February 24, 2017
Chipping Away at Our Behavioral Health Crisis
In August, Maryland's top health official appeared before a Baltimore judge and offered an explanation for why dozens of mentally ill Marylanders were languishing in jails despite court orders to send them to state hospitals for evaluation and treatment. The court appearance helped clarify some of the reasons for the backlog of admissions to state mental facilities, such as Clifton T. Perkins in Jessup and Springfield State Hospital Center in Sykesville. The main factor: a bed shortage - one that doesn't stem from a lack of physical space, but rather caused by difficulty in attracting and retaining staff.
The newly-formed Forensic Services Advisory Council, on which I serve, will develop recommendations to help state-operated behavioral health hospitals improve the delivery of care for behavioral health patients involved with the criminal justice system. Kevin Young, president of Adventist Behavioral Health, is chairman of the council, and his leadership and perspective will be key to the council's work to make sure that Maryland's growing number of behavioral health patients get the right care, at the right time, in the right setting.
When I spoke to the council earlier this month on the behavioral health challenges that community hospitals face, I was struck by how much in common you have with the state facilities: overwhelming demand, a shortage of psychiatrists and other specialists, and a lack of appropriate care settings, like long-term, community-based treatment, for behavioral health patients. Like the state hospitals, yours is not a problem of not enough physical beds, but a shortage of psychiatrists, counselors, and others who can help patients overcome the most serious mental health and substance use disorders.
For behavioral health patients with the most serious disorders, it is clear that substance misuse is often a trigger of acute events. Community and state hospitals alike are searching for the best treatment settings for these patients, including long-term recovery options. This presents an opportunity to collaborate on what's really lacking in Maryland: a statewide, integrated behavioral health treatment infrastructure.
The challenge of helping behavioral health patients get the level of care they need and deserve is something we face collectively as a state, not as individual organizations or communities. And solutions will come from working with those who share our goal of helping those in need.

At Work in Annapolis
Today marks the halfway point of the 2017 legislative session. Yesterday, MHA staff and hospital leaders from across the state testified in Annapolis on 10 bills in three different committees. Several of the bills were related to high-priority issues, such as the Maryland No-Fault Birth Injury Fund and the cap on non-economic damages, and the Medicaid telehealth bill. MHA staff are still working to determine positions on the vast number of opioid-related bills that have been introduced. MHA also testified yesterday in support of the Behavioral Health Administration's budget, which includes full funding for the state's three Institutions for Mental Diseases for fiscal year 2018. Find links to bills and our position papers in this week's Advocacy Dashboard.
The Daily Record Honors Influential Marylanders in Health Care
Five health care leaders in Maryland have won the 2017 Influential Marylanders Award from The Daily Record. The winners are selected by the newspaper's editors for significant contributions to their field and for their leadership in Maryland. The 2017 winners in health care are:  
  • Victoria Bayless, Anne Arundel Medical Center
  • Terry Forde, Adventist HealthCare
  • Neil Meltzer, LifeBridge Health
  • Dr. Redonda Miller, Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Dr. Peggy Naleppa, Peninsula Regional Medical Center 
All winners will be honored at an event March 23.
MHA Executive Committee Minutes Available
The minutes from two January MHA Executive Committee meetings are available on the Governance page on our website. Members must be logged in to download the minutes.
Physicians Hold the Power to Transform Hospitals
As more physicians take on hospital leadership roles - both formally and informally - they now have a unique opportunity to shape the future of their organizations. Their clinical background provides them a different perspective than non-clinical administrators, enabling them to effect change in different ways than traditional hospital leaders. However, physicians who have extensive clinical experience but little management training or experience may not be well-equipped to lead effectively. Basic tenets of leadership, like accountability, engagement, motivation, performance, organizational culture, and more, are the basic building blocks of success for any physician-leader yet are not typically taught in medical schools. The Maryland Healthcare Education Institute is tapping into recognized, evidence-based best practices for leadership, as well as drawing from our own experienced physician leaders here in Maryland, to develop a three-part "Physician Leadership Initiative"   
  1.  The Practice of Leadership - four days of defining and exploring what it means to be a leader, and what it means to be a physician and lead physicians and non-physicians. Coursework includes listening and inquiring in a manner that is empowering to followers, improving performance in an organization faced with constant change, and leading change (quite different than managing change).
  2.  Skill Building - four half-day sessions facilitated by experienced physician leaders. Topics are: Strategic Thinking and Planning, Leading an Effective Meeting, Collaboration and Leading Teams, Conflict Resolution and Managing Behavior.
  3. Annual Leadership Conference - An opportunity to explore broad organizational and health care issues such as population health, consumerism, and leading organizations and teams. 
For more information, or to register, visit http://www.mhei.org/how-we-can-help/leadership-training/ or contact Alison Burrows.
Agility, Adaptability and Cohesion: Leadership for a New World
U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal discovered soon after he took over as commander of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in 2004 that conventional military tactics would not succeed against an enemy that could move quickly, strike hard and then vanish into the crowd.

Prime's Value to Member Hospitals
Prime is the shared service/group purchasing subsidiary of the Maryland Hospital Association. Its goal is to help our member hospitals reduce the cost of care.

AONE, HRET HIIN Webinar March 14 on Patient Safety
AHA's American Organization of Nurse Executives and Health Research & Educational Trust will host a March 14 webinar on "Partnering for Progress in Quality and Safety." 

The Baltimore Sun, By Andrea K. McDaniels, February 20
ABC 2 News, By Associated Press, February 18
ABC 2 News, By Staff, February 20
The Daily Record, By Gina Gallucci-White, February 20
WMDT, By Matt Kubisiak, February 21
The Star Democrat, By Sarah Drury, February 23
WYPR, By Tom Hall and Rob Sivak, February 22