April 20, 2018
Empowerment through Care Planning
This week, the nation mourns the death of Barbara Bush, one of just two women in history to be both a First Lady and a mother to a U.S. president. Two days before she died, a family spokesman announced that Mrs. Bush would no longer accept medical treatment and had chosen the option of "comfort care."
The former First Lady's decision is noteworthy because it helps highlight a longstanding cultural stigma associated with palliative care, hospice, and other forms of end-of-life care and planning. The announcement came during National Healthcare Decisions Day , an event meant to engage the public on the importance of advance care planning and the role of health care providers in respecting patients' wishes.
Bush, a longtime supporter of health care causes that included work with pediatric AIDS patients to dispel myths about how AIDS is contracted, was not reported to have an advance directive. But she was able to communicate her wishes plainly before she died. She also was fortunate to be surrounded by family, friends, and caregivers who understood and respected those wishes.
That isn't always the case when it comes to end-of-life care, which is one of the reasons MHA is convening a free statewide forum on May 30 - Collaboration in Care Planning: Empowering Patients and Providers at All Stages and in All Settings . Its goals are to help attendees:  
  • Understand how to ensure that patients' wishes are respected throughout the care continuum
  • Learn about community-wide partnerships that promote patient-centric advance care planning
  • Find ways to expand access to advance care planning tools 

Talking about end-of-life care can be uncomfortable for both patients and providers, but frank and compassionate conversations are a must, and the key to a successful advance care directive.
The forum in May is designed for clinical staff and others interested in improving how advance care planning is integrated into care delivery. I hope you'll join us. You can register here .

Bob Atlas
President and CEO

P.S. - Also be sure to register for MHA's annual meeting coming up in June. There's a very strong group of speakers, including Dr. Atul Gawande, whose latest book, Being Mortal, examines issues surrounding late-life care.
MD Awarded $10 Million to Combat Opioid Crisis
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this week awarded $485 million in grants to help states combat the opioid crisis, the last of two funding rounds provided for in the 21st Century Cures Act; Maryland will receive more than $10 million. In the first year of funding, Maryland also received $10 million. Of the new funds, $2 million will be used to create a 24-hour crisis center in Baltimore City and some of the other funds will be used to develop local Opioid Intervention Teams and public awareness campaigns.
New Patient Rights Regulations Begin April 23
New regulations pertaining to patient rights and the designation of lay caregivers were posted last week by the Maryland Department of Health, and will be effective on Monday. The regulations finalize proposals that were published and open to comment in January, and were prompted by proposed legislation MHA was able to defeat for the third consecutive year that would have required a standard, comprehensive patient bill of rights be distributed at all Maryland hospitals. Please contact Anne Jones with the Office of Health Care Quality, anne.jones@maryland.gov, with questions.
Hospitals Invited to Participate in Violence Day of Awareness
The American Hospital Association is asking hospitals to participate in its #HAVhope video highlighting the Hospitals Against Violence initiative by submitting a photo with staff holding this sign by May 1. The video will be part of the June 8 #HAVhope Friday: Day of Awareness and will be shared across all of AHA's social media channels, website, and other ways. #HAVhope Friday: National Day of Awareness unites hospitals, health systems, nurses, doctors and other professionals from across the country, as well as local and national organizations, to combat violence through the use of digital media. You can submit your photos to AHA here . More details and many resources are available at AHA's #HAVhope Friday website.
Hospitals: It's Time to Share How "Quality Matters"
For two years, MHA has been shining a spotlight on the work Maryland's hospitals are doing to improve quality by posting your stories on our Quality Matters website. One new entry from our hospitals is added to the site every two months, but we know there are more stories to be told! Take a look at those stories that have been compiled and share your own good news on making health care in Maryland the safest and highest-quality in the nation. Stories should be no longer than 200 words; we can also post any resources you would care to share, including PowerPoints, PDFs, pictures and links to online tools. Submit your stories to Dana Bonistalli at any time.
Physician Leaders: Understanding the Maryland Payment Model
Undoubtedly the most frequent request we receive is for help in making sure physicians understand Maryland's unique payment model.

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Report: Opioid Prescriptions Falling; Out-of-Pocket Drug Costs Reach $58 Billion
The number of U.S. retail opioid prescriptions fell by 10.2 percent in 2017, including a 16.1 percent decline in high-dose prescriptions, according to a report released Thursday by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science.

Monday, April 23
MHA Certificate of Need and State Health Plan Work Group meeting

Wednesday, April 25
MHA Operations Committee meeting
The Baltimore Sun , By Ian Duncan, April 13
The Daily Record , By Tim Curtis, April 13
Baltimore Business Journal , By Morgan Eichensehr, April 16
The Baltimore Sun , By Luke Broadwater, April 17
The Baltimore Sun , By Andrea K. McDaniels, April 16
The Baltimore Sun , By Staff, April 16
The Baltimore Sun , By Meredith Cohn and Andrea K. McDaniels, April 18
The Washington Post , By Clarence Williams and Marissa J. Lang, April 18