February 10, 2019
Combating Violence
Last week’s tragic shooting outside a Maryland hospital was yet another reminder that health care facilities — seen as safe harbors — are not immune to the violence that plagues our communities.

That message also was driven home during a recent hospital visit, when executives told me that a spate of multiple-victim shootings in their normally quiet county had truly shaken associates and affected their work performance. The CEO of another hospital lamented countless assaults on hospital staff by both patients and visitors.

These incidences aren’t rare. Maryland has the 10th worst rate of violent crime in the U.S. That’s despite our ranking 1st in average household income.

As health care leaders, we are called to act to address violence of all kinds, both in our communities and especially in our workplaces. And many hospitals are doing so.

That includes more than treating wounds. You screen patients for violence exposure, offer behavioral management and social services, lead violence intervention programs, and so much more.

Your Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) is advocating with government and other stakeholders for needed policies and interventions. We are fostering collective action to help you strengthen protections on your campuses and build the resilience of associates.

Last year, MHA and the Maryland Nurses Association formed the Workplace Violence Prevention Steering Committee, and both associations hosted a summit focused on workplace violence.

MHA also is focused on human trafficking prevention, early identification protocols, and progressive solutions to support forensic nurse examiners and hospital-based SAFE programs.

MHA and Maryland’s hospitals are redoubling efforts to ensure safe environments for caregivers and patients. We also hope to contribute to combatting violence in our communities.
Bob Atlas
President & CEO
New Star Ratings Released
As part of its quarterly refresh of the Hospital Compare website, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will also update hospitals’ overall star ratings for the first time since December, 2017. Since the prior update, CMS has made changes to its methodology, however preview data indicate the distribution of hospitals’ ratings will be similar to 2017. Though the national distribution may be the same, star ratings for individual hospitals may have changed significantly. Given this, hospitals are encouraged to preview their ratings on QualityNet prior to public release, which will likely occur this week (CMS has not provided an exact date). Hospitals may also find it helpful to review the American Hospitals Association’s (AHA’s) talking points in the event of media inquiries. CMS’ overall quality star ratings raise serious concerns, and the AHA will continue to press for resolutions with CMS. For its part, your Maryland Hospital Association will continue to evaluate these ratings for potential Maryland-specific issues.
MHA Contact: Justin Ziombra , Director, Policy & Data Analytics
Next Steps Toward Statewide Approach to Stroke Triage, Treatment
The Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) held a webinar February 6 to discuss next steps toward establishing a statewide approach to stroke triage and treatment in response to several hospitals that indicated interest in purchasing a Stroke Scoring Algorithm collectively and deploying single central installation on CRISP. The webinar included information on implementation and timing and preliminary cost estimates. For more information, slides can be found here and a recording of the event is found here . This webinar follows a separate webinar held in December, during which several Maryland stroke specialists from the Maryland Stroke Quality Improvement Council discussed the benefits of a statewide approach. For more information, slides can be found here and a recording of that event is found here . MHA has reached out to hospital contacts to seek information on continued interest, no later than Friday, March 1, so CRISP can finalize pricing with the vendor.

MHA Contact: Nora Hoban , Senior Vice President, Policy & Data Analytics
Md. General Assembly Update
Hundreds of bills were introduced this week as the Maryland General Assembly’s bill introduction deadlines were on Monday in the Senate and Thursday in the House. MHA’s Vice President of Rate Setting Brett McCone and MHCC Executive Director Ben Steffen briefed the House Health & Government Operations Committee on Certificate of Need on Wednesday. With the bill introduction deadlines behind us, bill hearings are in full swing as Delegates and Senators consider legislation on a range of topics. MHA provided testimony in support of legislation regarding Patient’s Bill of Rights and a $15-minimum wage with amendments. While MHA supported the $15-minimum wage bill because of hospitals’ social determinants and health equity focus under the new Total Cost of Care model, MHA acknowledged concerns around wage compression, constrained global budgets, and the vulnerability of rural communities and, as such, suggested a one-year delay in the implementation of a $15-minimum wage. For more information on bills MHA is tracking, please click here
Md. Health Benefit Exchange Releases 2020 Plan Certification Standards
Last week, the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange released its 2020 Plan Certification Standards . Qualified health plans sold on the state’s exchange must meet these standards. For 2020, the standards include several requirements to improve affordability of coverage and access to care. Insurers must offer a “value plan” at each metal level. At the bronze level, which indicates the plan provides the least amount of cost-sharing coverage, insurers must have at least one plan that will cover three visits before deductible. Insurers must also offer one silver-level plan with a deductible of no more than $2500, and a gold-level plan with a deductible of no more than $1000. The plans at these two levels must also include a series of services offered before deductible. MHA was thoroughly engaged in the process of developing 2020 Plan Certification Standards, including submitting a letter last year outlining support for before deductible services.

MHA Contact: Maansi Raswant , Vice President, Policy & Data Analytics
Awards Honor Health Care Field
The Daily Record is calling for nominations for its Healthcare Heroes awards. Your Maryland Hospital Association is an event partner for the awards, which honor organizations and individuals who have made an impact on the quality of health care in Maryland. Nominations are due March 5. For more information and to fill out a nomination form or application, click here .
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