March 3, 2017
Patients First, Always
In the third most popular TED Talk of all time, leadership and communications expert Simon Sinek posits a simple premise: that the reason you do something is far more important than what you do or how you do it. The "why," he argues, is what separates those who achieve greatness from those who muddle along, because the difference between successful organizations and mediocre ones is not in the services they provide, or how they provide them, but in their underlying motivation.

In a couple of weeks, from March 12-March 18, the National Patient Safety Foundation will observe Patient Safety Awareness Week, a time dedicated to raising awareness among health care professionals and the public about keeping patients safe.

Sinek's TED Talk bears relevance: hospitals are the very unique places they are not just because of what we do or how we do things, but why. Because the reason we do what we do, and that the people in our hospitals do what they do, is to take care of people. We can be proud of how we do it - safely and professionally - but even more proud of the motivation of so many who are in it for the joy of one-on-one healing. Events like Patient Safety Awareness Week help us celebrate caregiving, but also help us refocus the energy of every hospital employee squarely where it should be - on patients.

According to the patient safety foundation, as many as 440,000 patients die each year as a result of preventable medical harm, and many others suffer significant and lasting morbidity, with resulting quality-of-life implications. We strive every day for perfection, and we all know that even one such case is one too many. So, if you choose to be engaged with the National Patient Safety Foundation's activities during this week, they include:
  • A Twitter chat on March 14 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. using the handle @theNPSF; the topic is Patient Safety: What Patients Want (and Need) to Know; anyone may participate by using the hashtag #psaw17chat
  • A complimentary webcast, The Voice of the Patient and the Public, with Dr. Tejal Ghandi, president and CEO of the foundation; the webcast is March 15 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and you can register here
  • Take advantage of Patient Safety Awareness Week's campaign materials, like posters and table tents
There are other ways to reinvigorate the goal of patient safety. A few suggestions:
  • Ask your board of trustees to add a "patient safety moment" to every meeting
  • Regularly review relevant patient safety data to discover trends and potential areas for improvement
  • Send representatives to the Maryland Patient Safety Center's annual conference later this month (details below)
These are just a few ideas to make sure that the "why" that Sinek says is so important never veers, when it comes to hospitals, from their number one goal: safe care.

At Work in Annapolis
An MHA-supported bill to protect Maryland's patient self-referral law while allowing for collaborative partnerships among hospitals and physicians passed the Maryland Senate and advanced in a House subcommittee this week. Hearings on the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act and Medicaid were held in the House and Senate, with MHA testifying in support of the budget act, with amendments that would reduce the Medicaid hospital tax in 2018. MHA also testified in opposition to several bills this week, including legislation that would require hospitals to list the value of their tax exemptions on the annual community benefits report, as well as legislation that would mandate that hospitals have a substance use treatment program. Links to bills and MHA's position papers can be found in this week's Advocacy Dashboard.
Physician Alignment Moves Forward
As mentioned above, the bill modernizing Maryland's patient self-referral law took a critical step forward in the legislative process this week. Developed following a summer stakeholder work group led by MHA, the bill allows important partnerships across the health care system without jeopardizing Maryland's patient protections against self-referral. The legislation passed the Senate unanimously and on Wednesday cleared the House subcommittee in the same form as the Senate bill. A full committee vote is expected as early as this afternoon.
Hogan Declares Opioid State of Emergency
Gov. Larry Hogan this week declared a state of emergency in response to the opioid-addiction crisis in Maryland, signing an executive order and pledging to spend an extra $50 million over the next five years to battle the problem. The money will be used to strengthen law enforcement, prevention and treatment services. The final 2016 data are expected to show that close to 2,000 people died from heroin and other opiate overdoses, double the number of deaths from 2015.
MHA Submits Letter on MHAC Program
MHA has submitted a comment letter to the Health Services Cost Review Commission on the draft recommendation for the Maryland Hospital-Acquired Conditions Program for rate year 2019. The letter supports the recommendation to eliminate the statewide improvement target and move to a single payment scale, but recommends expanding the "hold harmless" zone. The letter also opposes the recommendation to measure complications for individuals who have elected palliative care.
Online Registration Closes Today for MPSC Conference
Online registration closes today for the March 17 Annual Maryland Patient Safety Conference. The conference will present the latest on patient safety issues, local and national perspectives on safety challenges, and improvement and risk reduction strategies. The keynote address will be by the pioneer of Just Culture, David Marx, with a closing keynote by Sue Sheridan and her son Cal. Marx will explore the concepts of reliable design and safety-supportive cultures and share his "secret sauce" for highly reliable outcomes; the Sheridans will shed light on their patient advocacy journey and the monumental impact one person can have to prevent systemic failures. On-site registration will be available the morning of the conference. For the full agenda and continuing education details, click here
Care Alert Sprint Webinars Continue
A critical step to secure a full fiscal year update is to demonstrate to the Health Services Cost Review Commission that hospitals are making use of "care alerts." This can be done by uploading them to the Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP). To help with this effort, CRISP and MHA have introduced a "Care Alert Sprint," a six-month initiative to meet this recommendation using existing hospital personnel and resources. The initiative's fifth webinar, Highlighting Early Successes #1, was February 15; slides and video from the webinar have been posted on the MHA website. The sixth webinar, Highlighting Early Successes #2, is March 8; participants can register on our website. The Care Alert Sprint is aimed at population health, readmissions reduction, and emergency department leads.
Contact: Nicole Stallings
How "Accountability" Happens
Every hospital organization in Maryland espouses the value of accountability for its leaders, managers and staff. Likewise, every hospital believes that accountability is key to lowering and/or eliminating patient safety issues and readmissions, as well as improving systems and becoming more productive.

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CDC Reports 20-Fold Increase In Birth Defects Associated With Zika
The proportion of U.S. pregnancies with Zika-associated birth defects is about 20 times higher than it was before the virus spread to the Americas, according to a report released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Saturday, March 4
Carmela Coyle presents at the Business in Healthcare Conference at Legg Mason

Wednesday, March 8
Health Services Cost Review Commission meeting

Thursday, March 9
MHA Financial Technical Work Group meeting
The Baltimore Sun, By Andrea K. McDaniels, February 25
The Frederick News-Post, By Danielle E. Gaines, February 25
The Baltimore Sun, By Meredith Cohn, February 27
The Baltimore Sun, By Lena H. Sun, February 27
The Washington Post, By Associated Press, March 1
WYPR, By Tom Hall and Rob Sivak, February 28
The Daily Record, By Tim Curtis, March 1