March 31, 2017
The Gift of Life
Michelle's word is "Family."
Ieesha's is "Dreamer."
Kenny's is "Courage."
Kara's is "Humanity."
These are some of the reasons Marylanders have given for supporting organ donation, words that are part of The Living Legacy Foundation's annual #In1Word campaign. They are words that are both deeply personal and publicly powerful.
The #In1Word campaign takes place during National Donate Life Month in April, when organ donation advocates and organizations, like The Living Legacy Foundation, celebrate those who have saved lives and encourage others to register as organ, eye and tissue donors.
Hospitals are an integral part of the life-saving process of organ donation - both as the sites of transplantation surgeries, but also as the places where donors are identified, so that they can save others' lives. This is yet another example of the special role hospitals have in their communities - they are the places where medical professionals who are committed to saving lives do so at every opportunity, even after a death.
This isn't to say that the prospect of organ donation isn't difficult for many patients and their families. Some believe that registering as a donor means hospitals won't work as hard to save their lives; others believe their family will have to pay for donation-related medical expenses. These and other myths make it harder for the 3,800 Marylanders now on the state's donation waiting list to get the life-saving transplantations they need. Debunking them is a big part of National Donate Life Month.
Hospitals can help. The Living Legacy Foundation, which facilitates donation and transplantation in Maryland, has a toolkit of materials for hospitals, including a staff-wide email template, a blog post, a sample press release, fliers, and more to use during National Donate Life Month. These materials make it easy for your hospital to educate and share the life-saving message of donation and transplantation; for more information, email And as National Donate Life Month continues, we'll keep you posted on new information and resources.
I will never tire of saying that hospitals are the places people turn to at the most meaningful moments in their lives - the birth of their children, the diagnosis of a grave illness, an unexpected grievous injury. People look to hospitals because hospitals offer hope for a long, fulfilling life. Organ donation offers that same hope - a hope for which 3,800 of our neighbors and friends must wait until more people sign up to become organ donors. I encourage you to participate in National Donate Life Month, so that your organization will offer hope, in a different way, to even more Marylanders.

Spotlighting Some of the 100+ Bills MHA is Tracking This Session

Maryland Patient Referral Law- Compensation Arrangements under Federally Approved Programs and Models (SB 369/HB 403)
This week, Senate Bill 369, which modernizes Maryland's physician self-referral law, passed both chambers and is now headed to Governor Hogan for his signature. This legislation removes barriers to collaborative partnerships among hospitals and doctors by creating an exemption to the self-referral law for practitioners if they are participating in a compensation arrangement under a federally approved model. In addition, this bill maintains the critical safeguards in Maryland law that prevent referral whenever a provider has an ownership or beneficial interest. This is an important step forward to ensure our success under the All-Payer Model by encouraging hospitals and doctors to partner to improve patient care.
Heroin and Opioid Prevention Effort (HOPE) and Treatment Act of 2017 (HB 1329/SB 967)
After extensive work sessions in the House and Senate, the Democratic leadership bill finally began moving through the General Assembly this week. Containing elements from some of the more than 40 opioid bills introduced this session, HB 1329/SB 967 represents a comprehensive, all-hands-on-deck approach to addressing the opioid crisis. HB 1329/SB 967 requires:
  • The Governor to establish crisis treatment centers throughout Maryland
  • The Department of Health & Mental Hygiene to establish and operate a 24/7 health crisis hotline where Marylanders can access information such as the name and address of facilities that provide detoxification services
  • DHMH to establish guidelines for the co-prescribing of opioid overdose reversal drugs for all licensed health care providers in the state
  • Hospitals to report their protocols for discharging patients treated for a drug overdose to the Maryland Hospital Association. MHA  must then submit a report on these protocols to the General Assembly
  • The Governor to make a significant and ongoing investment in community behavioral health services
At Work in Annapolis
This week, the General Assembly passed the final version of the fiscal year 2018 state budget. While the $25 million spend-down of the Medicaid tax was delayed in fiscal year 2018, MHA secured an additional $20 million spend-down commitment for fiscal years 2019 and 2020. This translates to a $70 million commitment to reduce the tax over the next two years. Additionally, full funding for Maryland's Institutions for Mental Diseases was maintained. With only one week of session left, MHA continues to work on a number of bills, including stopping legislation that would provide an exemption to the patient self-referral law benefiting certain oncology centers. Links to bills and MHA's position papers can be found in this week's Advocacy Dashboard.
Statewide Meeting Addresses Hospitals' Role in Opioid Crisis
Nearly 50 representatives from Maryland's hospitals on Wednesday attended a statewide meeting of emergency department leaders to discuss hospitals' role in addressing Maryland's opioid crisis. Maryland Deputy Secretary for Public Health Dr. Howard Haft, Opioid Operational Command Center Director Clay Stamp, and Baltimore City Health Department Director of Opioid Overdose Prevention and Treatment Mark O'Brien, spoke at the meeting. The meeting provided a forum todiscuss barriers to implementation as well as best practices for the following interventions:
  • Increasing access to Naloxone (prescribing and dispensing directly)
  • Universal screening for substance use disorder; specifically Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) 
MHA anticipates convening future meetings of emergency department leaders, which may include information on additional interventions such as peer or other therapy referrals/contacts from/in the ED; medication assisted treatment in the ED; and the use of community and local health department services. For more information, contact Sheena Siddiqui
Dozens Attend Equity of Care Training
Dozens of representatives from Maryland's hospitals attended on Thursday the American Hospital Association's inaugural training symposium to help them meet the goals of the Equity of Care pledge. Maryland is the first state in the nation to have 100 percent of its hospitals commit to the national Equity of Care campaign, launched by five national health care associations (American College of Healthcare Executives, American Hospital Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, America's Essential Hospitals and Catholic Health Association of the United States). Thursday's training focused on data collection and the development of concrete strategies to implement the goals of the Equity of Care pledge at individual hospitals and health systems. The goals include: increasing the collection and use of race, ethnicity and language preference data; increasing cultural competency training; and increasing diversity in governance and leadership. For more information, visit To learn more about MHA's work with the Maryland Healthcare Education Institute to develop resources to address health disparities, contact Mark Rulle
Hospital Bond Project Application Process Opens
The application process for the 2017 Hospital Bond Project opened this week. All application materials can be found on our website at Hospitals should request correspondence for Certificate of Need non-coverage determination from the Health Services Cost Review Commission and Maryland Health Care Commission by Friday, April 28. Applications, including HSCRC and MHCC correspondence and other letters of support, must be submitted by  Friday, June 16. Application forms and other supporting documentation are submitted via hospital-specific SharePoint site. If you have questions, contact  Brett McConeJennifer Witten, or  Jane Krienke. MHA will be hosting a webinar that provides an overview of the 2017 Hospital Bond Program on Tuesday, April 4, at 9 a.m. Click here for more details and to register.
DHMH Asks for Review of Environmental Scan
The Department of Health & Mental Hygiene is seeking hospital input on the Maryland Comprehensive Primary Care Model. Input should be based on an Environmental Scan of organizations interested in the proposed model's practice transformation feature known as Care Transformation Organizations. Hospitals are asked to review the scan and respond to by April 7.
Materials Available from Health IT Security Roundtable
Materials from the Health IT Security User Education Roundtable: A Best Practices Symposium, held at MHA earlier this week are available. A copy of the slide deck can be downloaded here. Attendees are also asked to complete a brief survey to provide their feedback on the event. 
CEOs Invited to Cybersecurity Session
Maryland's hospital CEOs are invited to an American Hospital Association cybersecurity leadership session April 6in Washington, D.C. An AHA-members-only link to the registration page for the session can be found on AHA's special cybersecurity webpage at Leadership Matters: Managing Cybersecurity Risk in Health Care will be held at theLoews Madison Hotel at 1177 Fifteenth Street NW from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The session is tailored for hospital or health system presidents/CEOs in response to requests from AHA members for non-technical resources to help them understand and respond to increasing cybersecurity threats. While it is required that the president/CEO of the hospital or health system attend, he or she may be accompanied by the organization's designated cybersecurity lead. The focus of the session will be best-practice leadership to address an organization's risk and minimize the impacts of cyber-events. Registration is free; participants will cover their travel and lodging expenses (the rate at the Loews Madison Hotel is $339 per night). Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, and is capped at 20 organizations. The program will feature experts from BDO Consulting USA, including John Riggi, former FBI special agent and Section Chief for Cyber Division Outreach, and AHA staff experts on cybersecurity policy. It also will allow attendees to meet with local law-enforcement officials who are focused on cyber-attack response. For more information, contact AHA's Assistant General Counsel Lawrence Hughes at, or 202-626-2346.  
When Population Health Demands a New Focus on Patients
While we'd never admit we don't pay attention (or perhaps "great" attention) to the needs of our patients, we should probably admit that our patients, as consumers of health care, are changing.

Looking for a Cutting Edge Provider for Blood and Associated Services?
For more than 60 years, Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD) has provided blood and blood components to hospitals throughout the Delmarva region, helping avoid blood shortages and saving thousands of lives with assistance from more than 150,000 current donors.

President Establishes Commission to Review Federal Response to Opioid Crisis
President Trump on Thursday issued an executive order establishing a commission to study the scope and effectiveness of the federal response to drug addiction and the opioid crisis, and make recommendations to him for improving the response. 

Tuesday, April 4
MHA Financial Technical Work Group - special meeting regarding financial and technical
  Aspects of the Hospital Care Improvement Program

Thursday, April 6
MHA Financial Technical Work Group meeting
Carmela Coyle to be a panelist for the National Association of Health Services Executives
  Roundtable in Washington D.C.

The Baltimore Sun, By Ian Duncan, March 24
CBS Baltimore, By Amy Yensi, March 26
The Baltimore Sun, By Meredith Cohn, March 27
The Baltimore Sun, By John Fritze, March 27
The Daily Record, By Tim Curtis, March 28
The Baltimore Sun, By Meredith Cohn, March 29
The Washington Post, By Associated Press, March 29
Capital Gazette, By Amanda Yeager, March 29