August 4, 2017
A Forum for Maryland's Future
In the coming months, as negotiations continue on a path forward for the All-Payer Model and federal leaders debate changes to health care policy and funding, a new state commission will serve as an important forum for Maryland's stakeholders to protect health care coverage.
 
The Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission, created by the General Assembly this year - with amendments following MHA's advocacy to ensure hospital representation and consideration of the All-Payer Model (the original bill would have focused on only the Affordable Care Act) - held its first meeting Tuesday. The session was largely informational, with several experts providing an overview of the ACA's impact on Maryland and exploring the possible scenarios if federal or state policies and funding levels change.
 
MHA is your voice on this commission, which will be critically important when conversations about protecting coverage turn to the All-Payer Model and its future. This body will provide a public platform, beyond the Health Services Cost Review Commission, to underscore issues, challenges, and successes related to the All-Payer Model.
 
For now, we continue to meet with state officials on how to craft a model that maintains Maryland's special status with Medicare, an arrangement that has served Marylanders well for 40 years. But these are complicated negotiations, and we have important unanswered questions as we work to ensure that the goals outlined in any agreement are achievable.
 
The next meeting of the coverage protection commission is September 27. By that date, we should have a clearer picture of the terms of the next All-Payer Model and be able to discuss publicly how those goals will affect Maryland's hospitals and the people and communities we serve.
 
Because the commission's charge is to deliver a report to the Governor and General Assembly by the end of the year so that bills needed to mitigate negative federal changes can be introduced during the 2018 legislative session, its proceedings will be critically important for hospitals. With so much at risk, making our field's collective voice heard via this early policy development process is essential to a sound legislative strategy that can help build a long-term, sustainable health care model for Maryland while protecting the coverage gains the state has made under the ACA.

Klausmeier Attends Behavioral Health Task Force Meeting
State Senator Kathy Klausmeier, a key hospital ally in the fight to address Maryland's behavioral health crisis, joined members of MHA's Behavioral Health Task Force this week to discuss the task force's work thus far and its next steps. Klausmeier is interested in working with hospitals to improve the behavioral health continuum of care. In the meantime, the Behavioral Health Task Force is continuing to refine its recommendations for a comprehensive, integrated behavioral health treatment system and expects to release its report prior to the start of the legislative session.
 
Contact: Brian Frazee
Maryland's Hospitals to Be Included in Leapfrog Safety Grades
The Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) has announced that it will start providing data to the Leapfrog Group. Maryland's hospitals will as a result begin to receive hospital safety grades from Leapfrog this October (hospitals in all other states already receive grades). Leapfrog's ratings, which are published online, assign to each hospital a single letter grade representing overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm. To assist Leapfrog, staff at MHCC used inpatient claims data from the Health Services Cost Review Commission to generate several hospital-specific quality measures for patients with Medicare, including patient safety indicators. MHCC this week distributed a preview file of the data to quality leads at each facility and hospital staff are encouraged to review the files for accuracy. Leapfrog will also aggregate data from additional sources, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, and the American Hospital Association's Annual Survey, to generate final grades. Hospitals will receive a preview of their grades in September. Questions should be directed to MHCC's Director of the Center for Quality Measurement and Reporting Theressa Lee at theressa.lee@maryland.gov.
Violence Cost $2.7 Billion, Report Shows
A new report commissioned by the American Hospital Association says hospitals and health systems spent $2.7 billion in 2016 on efforts to combat the effects of violence. Preparedness and prevention efforts to address community violence accounted for $280 million of that; unreimbursed medical care for victims of violence was $852 million; $1.1 billion covered security and training costs; and $429 million was for medical care, staffing, indemnity, and other costs as a result of violence against hospital employees. The report was released this week by the AHA at its 25th annual Leadership Summit and in conjunction with the yearlong Hospitals Against Violence initiative that launched last year.
Direct-Entry Midwives Have New Requirement
The Maryland Board of Nursing has a new form that licensed direct-entry midwives must sign upon admitting their patients to a Maryland hospital. The General Written Care Plan for Direct-Entry Midwives ( download here) will have to be signed and presented to the hospital when the patient is admitted. Contact Ann Tyminski with the Maryland Board of Nursing with questions.
MHA to Present on Care Redesign at HFMA
The Maryland Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) is holding a Care Redesign Summit Friday, August 18 at which MHA will present on the Hospital Care Improvement Program (HCIP) and the Complex and Chronic Care Improvement Program (CCIP). The session will be held at the Sheppard Pratt Conference Center, beginning at 8:30 a.m.
Collaboration Isn't Just "Getting Along Together"
 
Many leadership thinkers are touting the importance of "collaboration" in today's workplace. For some it has to do with innovation and creativity, while for others it relates to specialization and specific skill sets.

Looking for a Cutting Edge Provider for Blood and Associated Services?
 
For more than 60 years, Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD) has provided blood and blood components to hospitals throughout the Delmarva region, helping avoid blood shortages and saving thousands of lives with assistance from more than 150,000 current donors.

Playbook Offers Strategies for Effective Hospital-Community Partnerships
 
The AHA's Health Research & Educational Trust affiliate has released a new resource to help hospitals partner with their communities to achieve a culture of health.

THE WEEK AHEAD
Tuesday, August 8
MHA Council on Clinical and Quality Issues meeting

Thursday, August 10
MHA Financial Technical Work Group meeting
MHA Educational Session on the Medicare Wage Index
TOP NEWS FROM THE WEEK
Carroll County Times, By Jon Kelvey, July 31
 
Fox Baltimore, By Bryna Zumer, July 28
 
WTOP, By Kate Ryan, August 1
 
The Baltimore Sun, By Michael Dresser, August 1
 
Baltimore Business Journal, By Tina Reed, August 2
 
The Baltimore Sun, By Sarah Gantz, August 2
 
The Daily Record, By Andrew Welsh-Huggins, August 2