October 27, 2019
Seismic Change in Annapolis
Maryland Senate President Mike Miller’s recent announcement that he will step down from the leadership position he held for 33 years marks a seismic change for the chamber.

Though Miller intends to remain a senator, his absence at the dais will be felt in Annapolis. Our field, in particular, has a true friend in the Senate president. He has been a consistent and vocal advocate for health care and hospitals and a strong supporter of our unique health care payment system.

Miller’s decision to step down also means the 2020 legislative session will be the first in decades with two new leaders holding gavels. Sen. Bill Ferguson of Baltimore—current vice chairman of the Senate Budget & Taxation Committee—earned the unanimous support of Democrats to succeed Miller.

Ferguson will join newly elected House Speaker Adrienne Jones, who succeeded longtime Speaker Mike Busch following his death earlier this year.

MHA has worked well with Speaker Jones and President-elect Ferguson in their previous roles. We look forward to a continued good relationship as we head into what we know will be a consequential session.
With new presiding officers, some changes to committee assignments, including chairs, will be forthcoming. Plus, there are new political dynamics as we head into 2020.

The MHA team is preparing for these changes. We are working in concert with your government relations professionals and other leaders to ensure that the hospital field gets the best possible outcome. 
Bob Atlas
President & CEO
MHA Supports Minor Changes to Rate Year 2022 MPA Policy, Asks for In-Depth Review for Rate Year 2023
MHA asked the Health Services Cost Review Commission that the planned rate year 2023 MPA review include an in-depth assessment of the payment per beneficiary attributed to hospitals. MHA supported the minor changes to the rate year 2022 MPA. For more information, contact Brett McCone .
MHA Supports HSCRC’s Planned Grants to Support Diabetes, Behavioral Health Efforts
MHA sent a comment letter to Tequila Terry , deputy director of the Center for Payment Reform and Provider Alignment, for the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC), Wednesday in support of the HSCRC’s plan to make grant funding available to support partnerships that address diabetes and behavioral health.
MHA’s comments addressed the need for:
  • Flexibility in funding streams
  • Measurement considerations
  • Rolling submission and start date
  • Recognizing legacy partnerships
For more information, contact Traci La Valle .
AHA: Highlight Safety, Quality for 20th Anniversary of To Err Is Human
In November 1999, the Institute of Medicine, which is now the National Academy of Medicine, released its landmark report, To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System. The report, which estimated that as many as 98,000 people died each year in U.S. hospitals because of preventable medical harm, captured the attention of the public, policymakers and the media and was a call to action for hospitals, health systems and other providers of care.
In anticipation of the 20th anniversary of the report's release, media outlets will be revisiting the report and commenting on the progress the field has made on the important issues of quality and patient safety. With this renewed interest, it is critical that your hospital or health system be prepared to respond to questions from the public and the media about what has been done to improve patient safety over the past two decades.
The anniversary is also an opportunity for you to proactively share through your various communications channels and methods, and with the AHA, the many strides your organization has taken to improve safety and the quality of care for patients.
The American Hospital Association member advisory includes talking points and messages to consider when crafting communications and responding to questions. It also includes an action plan, national statistics and a digital toolkit.
For questions or more information, contact Nancy Foster , AHA vice president of quality and patient safety policy, at or (202) 626-2337.
Waiver Allowing Nurse Practitioners to Order Home Health Approved
All Medicare-enrolled nurse practitioners in Maryland will be able to certify home health services for Medicare beneficiaries, under a change approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services . This change originated with a recommendation from the MHA-led Stakeholder Innovation Group, to Health Secretary Robert Neall, in an effort to obtain additional tools and flexibility from CMS to support our goals under the Total Cost of Care Model. This will apply to services the nurse practitioners provide beginning January 1. 
Nurse Leaders Offer Guidance on 2020 Advocacy Plan
About 20 nurse leaders attended a forum hosted by MHA Friday to offer guidance on topics raised in other states that may come to the Maryland General Assembly in future legislative sessions. During the forum, Brian Frazee, MHA’s vice president of government affairs, and Erin Dorrien, MHA’s director of policy, led a discussion on issues of interest to nurses that may be before the Maryland General Assembly during the upcoming 2020 legislative session. For more information, contact Nicole Stallings .
Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program (MEEHP) Holds Second Advisory Work Group Meeting
The MEEHP Advisory Work Group held its second meeting October 23 in Baltimore. Stan Dorn, of Families USA, shared the program’s legislative history, and representatives from the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange offered details on data metrics and measures that will be collected for assessment. Task groups are being established to address:
  • Phase II implementation
  • FAQ, outreach, and education bank
  • Data, analysis, and metrics
The work group is expected to meet again in January. MHA is engaged in this group to ensure programmatic and policy decisions made to implement the program are in line with the field’s priorities around the need for broad-based, affordable coverage. For additional information, contact Diana Hsu .
Update on Maryland Medicaid Behavioral Health System of Care Work Group
The Maryland Medicaid Behavioral Health System of Care Work Group met last Wednesday for the fourth time. The work group continued discussions on the system of care design principles. Medicaid Director Dennis Schrader shared that Medicaid plans to brief the legislature on the progress of the work group later this year. Work group discussions then will start to shift from principles to how potential reforms are effectuated. The group will address the role of the Administrative Services Organization, Managed Care Organizations, and local behavioral health authorities. MHA will continue providing feedback to this group via its Medicaid System of Care task force. For more information, contact Maansi Raswant .
Commission on Mental, Behavioral Health Convenes in Hagerstown
Last week, MHA attended the fourth regional meeting of Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford’s Commission to Study Mental & Behavioral Health in Hagerstown. Rodney Kornrumpf, regional executive director of behavioral health for Union Hospital of Cecil County, provided public comments to the commission regarding efforts to continue addressing Maryland’s behavioral health crisis. MHA continues to be engaged with this commission, and will share updates on its work. For more information, contact Brian Frazee .
Want to receive your Toward Better Health
newsletter via text message?
Click here to sign up.
Maryland Hospital Association | www.mhaonline.org