November 4, 2018
Care Is Blind, Safety Is Paramount
For the Jewish doctors and nurses at Allegheny General Hospital, the fact that their patient was accused of mass murder at a nearby Pittsburgh synagogue did not alter their treatment.

That he continued to spew anti-Semitic vitriol did not change the care they rendered. Neither did the fact that among his victims were their family, friends, or neighbors.

“We’re here to take care of sick people. We’re not here to judge you,” said Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, the hospital’s president and a member of the synagogue. “We’re here to take care of people that need our help.”

Cohen’s sentiment reflects a core tenet of those who choose health care professions – we work to heal, period.

That’s a special quality among those who dedicate their lives to the care of others. As hospital and health system leaders, we have a duty to make workplaces as safe as we can and to promote resilience in the face of traumatic events that do occur.

Equally important is that hospitals help make the communities they serve safer, so these horrors become things of the past.

Your Maryland Hospital Association is acting on both fronts to help.

First, the Behavioral Health Task Force is leading the charge to consider how Maryland’s hospitals could address the many behavioral health challenges in the state.

MHA also remains committed to the American Hospital Association’s Hospitals Against Violence program, which aims to stem all forms of violence, both within and outside of health care settings.

In June, MHA and the Maryland Nurses Association (MNA) hosted Safe Harbors: Protecting Providers and Patients, where national experts on violence prevention and response spoke to several hundred clinicians and administrators who work in hospitals.

MHA and MNA also are establishing a steering committee that we expect will produce actionable measures to enhance workplace safety.

Ensuring that hospital staff build resilience also matters. Our affiliate, the Maryland Patient Safety Center, runs the Caring for the Caregiver program. It offers resources to deliver “psychological first aid” and emotional support to caregivers who may experience trauma in the aftermath of a tragedy.

As Pittsburgh and its Jewish community – and the victims of the much-less-noticed shooting of African-Americans in Louisville – move through grieving to healing, we support them. And we will continue to strengthen support for our sisters and brothers in the Maryland health care community.
Bob Atlas
President & CEO
Report: Baltimore Has Lowest Overall Health Care Price Level
Baltimore’s overall health care price level was the lowest in the Health Care Cost Institute’s Healthy Marketplace Index, which considered prices in 112 cities. The independent report, which includes prices from 2012-2016, found that Baltimore’s were 33 percent below the national average. This report confirms one of the key benefits of Maryland’s unique hospital rate setting system, which has limited cost shifting to the private sector — resulting in lower commercial insurance rates.

Click here to access the full Healthy Marketplace Index report.
Guide Available to Help People Avoid Surprise Medical Bills
The American Hospital Association (AHA) released a guide last week to help people avoid “surprise” medical bills. The consumer guide was released in partnership with the Healthcare Financial Management Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans. It is intended to help patients avoid paying more than expected for health care— including services that are planned and unplanned emergencies. The AHA suggests that members share the resources on their websites and in other ways.

Here is a link to the full guide and more details about the resource are available here .
Updated Hospital Data Publicly Available
This past week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services executed a quarterly update of its Hospital Compare website, where consumers can view a variety of hospital-specific quality measures relative to state and national benchmarks. On November 8 the Leapfrog Group will perform a semi-annual update of its Patient Safety Grades website, which assigns a single letter grade to hospitals for overall quality performance. Maryland hospitals have been included in the Leapfrog Safety Grades since last year, and hospitals in the rest of the country have been included for several years. For both Leapfrog and Hospital Compare, preview data are available to administrators prior to publication to ensure accuracy.

MHA Contact: Justin Ziombra , Director of Data and Policy Analytics
MHA, MNA Address Workplace Violence
Your Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) and the Maryland Nurses Association (MNA) formed a Workplace Violence Steering Committee that met for the first time October 30. The committee is an extension of the workplace violence summit that MHA and MNA hosted together in June. The group will serve as a vehicle for discussion, policy considerations, best practice development, and strategies that support reducing and responding to workplace violence in Maryland. 

We’ll have more details to share with you as the committee continues its work. We also want to share the presentations and resources from the summit, which are available here

MHA Contact: Erin Dorrien , Director of Policy and Data Analytics
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