April 14, 2019
Important Legislative Wins
The 439th session of the Maryland General Assembly, which ended April 8, was a strong 90 days for our state’s hospitals and health systems. Among the many successes:

  • Secured a $25 million Medicaid Deficit Assessment reduction for fiscal year 2020
  • Passed MHA’s bill to modernize the Certificate of Need process
  • Defeated a bill requiring burdensome disclosures by hospital-based outpatient clinics
  • Passed an MHA-introduced bill to improve the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
  • Fended off an effort by the trial attorneys’ lobby to gut the 20 percent rule

This was my first full legislative session with MHA, and I can attest to the tireless and imaginative work of our Government Affairs team and your legislative leads. They teamed up to educate myriad new legislators and deliver impressive wins for the hospital field.

To help you tell the story of our collective success and how this year’s legislative session will affect your own hospital, MHA offers several resources and tools:

I would be remiss if I did not remark upon the tragic loss of our House of Delegates Speaker, Michael E. Busch, one day before session’s end. Mike was a true friend to the hospital field and a tremendous advocate for health care and the health of all Marylanders; he will be missed.

We are already preparing for the 2020 legislative session. We must educate new leaders, proactively address some concerns that surfaced in this session that will linger, and get ready to deal with expected political and fiscal headwinds. With your collective engagement and continued support, we will do well again.
Bob Atlas
President & CEO
HSCRC: CMS Confirms 2018 Data
Health Services Cost Review Commission staff received written confirmation that the calendar year 2018 data that they have received from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is accurate, they reported during Wednesday’s meeting. This data show projected total cost of care savings through the end of 2018 of about $273 million. Fiscal year 2018 annual hospital financial and statistical data and the fiscal year 2018 Community Benefits Report also were released, as was reported in this month’s Newsbreak .
Donated Medical Supplies Available
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has four tractor trailer truckloads of new medical supplies (41 sharps disposal kits) they have offered to donate to Maryland hospitals through the Federal Surplus Property Program. The supplies are available for free and are valued at $13.8 million. Each kit includes perforated needles, throw away containers, hazmat disposal bags, and coveralls. For more information, contact Jack Howard , assistant secretary for administration, or Bradley Thomas , federal surplus program administrator.
Atlas: Let's Work Together to Build a Healthier Maryland
In this WYPR commentary , Bob Atlas, President & CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association, discusses a few of the major public health issues facing the state. “ Maryland’s hospitals are working to tackle these challenges – partnering with state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and businesses. The goal: healthy communities everywhere,” he says.
Capital Bond Program Application Reminder
The 2019 Maryland Hospital Association Hospital Capital Bond Program application process opened on March 29. The program provides an opportunity for hospitals to apply for state allocated funding to complete private capital projects. Hospitals applying for funding under this program must request the appropriate approvals/exemptions from both the Maryland Health Care Commission and Health Services Cost Review Commission no later than April 26. Additional information and application documents are available on MHA’s website . If you have questions, please contact  Brett McCone Jennifer Witten , or  Jane Krienke . Deadline for final application submission to MHA is June 21.
Training Available For Mental Health Providers
The Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force Victim Services Subcommittee will offer training for mental health providers related to human trafficking prevention and identification. The Human Trafficking courses will provide licensed counselors and social workers with professional development, helping counselors gain task force referrals, identify at-risk clients and provide a much-needed service for those involved in human trafficking. Clinicians that participate in trainings will have the opportunity to join an ongoing peer support collaborative. Please read through the pre-requisites for the training session that includes taking a trauma informed web-based session.

Details and registration information:

Washington County:

Howard County:
21 Hospitals to Join MHA Task Force ED Study
The Maryland Hospital Association’s (MHA) Behavioral Health Task Force is launching a study of emergency room discharge delays for behavioral health patients. Twenty one hospitals have signed on for the study, and there is room for more to join. This work, which builds off an inpatient discharge delay study completed earlier this year, further explores why patients are delayed in moving from the ED to the appropriate care setting. The study is expected to begin April 15 and last through May 31. Previous work in this area has already helped to influence the state’s progress on long-stay patients through the Secretary’s Vision Group. For more information or to participate in the study, contact Erin Dorrien , Director of Policy.
MHA Seeks Hospital Representatives on Mental, Behavioral Health Commission
The Maryland Hospital Association is asking Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford to consider adding a representative from an acute care hospital and a representative from a specialty psychiatric hospital to the Commission to Study Mental and Behavioral Health in Maryland. In a letter sent April 5, Maryland Hospital Association President & CEO Bob Atlas writes that these representatives would add valuable expertise from the hospital field, which would benefit the commission’s work.
Save the Date: MHA's 2019 Annual Membership Meeting
Registration is now open for your Maryland Hospital Association’s 2019 Annual Membership Meeting. An evening reception is scheduled for June 10, and the general session is scheduled for June 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The keynote speaker for the event is Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, and Adam Boehler, senior adviser to the Secretary for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, also will be featured.
MHA's 5 Takeaways From AHA Conference
Several Maryland Hospital Association leaders attended the American Hospital Association’s Annual Membership Meeting April 7-10. Here are a few key takeaways from the conference:

  • Hospitals nationally are thinking about unnecessary care as waste, not a revenue generator, and using technology and real time data to drive improvement.
  • Care is increasingly moving to the home as a product of new value-based models as well as patient preferences, informed by information on quality.
  • It’s important to protect access to coverage gains that resulted from the Affordable Care Act — now threatened by the Texas court case.
  • Several states are grappling with Medicaid expansion fights, work requirements, and insufficient hospital payment rates – along with the supplemental payment schemes meant to make up for it. Thankfully, Maryland’s unique model buffers against these challenges.
  • MHA | PAC received recognition for meeting its fundraising goal for 15 consecutive years.
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