September 1, 2017
All in a Life's Work

This holiday weekend, as families try to squeeze in a few last beach days or host backyard barbecues before fall arrives, thousands of Maryland's health care professionals will be at their hospital posts throughout the state.


Their jobs are not 9-5. Take a look at Texas. All along the Gulf Coast and surrounding areas, hospital workers are among the tens of thousands of first responders not only forgoing even an inkling of vacation time with family, but also risking their own safety in the service of others.


Service to others. That's what it means to work at a hospital - from the front-line nurses and doctors to maintenance staff to accountants to the C-suite. All of their unique expertise, everything they do each day, supports just one goal: helping people.


In Maryland, hospitals employ more than 100,000 people, collectively making them one of the largest private-sector employers in the state.


And on this Labor Day weekend, a holiday dedicated to the achievements of American workers, I can think of none more deserving of recognition than those who choose to work in hospitals. The contributions hospital workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country are boundless.


For that, the women and men who keep Maryland's hospitals at the ready 24-7, 365 days a year, deserve our deepest appreciation and admiration.


And we'll keep those in Texas at the forefront of our thoughts this weekend. If you would like to help your colleagues affected by the flood, visit

MIA Approves Increases in Insurance Rates
The Maryland Insurance Administration this week announced higher premium rates for both small group and individual health insurance plans for coverage beginning January 1. For the small group market, which covers 257,000 Marylanders, health insurance rates will increase an average of 1.7 percent compared to a request of 4.2 percent. For the individual market, which covers about 243,000 Marylanders, the average increase is 33 percent compared to a request of 43.1 percent. In June, MHA submitted a comment letter to the insurance administration as it was considering the requests. The letter noted inaccurate hospital spending and utilization trends in the filed requests, the lack of recognition of $230 million provided to insurers through actions taken by the Health Services Cost Review Commission, and a failure to demonstrate a commitment to maintain and improve the individual market. The departure of Cigna and Evergreen's financial troubles mean two carriers are left in the individual market: CareFirst and Kaiser.
Contact: Maansi Raswant
HSCRC Provides Updates on Care Redesign Tracks
In a letter sent to all hospitals this week, the Health Services Cost Review Commission provided an update on care redesign efforts. In the first performance period, 10 hospitals are participating in the Hospital Care Improvement Program and six hospitals are participating in the Complex and Chronic Care Improvement Program. The HSCRC is working on revisions to the care redesign participation agreement and would like additional hospitals to participate in the second performance period, which begins in January. The deadline to submit non-binding letters of intent for the second performance period is September 8; care partner vetting lists are due September 15. In addition, the HSCRC is developing a third care redesign track to support patient transitions from hospitals back into their communities (MHA will convene members interested in providing input on this new program). This track is expected to become operational in summer 2018. For more information on the care redesign programs, click here.
Contact: Nicole Stallings
MHCC Offers Telehealth Webinar
The Maryland Health Care Commission is offering a virtual learning session on consumer awareness and engagement with telehealth from noon to 1 p.m. on September 26. Presenters include: Tracy Carroll, Director of Operations, Lorien at Home; Jim Hummer, VP of Home & Community Based Services, Lorien Health Systems; Seth Eaton, M.D., Medical Director, MedPeds; Tiffany Blount, Clinical Data Manager, MedPeds; and Janet Gerber-Salins, Practice, MedPeds. The webinar is intended for clinical professionals looking to understand how telehealth can benefit an organization and administrative staff wanting to refine their approach to consumer awareness building. The deadline to register is September 19. If you have any questions, contact Christine Karayinopulos at or by phone at 410-764-3444. 
Fund Established to Help Texas Hospital Workers
The Texas Hospital Association has established the THA Hospital Employee Assistance Fund to help hospital employees who experienced significant property loss or damage because of Hurricane Harvey. All funds will be used to directly assist hospital employees in Federal Emergency Management Agency-designated disaster areas; administrative services are being provided in kind so that 100 percent of donated funds will be used to assist hospital employees. The Maryland Hospital Association has made a contribution to assist with the fund. For more information or to make a donation, visit addition, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has suspended statutes and rules to allow health care providers employed by a hospital and licensed and in good standing in another state to practice in Texas in order to assist with the Harvey disaster response operations. For details, click here.

Leadership Is a Team Sport

At this year's Annual Leadership Health Care Conference, we are fortunate to welcome General Stan McChrystal as our keynote speaker. Our hopes are that your immediate thought was: "I bet I can learn a lot about leadership from a four-star wartime general."

Physician Survey Available to Prime Members

It's that time of year again. Now in its 24th year, the most comprehensive report on physician recruiting incentives in the field - Merritt Hawkins' annual Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives - is available for Prime members. 

AHA Suggests Actions to Reduce Regulatory Burden

In a letter this week to the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, AHA laid out actions that Congress could take to immediately reduce the regulatory burden on hospitals, health systems and the patients they serve.

Monday, September 4

Thursday, September 7
- Equity of Care meeting
The Baltimore Sun, By John Fritze and Meredith Cohn, August 27
Kaiser Health News, By Barbara Sadick, August 28
Modern Healthcare, By Virgil Dickson, August 26
Modern Healthcare, By Steven Ross Johnson, August 28
The Baltimore Sun, By Meredith Cohn, August 29
Modern Healthcare, By Shelby Livingston, August 29