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August 4, 2019
Working on Consumer Costs
We know from media reports, legislative action, and comments from community members that health care bills often confuse and distress patients. Concerns have amplified since insurers started to narrow their networks and to raise consumer cost-sharing to ever greater levels.
 
We now face significant focus at both the state and federal levels on cost transparency, financial assistance, surprise billing, facility fees, and collection of patient financial responsibility. These issues will feature prominently in the U.S. Congress this fall and the Maryland General Assembly in the 2020 legislative session.
 
To support the field, MHA is undertaking a multi-pronged effort to address consumer cost exposure. As you do at your hospitals, in each of these endeavors, easing the patient’s burden is central to our work. MHA efforts include the following:
 
  • Ready field-wide forms and consumer-facing tools on outpatient clinic facility fee disclosures.
  • Seek an opinion – working with the state administration – to determine how federal surprise billing legislation would affect our hospitals and care partners in the Total Cost of Care Model.
  • Advocate for reasonable federal solutions in alignment with the American Hospital Association.
  • Survey hospitals to better understand the range of patient financial assistance and credit and collections policies practices, to prepare for the 2020 legislative session.
  • Created educational resources outlining the points of federal proposals and state law on surprise billing and cost transparency, along with talking points that outline our positions.
 
We appreciate your leadership and partnership as we collaborate to address these high-profile concerns around consumer cost exposure.

Bob Atlas
President & CEO
MHA Launches Survey on Financial Assistance, Credit, Collections Practices
In recent months, hospital financial assistance and credit and collections policy have come under additional scrutiny. To prepare for the possibility of legislative or regulatory action, your Maryland Hospital Association needs your help to gather information on current practices. Your organization’s CFO received a short survey Thursday that we urge you to complete by August 14 and return to Brett McCone . The findings will be shared at the August meeting of MHA’s Technical Work Group.
HSCRC Requests Letters of Intent for Proposed Payment Model by Aug. 9
On Friday, the Health Services Cost Review Commission convened a webinar on a proposed Care Redesign Program (CRP) Track, the Post-Acute Care for Complex Adults Program. This track, available in January 2020, is intended to address "hard-to-place patients" by supporting hospitals who want to provide resources to skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies to facilitate discharge of complex patients to more appropriate settings of care. HSCRC is asking that hospitals indicate a “strong likelihood” of participation through a letter of intent. Letters should be submitted to hscrc.care-transformation@maryland.gov no later than August 9, 2019. HSCRC will then determine whether to proceed with a submission to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation based on the level of hospital interest. Questions about this proposed model should be addressed to Nicole Stallings .
MHA to Host Call on Governance Survey
You and your compliance leads, counsel and others are invited to participate Monday afternoon on a call to discuss questions related to the governance survey your CEOs received last week. Your Maryland Hospital Association launched the survey to demonstrate that your organizations are adhering to the highest standards when it comes to conflicts of interest and other governance matters. Please join us for the call Monday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Please Note: The link for the call is now different from one distributed last week. Please contact Pat Ross with questions/call-in information.
MHA Hosts 1st Statewide Hospital Workforce Forum
Chief Nursing Officers and human resource executives from hospitals across the state came together on Thursday to discuss priority issues and challenges for the current and future health care workforce. Key takeaways from the discussion and a recent MHA survey include:

  • Nursing, nursing support and environmental services were identified as the top three positions with the most hospital staff members likely to retire within five years.
  • There is a statewide need for a workforce that is job-ready, equipped with the right skill sets to meet hospital and health system needs.
  • The same social determinants of health that are affecting our patients, are affecting the employee applicant pool, including transportation.

These are a few of the many comments shared during this dynamic forum. MHA continues to gather feedback and review the survey results in order to identify opportunities to bolster your workforce. If you have thoughts or questions, contact Jane Krienke

State Medicaid Behavioral Health System of Care Work Group Holds 1st Meeting 
The Maryland Medicaid Behavioral Health System of Care Work Group met for the first-time last Wednesday. The group will look at quality integrated care management; cost management; and provider management within Medicaid’s current behavioral health delivery system. Medicaid Director Dennis Schrader led the meeting, noting that the Department anticipates the group efforts to last about two years. The first meeting included a discussion on principles and values to help drive efforts. Behavioral health system principles identified included: a person-centric that is easy to navigate; composed of high-quality providers; and better integration of behavioral and physical health. MHA’s Medicaid System of Care Task Force is also identifying areas for improvement in Medicaid’s behavioral health delivery system and will share feedback with the state. The state work group meets next on August 22 at the Maryland Department of Health. For more information, contact Maansi Raswant .
Hospitals Attend Lt. Governor’s Behavioral Health Commission Meeting
Last week, several hospitals were represented at the third regional meeting of Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford’s Commission to Study Mental and Behavioral Health. Dr. Laura Willing, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist for Children’s National Health System, and Eileen Cahill, Chief Advocacy Officer for Holy Cross Health, provided public comments to the Commission. Dr. Willing discussed capacity challenges with regard to children needing placement in a more appropriate setting, while Ms. Cahill raised behavioral health workforce challenges. In addition to public comment, the Commission provided an overview of their interim report . For details contact, Brian Frazee
National Group Buys Program Offers Savings for MHA Members
Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) members are eligible for Vizient’s National Group Buys through MHA Prime. The program offers opportunities for members to realize substantial savings and enhanced contract value on select products and services. To date, Vizient’s capital equipment group buys have saved members more than $421 million. Group buys are available in 45 major categories, including biomedical engineering, imaging, business office, cardiology, laboratory, central supply, emergency room, medical records, and surgery. Here is a list of group buys on offer through September, and here are the offers through Siemens Group Buys for the same period. For more information contact your MHA Prime Client Executives: Joy Money at 240-856-3303 or Diane Bruno at 410-790-8031. 
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