April 18, 2020
When Will We Reopen?
This week the White House issued guidelines for “Opening Up America Again.” And Governor Hogan announced Maryland “is now in a position to plan the gradual rollout of the state’s recovery phase.” He laid out four building blocks: (1) Expanding testing capacity, (2) Increasing hospital surge capacity, (3) Ramping up supply of PPE, (4) Building a robust contact tracing operation.

I’ve heard from hospital leaders, asking what we in the Maryland hospital field will do to plan for resumption of normal operations. Of particular concern for many is the suspension of elective or non-urgent procedures, which is still required pursuant to an active executive order. Your stories are piling about patients’ conditions worsening due to postponements. And hospitals and physicians are suffering significant income losses. That isn’t sustainable.

On Friday, the American Hospital Association, along with three physician and nursing groups, issued a Roadmap for Resuming Elective Surgery after COVID-19 Pandemic . Very useful.

It’s a challenging subject to take up. COVID-19 caseloads continue to rise, averaging 6-7% daily on a statewide basis. Surge preparations remain intense. The state has finally received a good number of ventilators, which MHA is helping allocate to hospitals most in need. But the distribution of cases is uneven, leaving some hospitals with persistent excess capacity while others fill. Though, some hospitals that have filled report they’re now discharging about the same number of COVID-19 patients as they’re admitting. 

So, provided we all stay dedicated to meeting the expectations that public officials and the people of Maryland have placed on our hospitals, it is time to think about resuming something closer to normal operations. MHA staff are now outlining topics of most interest to hospitals. This coming week, we will ask some hospital leaders to join a work group to frame up an action plan for fieldwide consideration.

Thank you for all you’re doing to make Marylanders healthier, now and always.
Bob Atlas
President & CEO
Resource Available for Physician Staffing
The Maryland Hospital Association (MHA), in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), is looking at innovative ways to ensure your hospitals have the workforce in place to care for the anticipated surge of COVID-19 patients. MHA is expanding its temporary staffing program, Chesapeake Registry Program (Registry), during the COVID-19 outbreak. Registry can find candidates and recruit new groups, including those signed up for the Maryland Responds and Medical Reserve Corps, to supplement your staff. In preparation for surge staffing, we are actively building a pipeline of available physicians, nurses, allied and non-clinical staff. Physicians and nurses with critical care or emergency expertise are available to step into new roles necessary to test and treat patients.

MHA and MDH also established a new, coordinated system, MarylandMedNow , to recruit for critical staffing needs at hospitals and alternative care sites across the state. To request assistance for filling more than 10 positions, send a surge staffing request to MHA at COVIDstaffing@mhaonline.org . An intake team is ready to begin taking requests.
MVA VEIP Stations Open for COVID-19 Testing by Appointment
Maryland has opened five Motor Vehicle Administration vehicle emissions inspection stations for COVID-19 drive-through testing. The sites, in Anne Arundel, Charles, Harford, Howard and Montgomery counties, are open by appointment only for those who have received an order from a health care provider. Additional information is available here .
FAQ: Alternate Care Sites on Hospital Campuses
The Maryland Health Care Coalitions (MHCC) has received several questions about the use of medical tents as alternate care sites on hospital campuses. Here are a few details that may be of interest as we continue to expand the use of alternate care sites.

How are tents staffed?
Staffing is done through the hospital that has oversight of the tent or alternate care site. Hospitals use traditional staffing methods, including the Chesapeake Registry Program (Registry) or a staffing agency of their choice. For surge staffing needs of 10 or more, contact Registry at COVIDstaffing@mhaonline.org .

For more questions and answers, click here . If you’d like additional information about the tent surge project, contact Ken Bellian
COVID Vendor Database
The Maryland Department of Commerce created a database of vendors that can provide goods and services that may be needed during the pandemic. It’s the database the local health departments use to request PPE. If you would like to request COVID-related goods or services—other than staffing or PPE, please contact your local jurisdiction listed in the  Emergency Manager Contact List . The local jurisdictions work with MEMA to fulfill requests from companies that are unable to be fulfilled by the jurisdiction.
Compassion Tribe 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.
The groups will host a compassion forum six days a week through April 30. Compassion tribe information, including dates and times can be found here .
Conversation Project Offers COVID-19 Resources
The Conversation Project is offering a number of COVID-19 specific resources to help you, your loved ones and your communities during this difficult time:
HSCRC Suspends Quality Reporting and May Suspend Associated FY 2022 Revenue Adjustments
CMMI approved Maryland’s request to suspend reporting requirements for January 2020 through June 2020, or an alternate end date of the COVID-19 crisis determined by CMS in the future. The suspension will impact revenue adjustments for the Maryland Quality programs including Quality Based Reimbursement (QBR), Maryland Hospital Acquired Conditions (MHAC), Readmission Reduction Incentive Program (RRIP), and Potentially Avoidable Utilization (PAU) Savings. HSCRC will still collect case-mix data (similar to claims) during this time to track utilization changes and COVID-19 patients. Since at least six months of data may be missing for the annual performance periods for the Maryland quality programs, HSCRC may request to modify or suspend the rate year 2022 revenue adjustments in their entirety. 
MHA Post-Session Materials Available
MHA’s post-session materials are now available for your use. This year, MHA is offering two post-session documents (available with an MHA website login; if you need help accessing contact mha@mhaonline.org ):
  • 2020 Post-Session Action Map: This is a synopsis of health care legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly which may require action to remain in compliance with new laws. We noted which of your colleague(s) should be made aware of certain bills. For the first time, MHA made this document sortable by bill, category, action, and role. The first tab is organized by bill and is consistent with previous post-session action maps. While the two tabs contain the same information, the second tab offers more sorting capabilities. To sort any column, click the arrow at the top to view the options. For example, for bills that should be shared with your Chief Financial Officer, click the arrow next to “Role,” uncheck the “Select All” option, and then check “Chief Financial Officer.”

  • 2020 Post-Session PowerPoint: This presentation includes key outcomes from session with a look ahead to the interim and 2021 session. Please feel free to tailor this presentation to your respective needs as you discuss session outcomes with your board, colleagues, communities, etc. 
HSCRC Extends Deadline to Submit Comments on New Episode Quality Improvement Program
On March 24 HSCRC issued a Request for Information to Maryland stakeholders to provide insight into the design and structure of the proposed Episode Quality Improvement Program. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and work related to respond to the current crisis, the deadline to submit comments has been extended to May 22. For questions contact Erin Dorrien
Webinar – Behavioral Health Services During COVID-19: Lessons From Sheppard Pratt Health System
The COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges to providing behavioral health services across all care settings. Senior leaders from Baltimore's Sheppard Pratt Health System, including President and CEO, and AHA Trustee Harsh Trivedi, M.D. , will discuss how they re-engineered care processes, developed new care protocols for agitated patients, and created a virtual emergency department assessment to decrease the number of psychiatric patients in the ED during the COVID-19 surge. Sheppard Pratt also will discuss its efforts to support staff and build resilience during the crisis. To register for this webinar, click here.

Sheppard Pratt Speakers:
Harsh Trivedi, M.D.
President and CEO
Todd Peters, M.D.
Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, and Chief Medical Information Officer
Laura Lawson Webb, RN-BC
Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer
Jennifer Weiss Wilkerson, FACHE
Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer 
Canceled: MHA Annual Membership Meeting
In light of all that you and your teams are working on for COVID-19 preparedness, mitigation and treatment, the Annual MHA Membership Meeting scheduled for June 15 and 16 in Baltimore is canceled. For those of you who have already registered, we have issued refunds. If you have any questions, please contact Kathy Gotwalt
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