MHA Update Newsletter
February 20, 2015
Save the Dates!

 June 1 and 2, 2015

MHA Annual Meeting
Four Seasons

Hotel Baltimore


MHEI Programs & Webinars

February 27

WEBINAR: Clinical Documentation Improvement: The Key to Success with ICD-10


Quick Links


Fighting For Medicaid

Maryland's new governor is following through on his campaign promise to balance the state's structural deficit without raising taxes and, if he can convince legislative leadership, to lower or eliminate some taxes.


While his budget proposal attempts to tackle a long-running fiscal issue in Maryland, every sector takes a hit under the governor's plan. Health care, transportation and education, identified by the governor as top drivers of the deficit, are at the top of the list. And while many of us recognize that some reductions are necessary to get Maryland's fiscal house in order, advocates for causes like education are fighting hard and publicly to have their share of the cuts reduced.


This is where things get highly political and highly complex. If revenue is restored to other areas of the budget, health care - including as much as $200 million in state Medicaid funding - could again be on the chopping block.


That is simply not an acceptable proposition. In case you haven't seen it, MHA had an op-ed in the Center Maryland blog this week explaining how Medicaid cuts damage both health care providers and Maryland's most vulnerable. We're now working with other health care providers and advocates to make sure that our message is heard and heeded as the budget process unfolds.


It's critical to make a public and compelling case for preserving important programs like Medicaid. I encourage you to share the messages outlined in the op-ed with your local delegates and senators - that hospitals and our new waiver are part of the budget solution, that there's a strong economic development case for supporting health care spending and that cuts to this program affect 1.2 million Marylanders, one-fifth of the state's population.

Carmela signature
In This Issue
At Work in Annapolis

On Wednesday, MHA provided written support for Senate Bill 195 Mental Health - Voluntary and Involuntary Admissions,which adds psychiatric nurse practitioners to the list of those who can approve the admission of minors to a facility for the treatment of mental disorders and for involuntary admission to such a facility or to a Veterans' Administration hospital. The bill also adds psychiatric nurse practitioners to the list of those who can submit the required certificate for involuntary admission. Under current law, a physician and a psychologist may be called on to sign a certificate for involuntary admission into a mental health treatment facility, as long as there is evidence of imminent danger to the life or safety of the individual. In areas of the state with shortages of mental health professionals, psychiatric nurse practitioners are called on to treat individuals suffering from mental health illnesses. This legislation would allow psychiatric nurse practitioners, in concert with physicians, to produce the certificate required to provide health services for those who need treatment.


On Thursday, MHA testified in support, with amendments, on HB 327 Health Ambulatory Surgical Facility Definition,which alters the definition of an ambulatory surgical facility to one that operates primarily to provide surgical services to patients who require a period of postoperative observation, but not hospitalization that lasts more than 24 hours. While the bill as originally drafted addresses the time constraints for an ambulatory surgical center, it did not precisely reflect the definition as drafted by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. MHA proposed an amendment to clarify this definition and mirror federal regulations, which define an ambulatory surgical facility as one operating exclusively to provide surgical services to patients who require a period of postoperative observation but not hospitalization, and in which the expected duration of services would not exceed 24 hours following admission. 


MHA staff and partners prepare for key legislative hearings in the next couple of weeks on critical policy issues. 


Contact: Jennifer Witten

MHA Executive Committee Minutes Posted
The minutes from the January 27 MHA Executive Committee meeting are available on the MHA website
Emergency Medicine Summit to Focus on Population Health
MHEI new logoEven if you are not directly connected to an emergency department, you may be interested in attending the Maryland Healthcare Education Institute's first Value Based Emergency Medicine Summit to gain more insight about population health. Emergency departments are responsible for more than 50 percent of all hospital admissions, and optimization of these departments could be the key to success under the revised Medicare waiver. As health care moves into the era of population health, all organizations will rely on coordinated efforts to deliver better, faster, and less expensive services. This summit, to be held March 13 in Baltimore, will feature in-depth discussions of best practices and innovative strategies to optimize emergency departments and attendees will have an opportunity to share how an efficiently and effectively managed emergency department can help achieve these goals and reduce readmissions. The program agenda is available on the MHEI website.

Contact: Kelly Heacock
The Week Ahead

Wednesday, February 25

MHA Joint Quality/Finance Work Group meeting

Top News from This Week


Here's a First: January Hospital Prices Lower Than a Year Ago

Modern Healthcare, Melanie Evans, February 18


Maryland Working on Legal Action on Health Exchange Problems
The Daily Record, By Associated Press, February 18


CareFirst Loses Market Share, But Gains Enrollees in Maryland Health Exchange
Baltimore Business Journal, By Sarah Gantz, February 17


Maryland Health Exchange Gets Twice the Enrollees in Half the Time This Year
Baltimore Business Journal, By Sarah Gantz, February 17


Dying Former Official a Focus of Maryland Assisted Suicide Bill
The Baltimore Sun
, By Erin Cox, February 14


Critics Fault Hogan's Plan to Cut Medicaid Spending
The Baltimore Sun
, By Erin Cox, February 13