact Vickie Kunz at the MHA.