MHA Update Newsletter
February 13, 2015
Save the Dates!

 June 1 and 2, 2015

MHA Annual Meeting
Four Seasons

Hotel Baltimore


MHEI Programs & Webinars

February 17

MPSC Patient Safety Tools Training: Root Cause Analysis


Quick Links


Safety First

Without fail, hospitals are guided by the well-known medical creed: "Primum non nocere" - First, do no harm. This is personified by the relentless efforts to ensure patient safety while providing the highest-quality care. Whether through targeted initiatives like sepsis reduction, or adherence to general best practices like hand-washing compliance, safety is paramount.


Those responsible for applying this principle to all the services a hospital provides are the women and men on the front lines - nurses, doctors, diagnostic technicians, environmental services employees, and so many more - as well as the C-suite executives who provide leadership. Everyone has a role in keeping patients safe.


On March 31, all those women and men will have a prime opportunity to learn from each other as well as to hear firsthand from the nation's top safety experts at the Maryland Patient Safety Center's 11th annual conference; I hope you will encourage your safety teams to attend. The conference will bring together more than 1,500 health care workers, with speakers and breakout groups focusing on how now, more than ever, providers must work in concert, not in silos, to ensure safe, quality care. The conference will offer educational sessions on topics such as health IT, patient/family centered care, continuum of care, professional accountability and human factors.


The event, at the Hilton Baltimore, features nationally recognized speakers Dr. Jennifer Arnold, neonatologist and star of TLC's The Little Couple, and Dr. Robert Wachter, professor and associate chair, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco. The keynote speakers will be complemented by in-depth sessions on topics like nurse fatigue and culture change.


Delivering safe care is a daily practice for all who work in Maryland's hospitals. Conferences like these promise to reinvigorate the sense of purpose that drives hospitals' safety mission, and hone the procedures and practices utilized every day to meet that mission. Please take a quick minute to look through the conference brochure and learn how you and your team can benefit by participating.
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In This Issue
At Work in Annapolis

This week MHA weighed in on several important policy priorities. On Tuesday, MHA testified in opposition of SB127 - Health Care Malpractice Certificate and Report of Qualified Experts. This bill requires, in health care malpractice cases, that an objection to the sufficiency of a certificate of qualified expert or report be filed within 14 days after the filing of the certificate or report. The bill further specifies that, if the arbitration panel chairman or the court rules that a party's certificate or report is legally insufficient, the party must file a legally sufficient certificate or report from an attesting expert within 30 days of the order's entry. Currently, Maryland law does not place a time limit on a defendant's ability to challenge the sufficiency of a claimant's certificate of qualified expert. MHA finds the legislation's 14-day challenge period unacceptable for several reasons. By beginning the response period at the date the certificate was filed, instead of the date it was served, the provision would limit a defendant's ability to challenge the certificate. Claimants typically file their certificates with their statement of claim, but do not serve the documents to the defendants until days or weeks later. In such cases, a defendant would not be able to meet the 14-day requirement; in fact, to meet the timeline, they would need to object to a certificate prior to receiving it.


In Senate Judicial Proceedings, MHA testified in support of SB143 - Health Care Malpractice Claims-Notice of Intent sponsored by Sen. Catherine Pugh. This bill requires a claimant to send a written notice of intent to file a claim against a health care provider for medical injury 180 days before filing the claim to the health care provider. The notice must state the time, place and cause of the injury. This provision is part of a much larger medical liability package that MHA supports, one that includes apology protections and strengthens expert wittiness requirements.   

On Wednesday, MHA testified in support, with amendments, on HB9-SB105 Maryland Home Birth Safety Act, which establishes a licensing and regulation process under the state Board of Nursing for the practice of midwifery by non-nurse professionals. The legislation also establishes an advisory committee within the board to: review applications for licensure, maintain a list of certified direct-entry midwives, create a standardized patient consent form, make recommendations to the board on continuing education requirements, collect data, define specific conditions that require transfer of care and consultation and the conditions for which the midwife may not undertake the care of a patient, and report on care delivered by certified direct-entry midwives. This legislation continues work that began a few years ago to license non-nurse midwives. After failed legislation in the 2014 session, a group of stakeholders met to review and propose changes to a new licensure bill for professional midwives. Although important progress was made, some areas still must be addressed or clarified. MHA will continue to work with the sponsors and stakeholders to ensure that this bill will protect mothers and babies and expand access to quality care.


On Thursday, MHA testified in support of SB69-HB181 State Board of Pharmacy - Sterile Compounding-Compliance by Nonresident Pharmacies and Repeal of Permit Requirement. This bill repeals the requirement that specified entities hold a sterile compounding permit issued by the State Board of Pharmacy before engaging in activities relating to sterile compounding, repeals the requirement that a person who prepares and distributes sterile drug products into or within the state hold a specified permit, repeals the qualifications, fees and other requirements for applying for a sterile compounding permit, makes the act an emergency measure. This emergency bill will certify that nonresident pharmacies are compliant with federal rule USP 797 and will repeal the requirement that a sterile compounding facility hold a permit before performing sterile compounding.


Today marks the final day for House bill introductions without Rules and Executive Nomination Committee consideration; the pace of session will significantly increase over the coming weeks.

HSCRC Continues Work on Readmissions Incentives
The Health Services Cost Review Commissioners this week heard a report from VHQC, the new Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for Maryland, on Maryland readmissions data through the first three quarters of calendar year 2014. In addition, commission staff provided updates on their continued work to develop an updated Readmission Reduction Incentive Program, and the total amounts that would be put at risk for its quality-based payment programs, affecting fiscal year 2017 rates. More details can be found in this month's edition of Newsbreak.
MHEI Assists with Individual Development
MHEI new logoOne of the most important benefits of being a Maryland Healthcare Education Institute member is access to a variety of services for hospital leaders. Although programming for groups of managers is still an important aspect of MHEI work, more members are discovering a need for individual manager coaching and development. MHEI offers a focused, low-cost alternative for leaders who would like to try a unique, tailored approach to developing skills. Using a model based on the tenets of positive psychology and capitalizing on recognized strengths, MHEI staff can assist in assessing, coaching, guiding and developing skills for managers and leaders at any level. Contact MHEI for more details on this unique coaching opportunity.

Contact: Mark Rulle
The Week Ahead

Tuesday, February 17

MHA Council on Financial Policy meeting


Thursday, February 19

Maryland Health Care Commission meeting

Top News from This Week



Women Who Want to Give Birth at Home Seek to Change Restrictive Md. Law
The Baltimore Sun, By Michael Dresser, February 11, 2015


Hospitals May Have Improved Productivity After All
Modern Healthcare, By Melanie Evans, February 11, 2015


Maryland Lawmakers Target Heroin Epidemic
Herald-Mail Media, By Kaustuv Basu, February 10, 2015


In Case of Public Health Emergency, Maryland Would Drop its Religious Exemption for Vaccines
Baltimore Business Journal, By Sarah Gantz, February 10, 2015


Maryland Health Leaders Call for Law Requiring Docs to Report Immunizations
Baltimore Business Journal, By Sarah Gantz, February 10, 2015


Baltimore Health Officials to Parents: 'Vaccines Are ... Our Obligation to One Another'
Baltimore Business Journal, By Sarah Gantz, February 9, 2015


All-Payer Rate Setting: America's Back-Door to Single-Payer?
Vox, By Sarah Kliff, February 9, 2015


The Baltimore Sun, By Andrea K. McDaniels, February 8, 2015