MHA Update Newsletter
January 5, 2015
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Happy New Year and welcome to this interim edition of MHA's Friday Update newsletter. Wanted to just catch you up on a few issues of importance that arose during the holiday break. We'll pick up again Friday with the regularly scheduled Update.

In This Issue
DHMH Unveils Behavioral Health, Overdose Plans
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced two initiatives designed to improve care coordination for behavioral health patients. The first, a plan to address overdoses, has three stages: establish a voluntary reporting protocol of all nonfatal overdoses with at least five pilot hospitals, extend the protocol to all hospitals, and review the experiences. The second plan, which launched the Behavioral Health Integration, creates a single financing structure for mental health and substance use disorder treatment under Medicaid. Medicaid will oversee funding for both mental health and substance use disorder treatment through an Administrative Services Organization, a single point of entry for providers and consumers within the Public Behavioral Health System. DHMH, through the Administrative Service Organization, will provide resources to help improve care coordination, including: a 24-7 phone number for consultation and referral, greater access to pharmacy data for behavioral health providers, and tools for screening for depression, addiction, and other conditions. MHA is working to understand more fully how these initiatives will be deployed and whether Gov.-Elect Larry Hogan's administration supports the efforts or might take a different approach.
MHA Requests Action on Rate Increase Request
In a December 30 letter to the Health Services Cost Review Commission, MHA requested action on a Dec. 5 request for a 0.75 percent rate increase. At the Dec. 5 meeting when the request was made, HSCRC staff asked the commission's Payment Models work group to analyze the increase and make a recommendation. MHA's letter asks that the commission approve the request at its January 14 meeting. The letter states, in part, "Waiver performance for 2014 is now clear: Maryland hospitals will save Medicare some $53 million to $65 million in the first year of the new model, exceeding both the first and second year savings goal; Maryland hospital spending will grow at about 2.0 percent per capita, well below the 3.58 percent per capita ceiling. ... Maryland hospitals must retool to address not only the acute care needs of patients, but the broader health care needs and non-clinical barriers that must be overcome to meet the tight constraints of the new waiver. Now is the time for the state and the Commission to be our partner and invest a small portion of the return already generated to allow for the investments hospitals need to make now to ensure Maryland's future success under the waiver."
HSCRC to Hold Meeting on Defensive Medicine
The HSCRC will present a meeting/webinar this Friday on the cost of defensive medicine. The meeting, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. in the Krongard Room at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, will feature a briefing on research that Diane Hoffmann (University of Maryland Law School) and Dr. Bradley Herring (Johns Hopkins School of Public Health) are conducting on the cost of defensive medicine and any implications for Maryland's all-payer model. Hoffmann and Herring will present their research and allow for questions for the first hour; the second hour will allow for comments from stakeholders. This research will culminate in a paper that will be submitted to HSCRC staff.
Hogan Names Key Cabinet Members
Gov.-Elect Larry Hogan named his appointees for two positions important to the health care field. Van T. Mitchell, a Democrat, will be Maryland's next health secretary. Mitchell served as deputy health secretary under Gov. Robert Ehrlich, spent a decade in the legislature and chaired a House subcommittee overseeing the health department budget. Al Redmer will be the state's insurance commissioner. Redmer was a delegate from 1991 to 2003 and served as insurance commissioner from 2003 to 2005.
Board of Physicians Offers Reporting Requirement Training This Thursday
The Maryland Board of Physicians has scheduled a training on Mandated Reporting Requirements for Hospitals, Related Institutions and Alternative Health Systems for this Thursday, January 8.  This full-day training was developed by the Board to provide greater clarity for providers that have previously submitted reports.  Attendees will receive information on reporting requirements, statutorily mandated six-month reports and 10-day reports, required information for the reports, and more. To register contact Kim Jackson at: or (410) 764-4767.