February 2, 2018
Using Data to Drive
Down Disparities
Last month, MHA shared with hospital CEOs and other hospital leaders tasked with reducing health disparities the most recent data on how each hospital fared over the past year. The measures, stratified by race, gender, age, ethnicity and language are: inpatient admissions, readmissions, mortality, and infections.
Every hospital in Maryland pledged to participate in the national Equity of Care campaign , and these data were compiled specifically to help you meet the campaign's four goals:  
  • Choose a quality measure to stratify by race, ethnicity and language preference
  • Determine whether a health care disparity exists, and if so, implement a plan to address the gap
  • Provide cultural competency training for all staff or finalize a plan to ensure staff receives cultural competency training
  • Have a dialogue with the hospital board and leadership team on how the organization reflects the community it serves, and what actions can be taken to address any gaps if the board and leadership do not reflect the community
On February 22, the Maryland Healthcare Education Institute, in partnership with MHA, will host a meeting to discuss how reducing health disparities will play an important role in the next phase of Maryland's All-Payer Model. In that phase hospitals will be held accountable for generating greater cost savings across all health care settings. This significantly overlaps with the population health work you've been doing and the goals of the Equity of Care campaign.
More important than the metrics is the commitment Maryland's hospitals have made to improve the lives of their patients and communities. Inherent in that commitment is a promise to help those people who are more burdened by illness and disease than others, a promise that drives the Equity of Care campaign.
If you'd like more information about health disparities data, the Feb. 22 meeting, or if your organization has not yet designated an Equity of Care lead, email David Simon at dsimon@mhaonline.org .

At Work in Annapolis
The Senate earlier today confirmed Bobby Neall as secretary of health; earlier this week Governor Larry Hogan delivered to the General Assembly the final State of the State Address of this term. MHA testified in support of legislation that allows Maryland to enter the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact and in opposition to legislation that would increase the state's cap on non-economic damages. A significant number of bills were introduced this week to meet today's Senate bill introduction deadline; the House's deadline is next Friday, February 9.
Throughout the legislative session, you can track MHA's activities via our dashboard that provides an overview of the previous week and a look at important hearings and events coming the following week.
MD Hospital Quality Report Available
MHA's annual report on quality in Maryland's hospitals is now available - both as a PDF and hard copy. The streamlined report details how Maryland's hospitals have improved the quality of care over the past year and can be used during public presentations, board meetings and in other settings. Among this year's highlights:
  • Over the past three years, hospitals have reduced preventable infections and complications by more than 43 percent
  • Hospitals reduced Medicare readmissions rates faster than the rest of the nation; they are now lower than the national rate
  • In 2016, 76,000 care alert/plans were created to share information among providers and prevent unnecessary readmissions
  • 100 percent of Maryland's acute care hospitals use specialized discharge protocols for patients treated for an overdose or having a substance use disorder, and either prescribe or dispense naloxone to patients treated for an overdose
To request a hard copy of the report, email Dana Bonistalli .
MHCC Offers Telehealth Learning Session
The Maryland Health Care Commission will hold a virtual learning session at noon February 12 on the selection, adoption, and use of telehealth. Navigating Telehealth Compliance and Reimbursement will describe key federal telehealth laws and state requirements, explain what practice standards physicians must implement when providing these services, describe the types of providers that are able to receive Medicaid reimbursement for telehealth services, and more. A detailed agenda is available here . Click here to register.
Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists Seeks Applicants
Three seats on the Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists will expire on June 30 and the board is seeking interested applicants. The open seats include two for licensed clinical professional counselors and one for a marriage and family therapist. Applications must be submitted online via the Governor's Appointments Office website by April 2. Download the board statute to review the qualifications.
AHA Releases Advocacy Agenda
The American Hospital Association this week released its 2018 advocacy agenda, designed to influence the public policy environment for patients, communities, and the health care field. AHA plans to work with its members, the state, regional and metropolitan hospital associations, national health care organizations, and other stakeholders to develop and implement an advocacy strategy to fulfill its vision. The advocacy agenda includes two versions - "highlights" and a more in-depth report.
Applications Being Accepted for Foster G. McGaw Prize
The American Hospital Association, along with Baxter International Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust, is accepting applications through April 6 for the 2018 Foster G. McGaw Prize. The prize honors health care organizations that have demonstrated exceptional commitment to community service. Applicants should showcase strong leadership within their community, a commitment to service and care, partnerships that help meet community needs, a breadth and depth of community service initiatives, and a high level of community involvement. The winner will receive a $100,000 prize, and the top three finalists will receive $10,000 each. For more information, contact Mike McCue at 312-422-3319 or mmccue@aha.org or visit the website at www.aha.org/foster .
Disagreement Can Be Good - Conflict Creates Barriers
When it comes to being able to deal productively with conflict, everyone is not created equal. While some can handle conflict more easily, many of us need years of experience or some good conflict resolution training to be effective.

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DEA Targeting 'Unusual or Disproportionate' Opioid Dispensers
The Drug Enforcement Administration will focus over the next 45 days on pharmacies and prescribers who are dispensing "unusual or disproportionate amounts" of prescription opioid drugs, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced this week.

The Baltimore Sun , By Andrea K. McDaniels, January 26
ABC 2 News , January 30
The Baltimore Sun , By Michael Dresser, January 30
Modern Healthcare , By Virgil Dickson, January 29
The Baltimore Sun , By Ian Duncan, January 31
ABC 2 News , January 31
WFMD , January 31
The Daily Record , By Tim Curtis, January 31