MHA Update Newsletter
April 10, 2015
Save the Dates!

 June 1 and 2, 2015

MHA Annual Meeting
Four Seasons

Hotel Baltimore


MHEI Programs & Webinars


April 15-16

C.O.R.E. Leadership



April 15

Physician Leadership



April 16

MPSC Root Cause Analysis



April 16

WEBINAR: Transitional Care Codes: Reducing Readmissions


Quick Links



Depending on whether the governor and legislative leaders can work out their differences on the budget, the last day of the 2015 General Assembly session will be this Monday. This was a unique year for many reasons, notably that a new face in the governor's mansion and more than 60 new delegates and senators created an environment where education about our issues was a top priority, but also where ideas from all sides could be heard by fresh ears.


That meant new opportunities. And new threats.


Next week, we'll provide a snapshot summary of how the bills relevant to hospitals fared, and soon after, stay tuned for an action plan of specific steps to take based on new laws and regulations that were passed.


As you know, playing defense against bad bills and bad policy is just as important as pushing for the right legislation to be enacted. While hospitals were successful this year in fending off myriad harmful proposals, their proponents are already strategizing how to revisit these bills next year. And each year is more challenging, as the legislation is continually refined to address concerns raised in previous sessions. As such, our counterarguments must also be refined.


Here are a few examples of bills that promise to continue popping up even though they were defeated this year: 

  • A proposal to triple the cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits
  • A proposal that would have loosened self-referral laws (rules that prevent physicians from referring patients to services in which they have a direct financial interest) for oncologists and for MRI and CT services
  • A proposal that would legislate the care process by mandating hepatitis C screening at hospitals
  • The Maryland AARP proposal that also would codify care by requiring hospitals to designate and train a patient's caregiver

There are others, of course, but by and large, we've been successful this year in heading off the most detrimental proposals. Now, as session winds down and our opponents begin to figure out how to make these bills more palatable for next year, we will prepare for their re-emergence.


Work through our political action committee and with hospitals to develop strategies to combat these bills again next year will begin soon. As you interact with legislators throughout the year, it helps to remind them that hospitals need leeway and flexibility to provide quality health care and to tailor that care to our patients and communities, not prescriptive legislation that gets between us and that mission.


Getting the right legislation passed and preventing bad bills is a multiyear process. As you know, the effort to provide hospitals the right environment in which to operate doesn't end on Sine Die; it takes the united, relentless force of our field to push policy in the right direction so you can best meet the needs of your patients and communities.


Carmela signature
In This Issue
At Work in Annapolis

With Sine Die scheduled for midnight Monday, work will continue throughout the weekend as the legislature seeks to finalize the budget and other loose ends before wrapping for 2015.


Regarding MHA priorities still to be finalized, on Tuesday MHA supported SB607-HB896-Joint Committee on Behavioral Health and Opioid Use Disorders, which incorporates the proposed Blue Ribbon Commission on Behavioral Health. This bill specifies the purposes of the committee to review the final report of the Governor's Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force, review and monitor the activities of the Governor's Inter-Agency Heroin and Opioid Coordinating Council, evaluate the state's behavioral health system and identify needed funding. Amendments were offered by sponsors to alter the staffing requirements to address fiscal note concerns regarding staffing. 


MHA and several partners were successful in blocking an effort to pass HB1101-Department Health and Mental Hygiene - Health Program Integritiy and Recovery Activities. This legislation would have substantially amended current law governing hospital and other health care provider participation in Medicaid by imposing a substantial risk of recoupment of paid claims not based on identified claims errors (those found not to be eligible for reimbursement) but instead on extrapolated data.


MHA provided additional oral testimony this week in support of SB187- Governor's Workforce Investment Board - Workgroup to Study Access to Obstetric Services, which authorizes the Governor's Workforce Investment Board to coordinate with MHA, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene, health occupations boards, the Governor's Workforce Investment Board, and certain other entities and parties, to establish a work group to study access to obstetric services. A report to the governor and certain committees of the General Assembly is due by December 1, 2015

DHMH Seeks Testimony on SAFE Exams

A committee created by last year's Md. General Assembly is seeking public testimony in its effort to determine how to improve access to sexual assault forensic examinations. The Hospital-Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations and Planning Committee (SAFE Committee), composed of 14 governor-appointed members and jointly co-chaired by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, would like to hear from sexual assault survivors, nurses, sexual assault victim advocates, and others about their experiences with the current system in Maryland. DHMH is offering two options to provide public testimony, which will be reviewed by SAFE Committee members. 

  1.  Email comments to
  2.  Anonymous direct mail: Testimony can be mailed to DHMH in an unmarked envelope. The address is:

Joyce Dantzler, Chief, Center for Injury and
            Sexual Assault Prevention

SAFE Committee Co-Chair

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

201 W. Preston St., Room 426

Baltimore, MD 21201


Testimony will be part of the public record; individuals will not need to provide their names unless they choose to do so. The deadline to submit public testimony is May 31.  
BBJ Seeking Nominations for Innovators
For the second year, the Baltimore Business Journal is looking to recognize innovators who have created, implemented and improved original health care products and strategies. The winners of the BBJ's 2015 Health Care Innovators will be judged for strong ideas, results and vision in several categories. Tell BBJ why you think an innovative technology, strategy or product should be honored. How has it improved the way health care is delivered? The winners will be featured in the June 12 print edition of the Baltimore Business Journal and will be recognized at an awards breakfast on June 12. Deadline for nominations is May 15. More details can be found at the Baltimore Business Journal.
Population Health Stirs Courageous Conversations
MHEI new logo"Patient Engagement: Courageous Conversations is the Key" is a program aimed at managers and staff who recognize that having conversations with patients and families about their care has the potential to yield positive, cost-saving results. As we search for the answers consistent with our move toward population health, we recognize the importance that patient compliance and decision-making will play in determining patient outcomes. Staff who are trained in the techniques of "courageous conversations" are better equipped to conduct those conversations. MHEI is offering the program to all members on May 19 at the Elkridge campus. This program is also available to be brought to your own hospital campus and customized for your staff. Click here for program fee information and details on how to register.

Contact: Kelly Heacock
The Week Ahead

Tuesday, April 14

MHA Council on Clinical and Quality Issues meeting


Wednesday, April 15

Joint Quality/Finance Work Group meeting

Health Services Cost Review Commission meeting

Thursday, April 16

Maryland Health Care Commission meeting

Top News from This Week


The Baltimore Sun, By Meredith Cohn, April 3 


Some Practicing Docs Earn More Than Hospital CEOs
Modern Healthcare, By Michael Sandler, April 4


Modern Healthcare, By Bob Herman, April 4


Kaiser Health News, By Jenny Gold, April 7


The Frederick News-Post, By Associated Press, April 7


The New York Times, By Tara Siegel Bernard, April 8