Log in


  • 8 Dec 2021 11:44 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    COVID-19 dropped out of the top five telehealth diagnoses nationally in September 2021, according to FAIR Health's Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker. In August, COVID-19 had been among the top five telehealth diagnoses nationally and in every US census region except the Northeast. In September, the only region in which COVID-19 ranked in the top five was the Midwest. The data represent the privately insured population, including Medicare Advantage and excluding Medicare Fee-for-Service and Medicaid. 

    For the second straight month, national telehealth utilization, measured as a percentage of all medical claim lines,1 grew by about two percent. Telehealth utilization rose nationally in September by 2.3 percent, increasing from 4.3 percent of medical claim lines in August to 4.4 percent in September, following a national rise of 2.4 percent in August. Telehealth utilization also grew in September in the Midwest and West, though there was no change in the South and a decrease in the Northeast.

    From August to September 2021, mental health conditions, which remained the top-ranking telehealth diagnosis nationally and in every region, increased in percentage share of all telehealth claim lines nationally and in every region. This was a change from July to August 2021, when this diagnosis declined in percentage share of all telehealth claim lines nationally and in every region.

    From August to September 2021, substance use disorders joined the top five telehealth diagnoses nationally, while rising from the fourth to third most common telehealth diagnosis in the Northeast. From August to September 2021, developmental disorders rose from fourth to third place in the top five telehealth diagnoses nationally. Similarly, this diagnosis rose in the rankings in every region except the South, where it was not among the top five in either August or September.

    CPT®2 90833, psychotherapy performed with evaluation and management visit, 30 minutes, joined the top five telehealth procedure codes by utilization nationally in September 2021. Ranking at number five, it displaced CPT 99441, physician telephone patient service, five to ten minutes of medical discussion. This was a reversal of August 2021, when CPT 99441 displaced CPT 90833 in the rankings.

    About the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker
    Launched in May 2020 as a free service, the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker uses FAIR Health data to track how telehealth is evolving from month to month. An interactive map of the four US census regions allows the user to view an infographic on telehealth in a specific month in the nation as a whole or in individual regions. Each infographic shows month-to-month changes in volume of telehealth claim lines, top five telehealth procedure codes and top five telehealth diagnoses (or diagnostic categories), along with that month's top five granular diagnoses within the most common diagnostic category.

    FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd stated: "As the COVID-19 pandemic and telehealth utilization continue to evolve, FAIR Health's Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker serves as a window into that evolution. This is one of the many ways we pursue our healthcare transparency mission."

    For the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker, click here.


  • 7 Dec 2021 10:07 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    As part of the Call to Action, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) releases new report estimating that 720,000 more people would gain Medicaid postpartum coverage if states act; the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposes establishment of “Birthing-Friendly” hospital designation and issues guidance to states on how to provide Medicaid coverage for a full year postpartum

    ...Today marks the first-ever White House Maternal Health Day of Action. In addition to substantial investments proposed in the Build Back Better Act, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new commitments to support safe pregnancies and childbirth, and reduce complications and mortality in the year following birth.

    Today's program here.

    Fact Sheet and more details here>


  • 6 Dec 2021 3:00 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Illinois have hit their highest level since last winter’s surge.

    There were 2,582 individuals in Illinois hospitals with COVID-19 on Thursday, up 45 from Wednesday and an increase of 595 from the prior week. It’s the highest number of hospitalizations since 2,600 were reported on Jan. 29. [Health News Illinois 12.26.2021]

    Of those patients in the hospital with COVID-19, 534 patients were in the ICU, up 153 from the prior week, and 221 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators, up 54 from the prior week.

    The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 42,559 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 over last week. The seven-day average for new daily cases on Friday was 6,080, up 1,987 from the prior week.

    There have now been 1,835,076 cases in the state.

    Illinois has yet to report any cases of the omicron variant. Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a Sunday morning press conference she expected the first omicron case to be reported "within a number of days."

    "There are multiple examples of case investigation going on right now where we know that there are people who have been exposed to the omicron variant that we are doing aggressive case investigation, testing and contact tracing on," Arwady said.

    The death toll reached 26,535 after 182 COVID-related deaths were reported last week.

    The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test is 4.7 percent. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity is 5.6 percent.

    Approximately 69 percent of Illinoisans have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 61 percent are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thirty-six percent of eligible Illinoisans have received a booster dose.

    A total of 17,508,319 vaccines have been administered as of Thursday night. The seven-day average for doses administered is 54,387 doses.


  • 3 Dec 2021 10:44 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    HHS is appealing a federal court's decision to temporarily block the start of its vaccination mandate for healthcare workers, according to Bloomberg Law.  [Beckers Hospital Review 12.2.2021] 

    U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty in Louisiana granted a preliminary injunction Nov. 30 halting the vaccination rule for healthcare workers until legal challenges are resolved. 

    "There is no question that mandating a vaccine to 10.3 million health care workers is something that should be done by Congress, not a government agency," Mr. Doughty, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, wrote. "It is not clear that even an act of Congress mandating a vaccine would be constitutional."

    HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and other defendants filed an appeal Dec. 1. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit will hear the appeal. 

    The preliminary injunction at issue effectively expanded a separate order issued Nov. 29 by a federal court in Missouri that temporarily halted the vaccine rules for healthcare workers in 10 states. The mandate requires hospital and nursing home workers to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4. The regulation allows exemptions based on religious beliefs or recognized medical conditions.


  • 2 Dec 2021 8:48 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Let's focus on reaching the unvaccinated at home and abroad as we await more data on Omicron

    by Amesh Adalja, MD December 2, 2021

    In the wake of the discovery of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the CDC modified its guidance on booster vaccines. [MedPage Today]

    The agency now says that all adults should get a booster vaccine dose if at least 6 months have passed since their initial mRNA vaccine series (or 2 months for Johnson & Johnson recipients). For some time, there have been differing opinions over the benefit of universal boosting, especially for healthy younger individuals. Now it is important to consider whether Omicron changes the calculus.

    A booster dose has clearly been demonstrated to be beneficial for certain populations. However, the net benefit of rushing to boost the average healthy person is less clear, especially in the context of the potential need for an Omicron-specific vaccine in the near-term and considering the global fight against COVID-19, which depends on first and second doses.

    Studies have established, unsurprisingly, that a booster dose increases antibody levels and is, at least temporarily, likely to stave off a breakthrough infection. But with a destined-to-be endemic coronavirus, a breakthrough infection (symptomatic or asymptomatic), especially with our current vaccines, is likely for most people. For those at heightened risk for severe COVID-19, preventing a breakthrough infection from becoming severe is very important. Anyone over 65 or who has underlying conditions should be boosted as soon as possible. But for most people who are not at high-risk for severe COVID-19, any breakthrough infection will be unlikely to cause severe illness, hospitalization, or death. Therefore, for the young, healthy population, the value of boosting with the vaccine currently available to transiently prevent what would likely be non-severe illness is, to me, of marginal value. The likelihood of non-severe COVID-19 in young, healthy people is almost certain to be as true for Omicron as it has been for Delta, and we will learn more in the coming days and weeks.

    Full article here>


  • 1 Dec 2021 2:07 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Since 1988, World AIDS Day has been an annual call to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic as we remember the many who lost their lives to the disease. Considerable progress has been made since the first World AIDS Day; however, far too many people continue to acquire HIV and die from its related illnesses. In 2020, an estimated 680,000 people globally died from HIV-related causes, and roughly 1.5 million people became newly infected with HIV, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). (NIH 12.1.2021]

    Remarkable scientific progress achieved over the past four decades has led to highly effective HIV treatment and prevention strategies. Unfortunately, these life-saving tools are not reaching all the people who most need them. The theme for World AIDS Day 2021 is Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice. Equity must be a goal for every researcher, public health official, healthcare worker, and advocate working to address HIV/AIDS. Here in the United States, HIV remains a major healthcare challenge that disproportionately affects marginalized groups, such as members of the Black/African-American and Latinx communities, women, people who use drugs, men who have sex with men, and transgender women. A part of U.S. government efforts to end the epidemic in the United States, NIH research plays a key role in the HIV National Strategic Plan: A Roadmap to End the Epidemic(link is external), and its goal of reducing new HIV cases by at least  90% in 2030.

    Download the HIV National Strategic Plan here. 

    Download the One-Page Highlighted Brief here

    For the full announcement, visit this page. 

    The National HIV/AIDS Strategy and the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. Initiative

    The Strategy and the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative are closely aligned and complementary. They have the common goal of reducing new HIV transmissions in the United States by 75% by 2025 and by 90% by 2030. The Strategy is the broader, overarching national plan that extends across many federal departments and encompasses the entire nation. The EHE initiative will be a leading component of the work by the Department of Health and Human Services – in collaboration with state, tribal, territorial, and local partners – to implement the Strategy.

    More details here> 


  • 30 Nov 2021 1:33 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)
    Illustration of a young woman and an older woman; they look concerned as they read health misinformation

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been exposed to an abundance of information from a large number of sources. Amid all this information, many people have also been exposed to health misinformation: information that is false, inaccurate, or misleading according to the best available evidence at the time. Misinformation has caused confusion and led people to decline COVID-19 vaccines, reject public health measures such as masking and physical distancing, and use unproven treatments. [HHS Office of the Surgeon General] 

    The U.S. Surgeon General's Community Toolkit for Addressing Health Misinformation, developed in collaboration with the HHS Office of Evaluation Sciences (OES), provides specific guidance and resources for health care providers, educators, librarians, faith leaders, and trusted community members to understand, identify, and stop the spread of health misinformation in their communities.

    Check out the 22-page toolkit.  Download the toolkit here>  Learn more here> 


  • 29 Nov 2021 7:41 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Community Resilience Estimates for Equity matter. They have been updated by the US Census Bureau. 

    The Community Resilience Estimates (CRE) provide an easily understood metric for how at-risk every neighborhood in the United States is to the impacts of disasters, including COVID-19. 

    Here are Cook County's numbers

    For more details and to learn more, visit this page: 



  • 24 Nov 2021 8:15 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The Biden administration is investing $1.5 billion from the COVID-19 aid package to address healthcare workforce shortages in underserved communities, the White House announced Nov. 22. 

    The funding will go to the National Health Service Corps, Nurse Corps, and Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery programs, which address workforce shortages by providing scholarship and loan repayment funding for healthcare students if they agree to work in high-risk and underserved communities. 

    The funding, provided through the American Rescue Plan, will support more than 22,700 providers, including physicians, nurses and dentists. 

    The Biden administration also plans to award $330 million in funding for the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program. This additional funding will further support the expansion of the primary care physician and dental workforce in underserved communities through community-based residency programs.  

    Read more here> 


  • 23 Nov 2021 8:01 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Between Nov. 11 and Nov. 18, 141,905 COVID-19 cases were reported among children in the U.S., marking a 32 percent increase since the week ending Nov. 4., according to a Nov. 22 update from the American Academy of Pediatrics. [Becker's Health Review 11.23.2021]

    Children accounted for about a quarter of weekly COVID-19 cases in the U.S. for the week ending Nov. 18 and about 17 percent of total accumulated cases since the start of the pandemic. 

    Overall, the data indicates severe illness due to COVID-19 is uncommon among children, with 0.1 percent to 1.9 percent of child cases resulting in hospitalization throughout the pandemic, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics update, which includes hospitalization data from 24 states and New York City. The latest update also found less than 1 percent of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in death, based on mortality data from 45 states and New York City. 

    "However, there is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects," the update said. 

    While the risk of severe COVID-19 illness among children remains low, health officials urge vaccination among those eligible to prevent potential long-term symptoms, hospitalization and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, a rare but serious condition linked to COVID-19. As of Nov. 1, more than 5,000 kids in the U.S. had developed MIS-C since 2020. 

    The CDC recommends everyone ages 5 and older get vaccinated against COVID-19. The Pfizer-BioNTech shot is currently the only one authorized for use in children aged 5 to 17. 


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software