Logo
April 25, 2020
Home of Inventiveness
This public health emergency has challenged all our organizations—and us personally and professionally—in so many ways. Yet, your hospitals and systems are rising to the challenge.

Since the first cases emerged in Maryland, the stories of your inventiveness have been inspiring.

The University of Maryland Medical System reopened its former Laurel hospital to add 135 beds in hard-hit Prince George’s County. LifeBridge Health, Mercy Medical Center, Meritus Health, Atlantic General, and many others created or converted spaces to add to surge capacity.

To help people keep social distancing, you acted quickly to boost your telehealth capabilities, including at Garrett Regional Medical Center, MedStar Health, and at Luminis Health. This helps thousands more patients to get care virtually each day.

Your organizations are leading in testing, too. Johns Hopkins Health System created its own test and Frederick Health scrambled to launch in-house testing of coronavirus samples—drastically reducing wait times for results. UPMC Western Maryland also expanded the use of its system’s own diagnostic test.
Holy Cross Health and Adventist HealthCare, among the first to see high numbers of COVID-19 cases, were early testers of the state’s ability to backstop hospitals on ventilators, PPE, and supports for vulnerable populations.

As attention turns to inventing vaccines and cures for COVID-19, perhaps the solution will come from Maryland. Several of your organizations and affiliates are conducting promising research.

Likewise, Maryland, with its recent payload of testing kits from South Korea and a steady, reasoned approach to the complicated nature of COVID-19, stands out nationally. That would not be possible without the incredible work your hospitals do.

Your people are living proof that necessity is, indeed, the mother of invention. The whole MHA team is in awe of your dedication and ingenuity.
Bob Atlas
President & CEO
State Establishes Hotline to Request Ventilators
Following recommendations from MHA, the state agreed to deploy any newly acquired ventilators to current and anticipated hotspots based on latest modeling and hospitals’ stated needs. Within the last week more than 400 ventilators were distributed to hospitals. The state will store up to 10% of newly acquired ventilators to respond to surge demand. Hospitals that reach 85% of their vent capacity can request a ventilator through a newly established MEMA hotline—1-833-596-0859. Hospitals requesting ventilators should simultaneously seek to divert admissions or transfer patients to other facilities. For questions, contact Nicole Stallings .
Battelle Releases Direct Link to Request Decontamination Services
The nonprofit Battelle is offering a direct link for hospitals to register for its service to decontaminate compatible N95 or N95-equivalent respirators for use by health care workers— available here . Battelle transformed its decontaminating technology to decontaminate compatible PPE. Additional resources and information are available here:


For more information or questions, contact Craig Savageau .
FAQ Document for Daily MIEMSS/CRISP Survey
MIEMSS, CRISP, and MHA partnered to create an FAQ document on the daily MIEMSS/CRISP survey questions (available with an MHA website login , for assistance contact mha@mhaonline.org ). The FAQ addresses questions on bed definitions and COVID-19 positive patient reporting, as well as technical data submission questions. For questions, contact Katie Eckert .
HHS Launches Telehealth Resource Site
HHS has launched a Telehealth site to provide guidance to patients and providers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The HHS Telehealth site’s patient page includes telehealth definitions, policies, and tips on navigating telehealth options. The provider page includes recommendations on integrating telehealth into practice, updates on COVID-19-related policy changes, and assistance on shifting processes to accommodate telehealth appointments.
Annapolis Updates
House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson announced that the Maryland General Assembly will not convene for a special session in May as originally planned. However, the presiding officers did leave the door open for a potential special session focused on COVID-19 and budget related matters later this year.

The Joint COVID-19 Legislative Workgroup heard updates from Dr. Mohan Suntha, President & CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System and Dr. Stephen Evans, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs & Chief Medical Officer for MedStar Health regarding hospitals’ efforts and challenges during the pandemic. You can watch the meeting, which was held via Zoom, by clicking here .

The Department of Legislative Services (DLS) published the 2020 Joint Chairmen’s Report , which summarizes final budget actions taken by the Maryland General Assembly for the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget. MHA is compiling a list of mandated issue reports that were passed as part of the state’s budget and will be determining advocacy opportunities accordingly. DLS also released the 2020 Major Issues Report , which summarizes the major policy actions taken by the Maryland General Assembly during the 2020 session.

MHA Contact: Brian Frazee
MHA Convenes Medical Liability Work Group
MHA convened the Medical Liability Work Group Thursday to discuss COVID-related medical liability considerations. The work group discussed opportunities to expand immunity protections under a declared public health emergency and the potential impact of COVID-19 on the hospital reinsurance market. The Legislative Strategy Group will meet this week for a working session to outline the field’s advocacy efforts.

MHA Contact: Nicole Stallings or Brian Frazee
Deadline for MHA’s Hospital Bond Program Extended
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline to apply for state capital funding under MHA’s Hospital Bond Program has been extended by a month. Applications will be accepted from April 24 to July 2. Application documents and resources, including the scoring and selection guidelines, are available on  MHA’s SharePoint site . Funding for projects recommended as a result of this year’s process become available June 1, 2021. MHA hosted a webinar last week to review key changes for this year’s application cycle. A link to the webinar recording is available on the MHA website . To begin the application process, please contact Jane Krienke, jkrienke@mhaonline.org or (410) 540-5061, with your primary contact’s information to gain access to a member-specific site.
Compassion Tribe Releases New Videos to Support Health Care Workers
The Maryland Healthcare Education Institute and the Healthcare Experience Foundation (HXF) have teamed up to launch a compassion tribe for health system leaders, staff, physicians, and providers. The goal is to create a forum for support, encouragement, and problem solving during this public health emergency.
 
tribe information, including dates and times can be found here . A video library focused on managing, working, and leading through crisis also is available, and new videos have been added. Access the full video library here .
MHA to Host Call on COVID-19 Telehealth Billing, Payer Reimbursement Issues
On April 29, MHA will host a statewide call to discuss recent telehealth reimbursement policy guidance issued by a number of payers. The call is intended to identify opportunities, challenges and next steps to support billing and reimbursement for services rendered via telehealth. If you are interested in participating but have not received an invitation or have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Diana Hsu .
Want to receive your Toward Better Health
newsletter via text message?
Click here to sign up.
Maryland Hospital Association | www.mhaonline.org