Healthcare Equity, Cooley Dickinson's Healthy Food Initiative, and more...

Health System Opportunity: Equity in Healthcare

The Boston-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has a new initiative called Pursuing Equity Learning & Action Network, and is looking to partner with health system teams to fulfill the initiative’s goals.
The intensive, 18-month effort seeks to eliminate inequities in healthcare, provide improvement methods and tools for testing and learning, create a network for sharing, and disseminate what is learned, including results, challenges, and effective improvements.
IHI will mobilize experts in improvement science and health equity to work in close partnership with the participating organizations. Learning activities will be delivered virtually and in person.
IHI is looking for health system teams that have demonstrated commitment to advancing equity; are prepared to share data and learning; have data systems available to understand and track equity gaps; can engage a multi-departmental team; accept Medicaid; and have the ability to fund travel and lodging to and from the four in-person meetings.
This 10-page document outlines the program’s strategy and IHI’s approach, as well as details relating to who should participate and the cost to participants. Novartis US Foundation has agreed to cover a limited number of enrollments in Massachusetts.
If you have any questions about the IHI initiative, Novartis US Foundation’s offer to cover enrollments, or any other issue, please contact David Coletta, IHI’s executive director of Strategic Alliances, at (617) 391-9908 or dcoletta@ihi.org.

Wholesale MOON Claims Rejections No Longer Allowed

Hospitals present “MOON” forms to Medicare patients to inform them that they are outpatients receiving observation services rather than being inpatients of the hospital. Delivering the “Medicare Outpatient Observation Notice” to patients and having them confirm receipt is just another piece of the paperwork puzzle that is part of providing care in hospitals.
But over the past few months, National Government Services (NGS) – which is part of the Anthem health insurance company – has been conducting audits on use of the MOON form and, as a result, has been routinely denying hospital observation claims.
MHA, working with its member law firm Foley & Lardner investigated the issue, which resulted in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) instructing its vendor NGS to quit issuing claims denials based on MOON form delivery objections. Such objections are often related to not having the patient clearly write the date and time when they received the form, or the provider not being sufficiently descriptive when filling in the line explaining why the patient is not considered an inpatient.
MHA is encouraging its members to adhere closely to the form instructions and to be as descriptive as possible when filling out all lines, but not to accept wholesale rejections by the insurance company auditor CMS hired.

Focus on Community Benefits: Cooley Dickinson Health Care

Cooley Dickinson Health Care supports several food systems projects through its community benefit program.
In 2018, a Cooley Dickinson Healthy Communities grant helped Grow Food Northampton – a non-profit that supports both sustainable local agriculture and affordable, accessible healthy food – bring fresh farm produce to low-income housing communities in Northampton, Mass.
That grant helped underwrite a mobile market pilot program that now serves seven locations throughout Northampton. Grow Food Northampton, Cooley Dickinson, and other partners teamed up again in 2019 to continue the program, now called Neighborhood Markets. So far this year the program has served 125 people and distributed fresh produce valued at $25,555.
Grow Food Northampton Director of Programs Michael Skillicorn says Neighborhood Markets are unique because they bring high-quality, fresh produce directly to where people live. “Every subsidized housing community in Northampton will host, or be within walking distance, of a Neighborhood Market,” he says. “This marks a significant achievement for the residents who helped create this program. The community – including Cooley Dickinson – stepped up to make their vision possible.” 
Edgardo Cancel, a Hampshire Heights resident and one of the people who helped bring the mobile market to his community, says it’s all about access.
“There are a lot of folks here who are limited as far as transportation,” Cancel says. “This program brings the farmers’ market here; it helps people get a taste of what’s possible in terms of eating fresh and organic. It provides healthier options for everyone.” 
Cooley Dickinson Health Care is an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, Massachusetts hospitals provided $641 million in community benefits for residents of Massachusetts in Fiscal Year 2018. These hospital community benefits programs – provided at no cost to those being served – are not reimbursed by state or federal governments, by any health insurance company, or through any public subsidy.

Save the Date: Serious Illness Care Summit

The Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care will hold its fifth annual summit on Monday, June 22 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Weston Copley in Boston. Details are still to come but you can register now by clicking here.  Last November, the coalition released its Good Talk toolkit, which is designed to shift the focus of advance care planning away from end-of-life and life-sustaining treatment choices towards goals of care, quality of life, and shared decision making.

MHA’s Breakthrough Conference

Friday, May 8; 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
MHA Conference Center, Burlington, Mass.

Hospitals and health systems are facing competitive threats from more angles than ever before. From innovative healthcare tech startups to traditional payers making inroads into the provider space, today's external pressures have multiplied. As health systems attempt to pivot toward innovation, what kinds of new services and business delivery models are gaining traction? At this conference, we’ll look at the competitive forces and how some hospitals and health systems are offering new services to compete. Confirmed session topics include: You Can’t Win With Yesterday’s Model and Living in an Amazon World: A 4-Step Action Plan for Healthcare Incumbents. Additional sessions are planned on innovations hospitals are using to disrupt their old business models and meet new customer demands for convenience. Is your hospital working on an innovative “disruption” to the old models of care or business? We are still looking for panelists, so please reach out to us. Learn more about this conference and other MHA Education offerings by visiting here.

John LoDico, Editor