April 13, 2018
A Remarkable Session
As the stroke of midnight Monday, the Maryland General Assembly adjourned its 438th session, concluding what by any measure was a very strong 90 days for Maryland's hospitals. Among the many highlights:  
  • The annual Medicaid "sick tax" on hospitals was reduced by $30 million
  • The state will provide $20 million in grants to establish and improve crisis response for behavioral health patients
  • Maryland's individual health insurance market was stabilized, without any new taxes on hospitals, which could have totaled $75 million 

Earlier this week, you received an at-a-glance summary of these and other victories, including workforce development, medical liability, and hospitals' tax-exempt status. We also sent you a full bill tracking summary , a slide deck that can be tailored to your organization when you present to your board or the public, and an action map with steps you may need to take as the new laws are implemented.
 
MHA's and hospitals' government relations teams worked closely not only throughout the session, but also in the months leading up to it.
 
Our teams would not have been successful without your support. From reaching out to legislators in your districts to directly testifying before the House and Senate (11 members from five hospitals and health systems testified this year), the unity among the hospital field this year made an undeniable difference.
 
How do we follow up on this success?
 
To begin, we all need to demonstrate that we're using the favorable outcomes of the 2018 session to benefit the people and communities we serve. For example, the state's investments in behavioral health services will augment hospitals' efforts to solve a longstanding, statewide problem.
 
Second, we need to prepare for the next round. The General Assembly will reconvene Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - less than nine months from today. Already, work groups are forming on topics like home health care, EMS coverage, peer recovery specialists, community health workers, and more. It is this work, during the interim, which lays the foundation for success when the legislature is in session. Also over the interim, we'll keep you informed of key developments through Member Alerts and MHA's weekly Update newsletter.
 
This year's strong session is something to be proud of - knowing that your hard work helped create an environment more conducive to improving the health care and health status of the people of Maryland.

Bob Atlas
President and CEO

HSCRC Receives Policy, Legislative Updates
Health Services Cost Review Commission members this week received reports summarizing legislation of interest in the 2018 General Assembly session, as well as an overview of the discussions in the Payment Models work group regarding the fiscal year 2019 update to hospital global budgets. Staff noted that they would be providing a draft update recommendation at the May 9 meeting. Details are available in this month's Newsbreak.
Register Now for MHA's Annual Meeting
The MHA Annual Membership Meeting will be held June 11 and 12 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore. Our speakers are:  
  • Dr. Atul Gawande. One of Time's 100 Most Influential Thinkers, a renowned surgeon, and researcher, and author of Being Mortal: Medicine and what Matters in the End. Gawande will share his bold vision for improving performance by focusing on the needs of real people, the values that make for a healthy society, the science and technologies waiting over the horizon, and how to reform systems to make it all work; he also will be available for a book-signing and to chat with attendees
  • Ben Nemtin, Creator and star of the TV show The Buried Life, #1 New York Times bestselling author of What Do you Want to Do Before You Die, and an internationally renowned keynote speaker
  • Dr. Omar Manejwala, Addiction psychiatrist and Chief Medical Officer at Catasys, a national health services management company; Author of Craving: Why We Can't Seem to Get Enough; former Hazelden Foundation Medical Director. 
The time we spend together each year at our annual meeting is invaluable. Beyond the information and insight from speakers like Gawande, it's one of the times when we can truly connect to freely share ideas about the future of health care in Maryland. Registration is now open. Questions? Contact Kathy Gotwalt at 410-379-6200 or kgotwalt@mhaonline.org .
CareFirst Issues RFP for Opioid Treatment
In response to the region's opioid crisis, CareFirst plans to award $1.5 million over two years to programs increasing access to substance use disorder services - including efforts to combat opioid addiction. CareFirst has issued a request for proposals from qualified 501(c)3 organizations and/or public (governmental) health entities seeking funding for programs to catalyze the expansion of access to outpatient treatment services and care coordination for individuals facing substance use disorders. Proposals must be submitted online and completed no later than 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May 11, 2018. Additional information will be available during a pre-application webinar on Monday, April 16. While CareFirst is accepting applications that address substance use disorders across the continuum of care, preference will be given to those programs increasing access to outpatient care with medication-assisted treatment.
Next Week Will Highlight Advance Care Planning
This year, National Healthcare Decisions Day will be a weeklong event from April 16-22. This national effort aims to help people understand the value of advance health care planning - something hospitals do every day. The goal is to have every hospital, community center, nursing home, newspaper, church and others help the public better understand advance directives and health care decisions to demystify the topic and increase the number of people who have a directive. Visit www.nhdd.org for suggested activities, free materials and resources including sample tweets, public service announcements, sample op-eds, posters and graphics.
National Hospital Week Kicks Off in May
National Hospital Week (May 6-12) is an excellent opportunity to spotlight the work that you do and the dedication and compassion of everyone involved with your hospitals. The American Hospital Association will soon begin a "countdown to National Hospital Week" offering highlights from each state on every day leading up to May 6. If you have any stories you would like to share for promotion, send them to Samantha Dean at sdean@aha.org . You can also find resources to help you prepare on the 2018 National Hospital Week website , including:  
  • Product Catalog: includes gifts, awards and promotions to help you make this year a special celebration and thank everyone for their contributions; many items can be personalized with your facility name
  • 2018 National Hospital Week Logo
  • Sample National Hospital Week posters
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Higher E.I.
 
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Company Recalls Injectable
Pain Relievers
 
Premier Pharmacy Labs has voluntarily recalled several lots of injectable drug products, primarily opioid pain relievers, due to possible microbial contamination, the Food and Drug Administration announced this week.

THE WEEK AHEAD
Tuesday, April 17
MHA Medicare Performance Adjustment Work Group meeting
MHA Council on Financial Policy meeting
TOP NEWS FROM THE WEEK
Delmarva Now , By Susan Parker, April 6
 
The Baltimore Sun , By Erin Cox, et al., April 9
 
The Daily Record , By Steve Lash, April 9
 
Maryland Matters , By Samuel Manas, April 11
 
ABC2 News , April 10
 
Anne Arundel Patch , April 10
 
WBAL TV , By Kai Reed, April 11
 
The Baltimore Sun , By Andrea K. McDaniels, April 12