January 20, 2017
Priorities, Not Politics
Today's inauguration of Donald Trump as the nation's 45 th president brings a new era to Washington. With it comes a flurry of federal action on policies and programs implemented during President Obama's term, including an expected repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
The repeal of Obamacare has taken center stage in the weeks leading up to the transfer of power, and health care is once again one of the hot-button national issues. Hospital advocates and other health care stakeholders will feel the direct impact of the results of this debate, which is why it's essential to be crystal clear on our positions and messages. (We discussed these concepts with Maryland's hospital leaders on a member call yesterday.)
First and foremost, health care is non-partisan. The mission of treating ill and injured people doesn't change when the halls of power change. Hospitals will always work to advance the goals of safe, affordable, accessible, and high-quality health care.
It's important to make a distinction between the Affordable Care Act, which like most laws had room for improvement, and the goals that are needed to support the care you provide. Those goals - broad-based, continuous health coverage, a highly functioning insurance market, and incentives toward value-based care - could be preserved or offered through other means.
At the state level, the concern over preserving broad-based, continuous coverage is given significant weight in the face of the potential state budget shortfalls that would arise if the federal funding for Medicaid expansion inherent in the ACA were to disappear. Without a rapid and effective replacement for broad-based coverage, that funding responsibility would fall wholly to the state, which as we all know is already in a tight budget spot. And, as important, it is broad-based, continuous coverage that allows us to get people the right care, at the right time, in the right setting, and keep care affordable by maintaining access to primary and community-based care. Those options fade with decreased coverage.
When the stakes for your patients and communities are high, as they are now, it's easy to get swept up in the partisanship of the moment, and assign value judgments on political parties or individuals. Stepping back from the emotion affords all of us a chance to remember that our patient care delivery priorities haven't changed, that our commitment to the health of our communities hasn't changed, and that we'll continue to strive to achieve this goal no matter where we fall on the political spectrum.

At Work in Annapolis; Budget Postpones Medicaid Tax Spend-down
The first full week of the 2017 General Assembly session was highlighted by Governor Hogan's introduction of his fiscal year 2018 budget proposal. The budget postpones the $25 million spend-down of the hospital Medicaid tax for fiscal year 2018, adds $7 million in funding for Maryland's Institutions for Mental Diseases, and fully fund the adult Medicaid population. The entire Medicaid budget includes an increase of nearly $1 billion. The governor also released the Capital Budget, which includes funding for the 11 projects recommended by the Hospital Bond Review Committee. The funding was capped at $5 million (a level in place since the inception of the program in 1993), despite the review committee's request for $9.5 million. The Hospital Bond Program is projected to receive slight increases in the future totaling $1.5 million.
MHA participated in and attended several legislative briefings and hearings this week. This dashboard on our website provides an overview of actions MHA has taken in the past week and a look at important hearings and events coming next week.
Video Available from Health Care Transformation Forum
Late last year, the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative organized several health care transformation forums throughout the state to inform the public about changes to the state's health care system under the modernized All-Payer Model. In October, speakers at the Howard County forum discussed the changes and how organizations are working to keep communities healthy. You can view the video on our website and download it for your own use on your site.
Can Leaders Develop New (Better) Habits?
Some of the most current research (University College London, 2009) suggests that it takes an average of 66 days for a person to develop a new habit that becomes an automatic part of their daily routine.

Prime Offers Solutions for Market Analyses, Intelligence and Forecasting
Prime's affiliate, MedAssets, has acquired 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.

DHS Issues National Cyber Incident Response Plan
The Department of Homeland Security this week released a National Cyber Incident Response Plan to articulate the roles and responsibilities, capabilities and coordinating structures that support how the nation responds to and recovers from significant cyber incidents posing risks to critical infrastructure. 

Wednesday, January 25
MHA Joint Quality - Finance Work Group meeting
The Baltimore Sun, By Megan Brockett, January 15
The Baltimore Sun, By Ian Duncan, January 15
Maryland Reporter, By Len Lazarick, January 17
The Baltimore Sun, By Meredith Cohn, January 17
ABC 2 News, By Catherine Hawley, January 17
The Baltimore Sun, By Erin Cox, January 18
The Washington Post, By Brian Witte, January 18