May 23, 2020
Maryland Unites
It’s been roughly two months since Gov. Larry Hogan issued a stay-at-home order to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our state.

In that time, we at MHA, and all of Maryland, have been inspired by your teams every day. The dedicated people at hospitals answered the call quickly and with full force. Those efforts have saved many lives.

We know your caregivers would say they are just doing their jobs. Yet it is gratifying to see the goodwill your hospitals have won. Local restaurants are donating food, neighbors are posting signs praising your health care heroes, and fellow first responders are blaring sirens in solidarity. State and federal leaders have publicly praised your hospitals and thanked them for getting us through this crisis.

To continue to showcase Maryland’s support for your hospitals, we released this video earlier this week on social media. I hope you’ll have a chance over the holiday weekend to take some time to reflect on all you’ve accomplished.
Bob Atlas
President & CEO
Checklist to Onboard Health Care Providers
During a pandemic or other emergency, health care facilities can face significant challenges to quickly onboard additional health care providers when hospital admissions and ICU occupancy increase rapidly. This onboarding checklist can ensure new employees are compliant with administrative requirements, familiar with the mission and culture of the hospital, and understand expectations.
MHA Comments on Rate Year 2021 Annual Update
MHA sent a comment letter to the Health Services Cost Review Commission Thursday about the rate year 2021 annual update. In the letter, MHA supports the need for affordable health care but strongly opposes a fixed, annual growth limit using only a gross state product (GSP) standard. The update will be discussed at the Payment Models Work Group meeting May 28 and at HSCRC’s public meeting June 10. For more information, contact Brett McCone .
MHA Supports RVU Revisions in Outpatient Clinic Rate Center
MHA sent a comment letter to the Health Services Cost Review Commission Wednesday in support of proposed relative value unit (RVU) revisions in the outpatient clinic rate center. The proposed changes would flatten the RVU scale and reduce the charge per outpatient clinic visit at the higher end of the scale. HSCRC staff plan to rescind proposed language changes in the HSCRC’s Accounting and Budget Manual. MHA, in its letter, states that Maryland hospitals support these recommendations. For more information, contact Brett McCone .
Providers Must Act by June 3 to Receive Additional Relief Fund General Distribution Payment
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is reminding eligible providers that they have until June 3 to accept the terms and conditions and submit their revenue information to support receiving an additional payment from the Provider Relief Fund $50 billion General Distribution. All providers that automatically received an additional General Distribution payment prior to April 24, must provide HHS with an accounting of their annual revenues by submitting tax forms or financial statements. These providers must also agree to the program terms and conditions if they wish to keep the funds. Providers with cases pending before the department for adjudication with regard to eligibility for general distribution funding will not be impacted by this closure. All cases needing individual adjudication will need to be received by HHS by June 3.
Maternal Health During COVID-19 Webinar Series
The Maryland Maternal Health Innovation Program (MDMOM) will be hosting a monthly webinar series focused on caring for pregnant and postpartum women during the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinars will be held from 12:00 to 1:00 PM on the last Wednesday of the month. The first webinar, “Management Considerations for Pregnant Patients with COVID-19” is scheduled for May 27. Registration for the webinar is available here
Annapolis Update
DLS Publishes “71-Day Report”: Last week, the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) released its “71-Day Report.” Traditionally a “90-Day Report,” this document details issues that were addressed during the 2020 legislative session. You can find the report by clicking here.

FY 2020 Budget Cuts : On Wednesday, the Board of Public Works approved $120 million of cuts for Fiscal Year 2020 due to the state’s COVID-19 economic downturn. Most of those budget cuts came from funding that was not yet spent. The Board is expected to make additional and more substantial budget cuts for Fiscal Year 2021 in the near future. The Board of Revenue Estimates is expecting an over $2 billion budget shortfall for Fiscal Year 2021. The Maryland General Assembly’s budget committees held a briefing on the state’s budget and economic forecast on Thursday.

Maryland Insurance Administration Briefing : On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee held a briefing with the new Maryland Insurance Commissioner and Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) staff to understand MIA’s response to COVID-19. MIA staff noted several discussions with MHA and cited the letter that MHA submitted to MIA as they explained the agency’s position on health insurer practices during the pandemic. Overall, MIA expressed support of insurer decisions to address hospital and health care provider concerns. Legislators followed up with questions pressing the agency on action related to utilization management, telehealth coverage, and insurer savings. MHA will continue to advocate for removal of payer-related barriers as hospitals focus on care delivery during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
MHA Submits Letter to HSCRC on Episode Quality Improvement Program Response for Information
MHA submitted a response to the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) on the Episode Quality Improvement Program (EQIP) Response for Information . Currently under development, EQIP is a new Care Redesign Program meant to allow non-hospital entities to assume responsibility for the cost of quality for certain outpatient-triggered clinical episodes in the categories of cardiology, gastroenterology, orthopedics, and the emergency department. While the current program launch date is July 1, 2021, this date is subject to further delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. HSCRC began a stakeholder meeting process on EQIP earlier this year; this process is currently on pause, and will resume sometime over the summer. 

For questions please contact Maansi Raswant
Mental Health First Aid in Health Care
May is National Mental Health Month. The American Society for Health Care Human Resources Administration is offering a free webinar May 26 so participants can explore how the trauma of this pandemic is affecting our health care workforce and what supports are available. Understand the basics of trauma, how to recognize signs and symptoms of common mental health concerns, and how to access appropriate support. 
Theater As a Path to Healing and Hope
Body copy: Health care workers are invited to join a Zoom webinar May 24 at 7 p.m., featuring dramatic readings of ancient Greek plays, by celebrity actors Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Zombieland); Frances McDormand (Fargo, Almost Famous); Frankie Faison (The Wire, The Good Wife); and David Strathairn (The Bourne Ultimatum, Lincoln). Following the readings, panelists of health care workers from Johns Hopkins Medicine will discuss how the content of the plays resonated, in light of their experiences providing care during the pandemic. By presenting these plays and discussion, the two-hour event aims to demonstrate the healing and transformative power of the arts and forge connections, resilience and positive action within the health care community. The event is sponsored by the Johns Hopkins University Program in Arts, Humanities and Health; the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics; and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

Register for the free event at towfrontline.eventbrite.com (password: frontline).
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