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June 20, 2020
Our Commitment to Racial Equity
Two weeks ago I shared that we can and must do better as a field to address racism as a public health crisis. As you and your associates demonstrated during the recent White Coats for Black Lives tributes and in your celebrations of Juneteenth yesterday, it is not enough to denounce hateful behavior and systemic racism—we must act.

This week, MHA’s Executive Committee of the Board prioritized this shared goal and adopted, unanimously, MHA’s Commitment to Racial Equity .

This statement is both an affirmation of good work already underway and a call to more intensive, immediate action to make a real difference in our state. MHA commits to engage in advocacy, research, and two-way learning—all aimed at breaking down barriers to racial health equity.

Each member organization also is asked to weave racial equity into the core fabric of your organizations. The commitment asks your hospitals and health systems to teach leaders and all team members how to understand and to speak about race—advancing these conversations and equipping everyone to dismantle implicit bias and practice culturally competent care.

Executive Committee members hope this document reflects work you are doing already. They also hope you will assess, reenergize, and resolve to do more.

As the committee made clear, we are called on not only to act, but also to hold ourselves accountable by measuring our progress all along the way.

We recognize that to make deep and lasting changes will take time. That’s why we cannot delay. Even in the midst of the pandemic, we have to move.

Thank you for doing your part as Maryland hospitals join hands with one another and with so many others in the march to health equity.
Bob Atlas
President & CEO
Reporting PPE Price Gouging
Maryland's anti–price gouging statute and the Governor’s March 23 executive order prohibit a seller from raising the price of certain goods or services if a seller’s profit increases by more than 10%. This order is in effect for the duration of the declared state of emergency and the catastrophic health emergency. Members are encouraged to report price gouging to state and federal authorities. State complaints can be filed online or by emailing Bill Gruhn , chief of the Consumer Protection Division for the Maryland Office of the Attorney General. Federal complaints should be directed to the National Center for Disaster Fraud through the hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or the online form
Rise of Unemployment Benefits Fraud, Identity Theft
There has been an increase in false unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. This complicated type of fraud can involve identity theft. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a large-scale scheme is currently under investigation. Affected individuals usually learn they’ve been targeted only after receiving a notice from the state or their employer. By then, unemployment benefits have been diverted to the criminal’s account. FTC is encouraging employers to alert their workforce and monitor all state notices received regarding the awarding of benefits to current employees. Members can contact the Office of the Inspector General to file a report and the FTC in cases of identity theft. Members are also encouraged to report any causes of fraud to the Maryland Department of Labor by calling the fraud hotline at the 1-800-492-6804 or emailing ui.fraud@maryland.gov
Hospital Bond Program Applications Due July 2
The deadline to submit applications for the 2020 MHA Hospital Bond Program is Friday, July 2. Application forms and supporting documentation are available on MHA's SharePoint site . Completed applications must be submitted via the hospital-specific SharePoint site. For questions, please contact Brett McCone Jennifer Witten , or  Jane Krienke .
Maryland Health Care Commission Discusses State Health Plan Chapter Development
During the 2019 legislative session MHA advocated for statutory changes to the Certificate of Need process. Chapter 415 requires the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) to annually discuss the development of the state health plan and assess what chapters to review. Staff presented plans June 18 for the chapters to be updated in the upcoming fiscal year.

MHCC identified the chapters for psychiatric services and general hospital services in the state health plan to be updated by the end of the fiscal year. Commission staff plans to publish the updated psychiatric services chapter for informal review and comment in late July early August. The chapter would be presented to MHCC in September and adopted as proposed regulations after which it will move to formal review and comment. Commission staff presented a plan for the updates to the general hospital services chapter to focus on aligning with the Model and fully integrating the Health Services Cost Review Commission into the review of hospital capital projects. MHCC plans to convene a work group in September to begin that chapter update. MHA will continue to update hospital members on the formation of that work group. The presentation can be found  here . For more information contact Erin Dorrien .
Maryland Health Benefit Exchange holds Reinsurance Update Presentation 
The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE) held its annual reinsurance update presentation Wednesday. MHBE staff presented on the proposed reinsurance parameters for 2021, including contemplation of a new, hybrid approach that blends review of both high cost claims and high-risk enrollees to distribute reinsurance payments among insurers participating in the exchange. As part of the reinsurance program, insurers must submit accountability reports outlining their care management efforts for enrollees with specific conditions, including those with asthma, diabetes, and behavioral health conditions. MHA shared with MHBE staff that measurement of insurer care management efforts efficacy should be objective and transparent, and align with the goals of the Total Cost of Care Model. MHA will continue to monitor developments with the MHBE reinsurance program. For more information, contact Maansi Raswant
Optum Administrative Services Organization (ASO) Platform
Re-initiation for Public Behavioral Health System (PBHS)
Since January, Optum has been serving as the ASO administering Maryland’s PBHS benefits. Optum’s roll-out has encountered difficulties. MHA has been actively engaged with both Optum and the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to resolve issues with Optum’s Incedo system, participating in frequent meetings with Optum leadership on major concerns and facilitating targeted system testing with members.

Due to claims processing issues with Incedo, estimated payments for providers were distributed starting in February. These estimated payments are currently ongoing but will end upon reactivation of the Incedo system, which is set to occur in the coming weeks. Additionally, per a recently released Provider Alert , Optum will begin a process to prepare providers for reconciliation of the estimated payments received, though no dates have been set for when the actual reconciliation process —  including payback —w ill begin. MHA is in discussions with Optum regarding the feasibility of their projected steps, advocating for thoughtful transition to the reactivated Incedo system, and slow roll-out of the reconciliation process, so there is minimal disruption to hospital operations and care delivery. For additional information, contact Diana Hsu
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