August 11, 2017
In Transition
Whenever MHA's membership elects a new chair to the Executive Committee, we try as soon as we can to make schedules meet so that MHA's staff can have some time with that new leader. So, we were all very pleased to welcome Mary Pat Seurkamp to MHA's offices for a lunch with the staff earlier this week.
 
Mary Pat began her three-year tenure as chair July 1 and brings a wealth of executive experience and a calm, steady hand during challenging yet very interesting times. So there of course was a lot to talk about, from the all payer model to the coming transition to a new MHA President & CEO. But mostly what we talked about was Mary Pat as a person and as a leader, and about the work that MHA's staff is doing and the collegiality with which they do it.
 
Mary Pat's current position as President Emerita of Notre Dame of Maryland University is just the latest in a long line of education leadership positions throughout her career, and it was very interesting to hear her draw so many parallels between health care leadership and education leadership. The fields deal with so many similar challenges, from regulation and politics to executive compensation. And we learned a lot about her family life, rich with children and grandchildren.
 
Mary Pat also briefed the staff on the search committee's nascent work to choose a search firm that will guide the effort to make sure MHA's next President & CEO is the right leader for the association's members and staff. She was clear that the search committee expects that the new person will not only have the health policy chops to help Maryland's hospitals thrive, but also an appreciation for MHA's workplace culture, which has been meeting the needs of our members for many years.
 
MHA has been fortunate to have had a long line of solid leaders chair the Executive Committee. Mary Pat made clear to MHA's staff that that tradition continues in good, caring, capable hands. 

Overdoses Killed 550 in First Quarter
The Maryland Department of Health has released a report on fatal overdose data which shows that over 550 overdose-related deaths occurred in the first quarter of 2017, including 372 that were fentanyl-related. The new quarterly data show how fentanyl, an additive that is often combined with other opioids, continues to drive the scourge of overdose deaths. Fentanyl and a related additive, carfentanil, are 50 and 100 times more potent than heroin, respectively.
 
On July 1, three initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic went into effect:  
  1. Maryland Medicaid policies are reforming the opioid-prescribing process, in partnership with all eight of Maryland Medicaid's HealthChoice providers. This policy requires prior authorization for all high-dose and long-acting opioids issued to Maryland Medicaid recipients.
  2. Maryland's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) allows providers and pharmacists access to their patients' history of prescribed controlled dangerous substances. Prescribers are required, with some exceptions, to query and review their patient's PDMP data prior to initially prescribing an opioid or benzodiazepine.
  3. Maryland Medicaid began reimbursing for federally funded residential substance use treatment. Maryland was the third state in the nation to be granted a waiver from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to provide these services with federal Medicaid dollars.
CMS Revises Discharge Appeal Notices
On June 7, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted new versions of the Important Message from Medicare form (CMS-R-193) and the Detailed Notice of Discharge form (CMS 10066) on the Hospital Discharge Appeal Notices page of the Beneficiary Notices Initiative website. The associated instructions for use are also available. The new Important Message form incorporates the following language related to discrimination: "For more information, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), or TTY: 1-877-486-2048. CMS does not discriminate in its programs and activities. To request this publication in an alternate format, please call: 1-800-MEDICARE or email: AltFormatRequest@cms.hhs.gov." The Detailed Notice of Discharge form also has new discrimination language, and both forms have new expiration dates. CMS is requiring that the new version of these forms must be in use by August 28, 2017. Questions can be e-mailed to BNImailbox@cms.hhs.gov
AHA Offers MACRA Webinar
The American Hospital Association will host a two-part webinar August 17 and 31 on how one health system is working with clinicians to prepare for the new Medicare payment system for clinicians under the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act. The webinar, featuring leaders from Providence St. Joseph's Health, is the first in a new series on hospitals leading the way in MACRA implementation. Click the following links to register for the August 17 and August 31 events.
Hospitals Invited to Join AHRQ Antibiotics Program
The Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality is seeking hospitals to join a national project to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use while preserving antibiotic effectiveness for future generations. The free 12-month program begins this December and is funded and guided by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Participants will receive antibiotic-use guidelines for several infectious diseases, expert coaching, online education, improvement tools, patient education materials and other resources to help run an effective antibiotic stewardship program. One hour informational webinars to learn about project goals, interventions and expectations of participants are scheduled for August 15 at noon, August 29 at 1 p.m., September 12 at 1 p.m., September 26 at 1 p.m., and October 10 at 1 p.m. Registration is required. Please click each date above to register. Visit the project website for additional information.
Organizational Development Project Impacts Health Disparities
 
The American Hospital Association's Hospitals & Health Networks magazine recently published a piece on how one provider has worked to reduce health disparities through a combination of four different interventions, one of which is educating staff on unconscious health bias.

Reduce Lighting Energy Costs Up to 50 Percent
 
Lighting accounts for 30 to 60 percent of annual electric costs for many facilities, and many new advances in lighting technology can help your organization conserve energy and save money.

AHA's HRET to Host August 24 Webinar on Fostering Hospital-Community Partnerships
 
The AHA's Health Research & Educational Trust August 24 will host a webinar to share strategies and lessons learned for cultivating successful hospital-community partnerships to build a cultural of health. 

TOP NEWS FROM THE WEEK
The Baltimore Sun, By Andrea K. McDaniels, August 4
 
Baltimore Business Journal, By Morgan Eichensehr, August 7
 
The Baltimore Sun, By Michael Brice-Saddler, August 5
 
The Baltimore Sun, By Andrea K. McDaniels, August 1
 
WAMU, By Alison Kodjak, August 8
 
Fox Baltimore, By Joy Lambert, August 5
 
The Baltimore Sun, By Michael Brice-Saddler, August 9