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January 19, 2020
Hospitals on Front Lines of Human Trafficking Crisis
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Fact: victims of human trafficking are seen in our hospitals and other sites of care every day .

Your caregivers are on the front lines of this crisis. Studies show with certainty that survivors of trafficking are likely to have contact with the health care system during their abuse. One study found 88% of trafficked women and adolescents saw a physician during their exploitation. Sadly, none were identified as victims of human trafficking by the providers they encountered.

We hope to change this pattern by giving our caregivers the tools they need.

A bill introduced in Annapolis last year would have mandated that hospitals adopt protocols for human trafficking. Our hospitals felt a prescriptive approach was not warranted. So, MHA joined with Maryland’s Human Trafficking Task Force , the University of Maryland Safe Center For Human Trafficking Survivors , and forensic nurse examiners and child abuse experts from your hospitals to produce the first update to the state’s human trafficking guidelines since they were released in 2015.

As human trafficking becomes better understood as a public health issue, more resources and best practices are being applied to aid public health response. Some of these tools are included in the guide and on MHA’s website. Go there to find a list of resources from credible local, state and national organizations  to help in your efforts.

The guidelines, released today, focus on caring for survivors in a trauma-informed manner, following the SIRV framework—Serve, Identify, Respond and eValuate. They offer a step-by-step guide to equip your people to meet the needs of survivors, deliver care, and to support and empower these patients.

Aligned with the Joint Commission’s directive that all hospital staff know how to identify victims of human trafficking, the guidelines explain when to involve law enforcement and what resources are available.
It’s a matter of when—not if—you’ll encounter a victim of human trafficking.

Together, we can help to lessen the terrible impact in Maryland. And perhaps, in time, we can help eliminate human trafficking altogether.
Bob Atlas
President & CEO
MHA president & CEO Bob Atlas and Jonathan Ringo, M.D., president & CEO of Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, are interviewed for the Baltimore Positive podcast at MHA's legislative breakfast.
Help Your Hospitals Tell Their Story of #Caring4Md
At MHA’s fist legislative breakfast, held last week in Annapolis, leaders and frontline caregivers in your hospitals, were interviewed for podcasts, filmed and photographed as part of our Caring For Maryland campaign. They weighed in on the challenges you face, related to workforce and behavioral health, and the important role your hospitals have in your communities. Most importantly, they were asked how they care for Maryland. We’ll be rolling out those images and videos on social media—and in podcasts—and sharing them with you to share on your social channels.

Maryland Matters also published an opinion piece from MHA President & CEO in which he shares how Maryland’s hospitals are getting it right and reinforces your mission of care. We invite you to share the op-ed and these accompanying graphics and the hashtag #Caring4Md. Look for updates from the campaign at caring4md.org .
Webinar to Present Final Evaluation of Maryland All-Payer Model
The CMS Innovation Center and RTI International will present the final results of the independent evaluation of the Maryland All-Payer Model in a webinar January 23 at 9 a.m. During the webinar, participants will learn how Maryland performed on the goals of the model in its agreement with CMMI, the impact of the model on payers, as well as hospitals and the patients they serve, and future goals of the Maryland Total Cost of Care Model. To register for the webinar, click here .
Performance Measurement Workgroup Update
At the Health Services Cost Review Commission’s (HSCRC) Performance Measurement Workgroup meeting January 15, HSCRC staff reviewed the draft Readmissions Reduction Incentive Program (RRIP) and said they are working with Mathematica (MPR) to validate the proposed inclusion of oncology patients. Staff also shared an update to the proposed disparity measure of the RRIP policy, sharing that MPR has finished validation of the measure and they are still seeking feedback from the Maryland Office of Minority Health. The draft RRIP policy will be presented at the February commission meeting.

HSCRC staff reviewed the Potentially Avoidable Utilization (PAU) program, noting that the Agency for Healthcare Re search and Quality (AHRQ) Risk Adjustment program for Prevention Quality Indicators (PQIs) and Pediatric Quality Indicators (PDIs) would be adapted to be used to produce hospital-level risk adjusted results, and these results would be based on the population attributed to a hospital . Staff reviewed 2019 PAU savings performance and the readmissions performance competent, noting the proposed change in methodology to base the readmissions performance on the “sending” hospital’s intrahospital average readmission charge. Staff will release additional hospital-specific methodology and modeling.

Staff reviewed stakeholder feedback on suggested measures and topics to be considered for the hospital quality and care transformation across the system goals in the Statewide Integrated Health Improvement Strategy (SIHIS) and asked that members continue to provide suggestions for consideration.

HSCRC staff reviewed the revised final recommendations of the Maryland Hospital Acquired Conditions (MHAC) program. Originally, staff proposed that hospitals be measured on at least six potentially preventable conditions (PPCs) to be included in the payment program. Staff revised the recommendation to not exclude smaller hospitals on number of PPC measure categories. Instead, smaller hospitals must have 20,000 at-risk discharges and/or 20 expected PPCs across all payment program measures—using two years of data. The final recommendations will be presented at the February commission meeting.

The materials from the January 15 meeting are here . For questions or additional information, contact Brian Sims .
Annapolis Update
This week, the Maryland General Assembly held several briefings regarding issues of interest to legislators. The House Health & Government Operations Committee held briefings on the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, the Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program, and hospital financial assistance policies . With the bill request guarantee date on Friday, it is expected that numerous bills will be officially introduced in the coming weeks. On Wednesday, Gov. Larry Hogan released his proposed fiscal year 2021 budget, which included a $15 million reduction in the Medicaid Deficit Assessment, additional funding for Maryland’s Loan Assistance and Repayment Program for physicians and physicians assistants, and $6.6 million for MHA’s Capital Bond Program. The Maryland General Assembly will now begin its work on the state budget. For more information on the bills MHA is tracking, please click here .
MHA’s 2020 Legislative Breakfast
On Thursday, MHA held its first Legislative Breakfast in Annapolis . More than 50 hospital executives and government affairs leads attended to hear a detailed preview of the 2020 legislative session and an analysis of Gov. Larry Hogan’s fiscal year 2021 budget. Senate President Bill Ferguson, Senate Budget & Taxation Committee Chairman Guy Guzzone, Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Chairman Will Smith, Senate Finance Committee Vice Chairman Brian Feldman, House Majority Leader Eric Luedtke, and House Health & Government Operations Committee Chair Shane Pendergrass provided remarks to conclude the breakfast. Baltimore Positive and A Miner Detail were also on hand to interview health care leaders from across the state about the great work hospitals are doing in their communities as part of MHA’s Caring for Maryland campaign.
AHA Survey on Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
The American Hospital Association’s Institute for Diversity and Health Equity encourages all hospitals to complete its 2019 Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Survey. The survey is designed to inform the field about its ongoing efforts to address health equity, diversity and inclusion. Aggregate findings from the survey will be shared in various forms, including whitepapers, presentations and educational forums. Hospital and health system CEOs whose organizations have not yet completed the survey received a reminder on Jan. 10. Please complete the survey by the extended deadline Feb. 14.

For more information, contact AHA survey support at surveysupport@aha.org or 800-530-9092.
Now Available: Using Telehealth in School Health Services Webinar Series
A three-part webinar series presented by the Maryland Health Care Commission in collaboration with the Maryland Association of School Health Nurses is now available on-demand. Hear from local and national leaders implementing school-based telehealth. For more information,  click here .

This series is approved by the Maryland Nurses Association. Nurses can receive one (1) continuing education contact hour for each session attended through November 30, 2020 for a maximum of three (3) continuing education contact hours.

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