November 17, 2017
Mary Pat Seurkamp, Ph.D.
MHA Board Chair
With Deep Appreciation
As we enter the Thanksgiving holiday, our thoughts naturally turn toward all the things in life for which we are grateful: family, friends, work, health, love, laughter. And when we express gratitude for these gifts, we also contemplate their potential loss.
What would life be like without our friends? Without our meaningful work? Without our health?
It is on this last question that I'd like to take a moment to say thank you to the nearly 100,000 women and men who work in Maryland's hospitals - at all hours and sacrificing time with their own families - so that others might receive the gifts of health, and life.
Their work is more than a job. It is a calling.
In the past several months, hospital workers nationwide have been called to duty - to care for victims of hurricanes, mass shootings, wildfires. These are tragedies on a grand scale, but for every nurse, doctor, food service worker, hospital volunteer, they are deeply personal, because the ill and injured transform from statistics in a headline to a patient in their care.
This is why I am so grateful, because throughout the nation, and certainly here in Maryland, hospital workers continue to uphold a promise that has existed since hospitals first opened their doors: We will take care of you.
During this holiday season, I'm thankful for the chance to serve you, as we at your hospital association work to keep our promise: to help you do the work to which you have been called. 
HSCRC Considers Mid-Year Rate Action
This week at its monthly public meeting, the Health Services Cost Review Commission began a discussion of the potential for a mid-year rate reduction to address its concerns about the Medicare total cost of care growth for calendar year 2018. Further consideration of hospital rates will take place at the December meeting. Commissioners also took final action on their Medicare Performance Adjustment and Interhospital Cost Comparison methodologies and policies. Read more in this month's edition of Newsbreak.
MHA, CRISP to Hold Meeting on Behavioral Health Data
MHA and CRISP will hold a meeting Tuesday, December 5 to facilitate a discussion between hospital policy leaders on effective and appropriate sharing of clinical behavioral health data, including implications of federal and state regulations. CRISP will provide an overview of new behavioral health related projects, and hospital leaders should be prepared to share their hospitals' policies and procedures to facilitate the sharing of sensitive health information, including mental health and substance use disorder data. The meeting will be from 1-3:00 p.m. at MHA. The person responsible for these decisions (compliance officer, CMIO, behavioral health lead) at each hospital is invited. Contact Nicole Stallings for more details.
MHA Comments on Remote Monitoring, Surgical Services
MHA sent a comment letter this week to the Maryland Department of Health on the new regulations to COMAR 10.09.96 - Remote Patient Monitoring. While MHA and its member hospitals support the plan to expand coverage to remote patient monitoring for Maryland Medical Assistance Program participants for certain chronic conditions, there is concern that participants would only be provided coverage for two months per episode and two episodes per year.
MHA sent another comment letter this week to the Maryland Health Care Commission on its proposed revisions to the State Health Plan for General Surgical Services. Several questions that MHA asked the MHCC in August were not addressed in a September presentation on the State Health Plan and MHA would like those issues to be addressed with a clarification in language.
State to Hold Regional Meetings on Primary Care
The Maryland Department of Health anticipates that the Maryland Primary Care Program will begin next summer, pending federal approval. Meanwhile, the state is holding four regional meetings to enhance understanding of the program. The meetings will provide in-depth discussion and address questions specific to each area of the state.  
Physician registration has been lagging so please pass along this information to those who should attend. Please contact with questions.
When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Talking
Though actions may speak louder than words, sometimes what we need are the right words followed by the right actions to solve a difficult situation.

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.

AHA guide offers strategies for improving transportation for patients
A new AHA guide offers strategies and case examples to help hospitals and health systems address transportation issues in their communities. 

The Baltimore Sun, By Meredith Cohn, November 10
The Baltimore Times, November 10
Baltimore Business Journal, By Morgan Eichensehr, November 13
Washington Business Journal, By Tina Reed, November 13, November 14
The Frederick News-Post, By Kate Masters, November 14
Healthcare IT News, By Bill Siwicki, November 14
WMDT, By Dani Bozzini, November 14
Baltimore Business Journal, By Morgan Eichensehr, November 15
Maryland Matters, By Samuel Manas, November 15
MHA's offices will be closed Thursday, November 23 and Friday, November 24 for the
Thanksgiving holiday; there will be no MHA Update newsletter on November 24.
Update will return Friday, December 1.