October 20, 2017
Mary Pat Seurkamp, Ph.D.
MHA Board Chair
Kicking Advocacy into High Gear
With the start of the 2018 General Assembly session less than three months away, preparations for what is expected to be a challenging and complex political climate are well underway at MHA. There have been many meetings with key legislators, plenty of input into the state's budget process, and the development of supporting advocacy materials like infographics and legislative briefs.
Driving all of this work is MHA's legislative agenda, which your MHA Executive Committee approved late last month. The agenda details the hospital field's three top priorities - issues that MHA continues to pursue so that you have the tools you need to take care of the patients and communities you serve. The agenda includes:  
  • Behavioral health: In alignment with a forthcoming roadmap from MHA's Behavioral Health Task Force for an essential, comprehensive behavioral health care system, the focus for the coming session will be 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 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.
These are the tip of the iceberg of course; many other issues will be advocated by MHA staff and consultants before and during the session. And the 90-day session could be challenging to navigate because the governor's seat and other key legislative positions are up for grabs in the 2018 election. Against this backdrop, the state is entering the final stages of negotiations on a new contract with CMS for an updated version of the All-Payer Model. In other words, the stakes couldn't be higher.
That's why we are laying the groundwork now, so that when the gavel is brought down on January 10 to open the three-month session, policymakers will understand why it's so important that Maryland's hospitals thrive.

MD Included in Leapfrog Grades for First Time
For the first time, Maryland is being included in Leapfrog's semiannual Hospital Safety Grade comparison. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades fall release, which will be made available to the public October 31, assigns a single letter grade to each hospital to indicate overall performance in keeping patients safe from harm. In prior years, data reported under Maryland's unique hospital rate setting system was not comparable to the national CMS data used by Leapfrog to develop its scores. This year, the Maryland Health Care Commission provided Leapfrog with quality metrics directly generated from the Health Services Cost Review Commission's claims database, which has made the inclusion of Maryland's hospitals possible. Hospitals can preview their own grades here. Talking points have been provided to your communications leads. Questions about your hospital's scores can be asked by contacting Leapfrog.
Medicaid to Use Electronic Revalidation
Beginning in November, Maryland Medicaid will use a new electronic provider revalidation and enrollment portal (ePREP). The portal will eventually be used for all Medicaid provider types and cover enrollment, re-enrollment, re-validation and information updates through an automated database verification process. It will also offer a call center and document repository. The first phase is for solo and group practitioners like physicians and physical therapists. Hospitals and other providers are expected to be added in April 2018. A provider enrollment helpline (844-463-7768) is available to answer questions on enrollment status, deadlines, affiliation changes and more.
Contact: Mike Robbins
MHA Staff to Participate in AHA Webinar on Global Budgets
MHA's Mike Robbins, Senior Vice President, Rate Setting, will be one of the presenters at the American Hospital Association's November 1 webinar Global Budgets as a Pathway to Ensuring Access. Global budgets are one of nine access strategies recommended by AHA's Task Force on Ensuring Access in Vulnerable Communities. Joshua Sharfstein, MD, Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Training and Professor of the Practice in Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will also present. The webinar is Nov 1 at 1 p.m. Click here to register.
Hospital Top Ten Now Available
MHA's yearly list of the "Top Ten Things to Know About Maryland's Hospitals" has been released and is posted on MHA's website. You can also find the list in the scroll on the home page of MHA's website. Limited quantities of the Top Ten are available for hospitals to use. Please contact David Simon if interested.
UM Offers Specialty Prescriber Resources
The University of Maryland's School of Medicine recently introduced the Maryland Addiction Consultation Service (MACS), which supports primary care and specialty prescribers in the identification and treatment of opioid use disorders. Physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician's assistants can call1-855-337-MACSfor free consults on clinical questions related to the initiation and maintenance of buprenorphine for treating patients with opioid use disorders. MACS also offers training opportunities to prescribers and helps them identify community addiction and behavioral health resources. MACS is made possible through funding from the Maryland Department of Health. Click here for more information.
Children's National Launches E-newsletter
This week, Children's National Health System launched an e-newsletter highlighting efforts to increase safety and reduce harm through research, innovations and initiatives. The hospital hopes the Quality & Safety e-newsletter will spark conversations across the industry and serve as a resource for advancing quality and safety in hospitals. You can view the articles from the first newsletter on the hospital's Innovation District digital platform and you can subscribe to the newsletter here.
Healthcare Innovation: Does How We Lead Need to Change?
At the MHEI annual leadership conference earlier this week, retired U.S. Army General Stan McChrystal outlined how he changed his leadership style to better meet his objective as the U.S. waged war in Iraq.

Reduce Lighting Energy Costs Up to 50 Percent
Lighting accounts for 30 to 60 percent of annual electric costs for many facilities, and many new advances in lighting technology can help your organization conserve energy and save money.

Survey: Medicaid Enrollment Growth Slows, Spending Growth to Continue
Medicaid enrollment growth slowed to 2.7% in fiscal year 2017 due to slower enrollment related to the Affordable Care Act, a stable economy and states' processing of delayed eligibility determinations, according to the latest annual Kaiser Family Foundation survey of state Medicaid directors. 

Wednesday, October 25
MHA's Clinical Conversation Series: Hospital Emergency Department Discharge Protocols
  for Drug Overdose and Substance Use Disorder Patients

Thursday, October 26
Inter-hospital Cost Comparison (ICC) / Full Rate Application Work Group meeting
Baltimore Business Journal, By Morgan Eichensehr, October 13
The Baltimore Sun, By Meredith Cohn, October 16
Modern Healthcare, By Maria Castellucci, October 14
Managed Care Magazine, October 17
The Baltimore Sun, By Erin Cox, October 17
Baltimore Business Journal, By Morgan Eichensehr, October 17
The Washington Post, By Ovetta Wiggins, October 17
The Baltimore Sun, By Andrea K. McDaniels, October 19
Baltimore Business Journal, By Morgan Eichensehr, October 18