January 6, 2017
Gearing Up for Session
In less than a week, the Maryland General Assembly will convene for its 437 th session, where 47 Senators and 141 Delegates will draft, debate, revise, and pass laws to improve the lives of the 6 million Marylanders they represent.
 
Where hospitals are concerned, 2017 is expected to be a complicated and hard-fought legislative session. And as they do every year, your MHA Executive Committee supported a small set of core legislative priorities that will be front and center throughout the 90-day session:  
Of course our advocacy efforts will expand beyond these three. We'll fight efforts to question the tax-exempt status of Maryland's hospitals, work to modernize physician self-referral laws so that hospitals and doctors can collaborate more closely, fight for more funding for Maryland's three Institutions for Mental Disease, and advocate for a sensible plan that addresses concerns about a shortage of nurses qualified to perform sexual assault forensic exams ... among many others. (Additional advocacy materials, like the 2017 Legislative Agenda, key infographics, and single-page issue papers, are available here.)
 
This work doesn't even begin to touch the state's legislative response to any actions taken by an incoming Trump administration that will impact Medicaid funding and the future of Maryland's All-Payer Model.
 
In short, the next three months will see a flurry of activity with the potential to fundamentally change how health care is paid for and delivered in Maryland. To help keep track of all this work, keep an eye out for the weekly Advocacy Dashboard on our website, which will provide the most up-to-date status on legislation that has been introduced. 
 
As always, MHA will work closely with your staffs in Annapolis to be your voice before legislators, committees, the Senate and House of Delegates. We will make sure that hospitals are heard as lawmakers make decisions that affect your ability to meet your mission of care. And, as always, MHA stands ready to assist you during session. To contact our government relations team, email Jane Krienke at jkrienke@mhaonline.org.

Advocacy Dashboard Offers Legislative Updates
As the General Assembly gets under way next week, MHA will again provide a weekly advocacy dashboard to track pertinent legislation introduced during the 2017 session. The dashboard will include a synopsis of each bill, MHA's position, a link to a position paper (if available), upcoming hearing dates and ultimately, whether the bill passed or failed. Keep an eye out for the dashboard to help you stay informed about what's happening in Annapolis.
General Assembly Sees Committee Changes
As the 2017 legislative session begins next week, many committees will be composed of different lawmakers. Senator Delores G. Kelley will be the new Vice-Chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, Senator James C. Rosapepe is moving to the Finance Committee, newly appointed Senator William C. Smith, Jr. will serve on the Judicial Proceedings Committee, and newly appointed Senator Barbara Robinson will be on the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. An announcement is expected soon on changes in House of Delegates committees. 
Van Hollen, Brown, Raskin Sworn in to 115th Congress
Chris Van Hollen was sworn in Tuesday as Maryland's new U.S. senator. Van Hollen won the seat after Barbara Mikulski retired having served 30 years in the Senate. Van Hollen served seven terms in the House. Maryland also swore in two new House members on Tuesday: Anthony Brown and Jamie Raskin. Brown, a Democrat, was lieutenant governor from 2007 to 2015. He represents Maryland's 4th Congressional District. Raskin, a Democrat, is a former state senator from Montgomery County. Raskin represents Maryland's 8th Congressional District.
HSCRC Chairman Sabatini's Son Dies
Health Services Cost Review Commission Nelson Sabatini lost his son last week. Expressions of sympathy can be sent to Nelson and his wife Marilyn at 343 Hobron Lane, #3303, Honolulu, HI 96815.  Nelson is not accepting phone calls at this time. The HSCRC has cancelled January's meeting.
State Submits Model Progression Plan 
Governor Larry Hogan submitted the All-Payer Model Progression Plan to the federal government on December 21, as required under the terms of Maryland's All-Payer Model agreement. The submission followed a two-week public-comment period. MHA will keep members updated as a timeline is finalized for negotiations with the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation regarding the next phase of the model.
MHA Submits Multiple Comment Letters
Over the past couple of weeks, MHA has submitted three comment letters to hospital regulators:
Final HSCRC Webinar on All-Payer Model Is Jan. 13
The final in a series of seven webinars with HSCRC staff on the amendment to the All-Payer Model and on care redesign programs is Friday, January 13 at 9 a.m. The topic for the webinar is Care Partner Agreements.
 
The amendment to the All-Payer Model:
  • Gives hospitals and their care partners access to comprehensive Medicare data across the care continuum that supports care coordination and a focus on controlling total cost of care
  • Creates the next steps toward total cost of care and delivery system transformation
 
Under the amendment, the first two care redesign programs are:
  • the Complex and Chronic Care Improvement Program (CCIP)
  • the Hospital Care Improvement Program (HCIP)
 
Click here to find the registration link for the final webinar and the recordings of previous webinars.
New Year's Resolutions Require Leadership
 
Whether personal, professional or organizational, any change in habits or behaviors requires good leadership. Researchers Kouzes and Posner have identified (from tens of thousands of interviews spanning 25 years of research) five exemplary practices that are at the heart and soul of good/great leadership.

Accelerate Collections by Capturing Missing Charges and Lost Revenue
 
Health care providers are facing common challenges - transitioning to ICD-10, managing the risk of new reimbursement models, improving net revenue, reducing days in accounts receivable, increasing efficiency, and managing complex contracts.

CMS Issues Sub-Regulatory Guidance on Implementation of Site-Neutral Payment Policy
 
In recent weeks, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released two important documents that further clarify the agency's site-neutral payment policy for certain off-campus provider-based departments of a hospital.

THE WEEK AHEAD
Tuesday, January 10
MHA Executive Committee conference call

Wednesday, January 11
437th Session of Maryland General Assembly begins

Thursday, January 12
MHA Financial Technical Work Group meeting
TOP NEWS FROM THE WEEK
Capital Gazette, By Meredith Newman, December 30
 
Southern Maryland News Net, January 2
 
The Baltimore Sun, By Alison Knezevich, January 3
 
My Eastern Shore MD, January 3
 
The Baltimore Sun, By Erin Cox and Michel Dresser, January 5
 
The Baltimore Sun, By Doug Miller, January 4