January 5, 2018
Gearing Up for the 2018 Legislative Session
Next week marks the start of the 438th session of the Maryland General Assembly, and this year's gubernatorial election is expected to factor heavily into lawmakers' decisions over the next three months. Put another way, this session is expected to be dominated far more by politics than policies. Still, hospitals have much to fight for in 2018, including the field's top three priorities:  
  • Behavioral health: Based on the recommendation from MHA's Behavioral Health Task Force for an essential, comprehensive behavioral health care system, the goal will be to support efforts to strengthen the behavioral health care workforce and expand access to crisis services.
  • Sick tax: Previously referred to as the "Medicaid tax," efforts this year will focus on protecting the $35 million spend-down to which legislators and the governor committed last year.
  • Liability costs: This annual priority aims to mitigate Maryland's litigious environment so that health care resources go to patients, not defensive medicine or expensive court battles. 

To help your advocates in Annapolis push for successful legislation on these issues and many others, MHA has developed a host of legislative materials including an at-a-glance overview of priorities, single-page issue papers, and easy-to-read infographics.
And as is the case every year, the key goal of your MHA team in Annapolis is to foster a legislative and regulatory environment that supports your work to succeed under Maryland's unique agreement with CMS. The current model, as well as the one expected to begin in January 2019, enables hospitals to deliver high-quality care while keeping costs in check. These are benefits that everyone can get behind, and it is through our field's unified voice that legislators will understand the importance not only of Maryland's model, but also of the critical role you play in making it work for the patients and communities you serve.

MHA Drafts Response to CON Questions from MHCC
MHA has drafted a response to the Maryland Health Care Commission on a series of questions to help identify Certificate of Need (CON) issues for the commission's work group to address. MHA also has established a member work group to address CON matters and provide recommendations to the commission. The MHA work group will meet January 8 to discuss our responses and a final comment letter will be sent to the commission by its January 26 deadline (this deadline was originally January 13). If you have comments or questions about the letter, contact Brett McCone.
Medicare Performance Adjustment Webinar Set
MHA and the HSCRC will host a Medicare Performance Adjustment Methodology webinar Thursday, January 11, at 1:45 p.m. HSCRC Director, Clinical and Financial Information, Chris Peterson, and Health Policy Analyst, Laura Mandel, will review the methodology and answer questions. The session is of interest to hospital executives responsible for managing total cost of care, including financial leads, population health leads, chief medical officers, and others. To participate in the live presentation at MHA, RSVP to Tracy Blanchard by Monday, January 8. To view the presentation remotely, register here.
Panel to Explore Behavioral Health Crises in EDs
The Maryland Association of Healthcare Executives' first educational event of the year will explore some of the innovative models of behavioral health care that are being piloted in Maryland. A panel of speakers will explore ways to avoid the use of emergency departments for patients in behavioral health crisis. MHA Vice President of Policy and Data Analysis Nicole Stallings will be on the panel. The January 18 event is at the Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel. Click here to learn more and register.
State to Hold Meeting on Primary Care Program
The Maryland Department of Health anticipates that the Maryland Primary Care Program will begin next summer, pending federal approval. Meanwhile, the state has already held several regional meetings to enhance understanding of the program and will hold one later this month in Southern Maryland. The meetings address questions specific to each area of the state. Hospitals are being asked to share the invitation and registration details with their primary care providers and key leaders interested in advanced primary care.
AHA Offers Webinar on Cybersecurity
The American Hospital Association will hold a members-only webinar at 3 p.m. January 9 on promoting a culture of cybersecurity. The third in a six-part series for hospital and health system leaders on managing cybersecurity risk in health care, the webinar will feature former Federal Bureau of Investigation Cyber Division Senior Executive John Riggi and will explore the process for creating a culture of security, assessing the effectiveness of hospital cybersecurity programs, and understanding cyber risk in payment models and business practices. Click here to register.
Hospitals Against Violence Webinar Offered
The AHA's Hospitals Against Violence initiative will host a webinar at 1 p.m. January 10 on how hospitals can partner effectively with law enforcement in their community to maximize safety for patients and providers. Leaders from the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety and AHA's American Organization of Nurse Executives subsidiary will discuss and build on the recent IAHSS guidelines for collaborating with law enforcement with practical steps and scenario-based examples. Click here to register.
Helping Your Physicians (and Managers) Think Strategically
Physicians and managers aren't born with the ability to "think" strategically. Arguably, it took many of us time to learn the nuances associated with creating and developing strategies and tactics.

Prime Offers Solutions for Market Analyses, Intelligence and Forecasting
Prime's through its affiliation with Vizient, offers solutions through Sg2, a leading provider of health care market intelligence, strategic analytics and clinical consulting services. Sg2 delivers an easy access platform of predictive analytics and consulting services that helps more than 1,400 hospitals and health systems - from small community hospitals to large integrated delivery networks - understand current and future market dynamics and capitalize on opportunities for growth and performance.

Center Alerts Health Care Field to New Cyber Vulnerabilities
The National Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center's Threat Intelligence Committee this week alerted the field to two newly identified cybersecurity vulnerabilities, called Meltdown and Spectre. 

Monday, January 8
MHA Certificate of Need and State Health Plan Work Group meeting

Wednesday, January 10
Health Services Cost Review Commission meeting

Thursday, January 11
MHA Technical Work Group meeting
MHA/HSCRC Medicare Performance Adjustment webinar
Washington Business Journal, By Tina Reed, January 2
The Baltimore Sun, By Meredith Cohn and Andrea K. McDaniels, January 3
Baltimore Business Journal, By Morgan Eichensehr, January 3
Capital Gazette, By Phil Davis, January 3
The Baltimore Sun, By Erika Butler, January 3
The New York Times, By Valeriya Safronova, January 3