August 7, 2015
The Hunt for Red Tape

Governor Larry Hogan last month signed an executive order creating a Regulatory Reform Commission to "undertake a comprehensive review of Maryland's regulatory climate ..." We're working closely with the administration on two fronts. We are attempting to secure hospital representation, although the commission will only have 12 members to consider regulatory impact on a lot of areas besides health care - transportation, environment, business and banking, labor, agriculture and tourism among them. And we are working to make sure that the commission hears from hospitals at the public meetings it will hold in regions across the state, especially the regulatory red tape that challenges your ability to take care of people and to thrive not only as a health care provider but also as a critical economic engine.


How will we do that? Details are being worked out, but our plan is to reach out to you to identify someone in your organization who will be the lead for this effort, identifying and sharing with us the kinds of red tape that need attention. We'll plan a series of conference calls with these leads, gather the information, work the issues through MHA's three governing councils (in this case, the councils on legislation and regulation, quality, and finance working together) and keep in touch with the commission directly and via your hospital's attendance at the regional meetings.


No word yet on when the commission will begin meeting, but we're looking to get our coordination effort started sometime in September so we can be ready when the commission does hit full stride. And while federal regulations and Joint Commission issues clearly can't be the focus of a gubernatorial commission, there are plenty of state-level issues that affect how you take care of patients, how you serve your communities, and how you maintain a workforce that is among the largest in the state. We see this commission as an opportunity for us to work together with willing listeners to point out where red tape is getting in the way.

MHA Supports State's Effort to Secure Behavioral Health Grant
MHA has sent a letter to Maryland Health Secretary Van Mitchell expressing support for the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene's application for a $2 million federal planning grant to help develop certified community behavioral health clinics. As many as 24 states could receive funds from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The funds will help plan the development of at least two clinics - one in a rural area and one in an urban area. MHA noted that "behavioral health issues being experienced in our state are touching each and every one" of Maryland's hospitals, and that there is a need "for ambulatory services that can provide timely and efficient care before a situation or condition escalates to the point that the patient ends up in a hospital."

Contact: Nora Hoban
Maryland PDMP Users Now Can Access Other States' Data
The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) in Maryland gives health care providers an easy and secure way to identify patients' prescription opioid drug use and determine whether they are at risk of addiction or overdose. Starting this week, Maryland providers will be able to access out-of-state PDMP data. The data (beginning with information from Virginia and expanding to other neighboring states and sates of interest) will be available to Maryland PDMP clinical users through the Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP). Click here for the state's press release.
FCC Clarifies Rules Under Telephone Consumer Protection Act

The American Hospital Association has released a legal advisory with highlights of a July 10 Federal Communications Commission order regarding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The order:

  • Confirms that, when a patient provides his or her telephone number to a health care provider, the patient gives prior express consent for health care-related calls and text messages subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), provided that those calls and texts are made by a HIPAA-covered entity or its business associates, and that such consent may be obtained through a third party when a patient is medically incapacitated.
  • Provides that certain types of "free-to-end-user" health care-related calls are exempt from the TCPA.
  • Adopts a broad definition of "automatic telephone dialing system," meaning that prior express consent will be required for practically all calls and texts to wireless numbers, with the exception of certain categories of free-to-end-user health care-related and financial messages.
  • Finds that, when a wireless telephone number has been reassigned to a different subscriber, a caller is liable for TCPA violations arising out of calls made to the reassigned number, even if the caller had sufficient prior express consent from the previous subscriber, and does not know that the wireless number has been reassigned. (The FCC exempted from TCPA liability the first call to a reassigned wireless number.)
AHRQ Hosting Webinar on TeamSTEPPS in the ED
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is offering a free webinar on August 12 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on how to implement TeamSTEPPSŪ in the emergency department. The webinar, Implementation of TeamSTEPPS in a High Acuity Environment: A Multifaceted Approach in MetroHealth's Emergency Department, aims to: identify teamwork intervention targets in a high acuity environment, apply TeamSTEPPS principles to address identified needs, and describe a multifaceted program that includes practical and sustainable applications of TeamSTEPPS principles. For more information and to register, click here.

MHEI Conference Speaker Approaches Medicine as a "Life" Question


"The core of palliative care is why it was created-to address the whole person and that person's relationship to themselves, their family and their community...not just their disease. We are looking at what is meaningful to them. We are asking the questions: What do you want now? What is important to you? What do you need? (excerpt from

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 to avoid blood shortages and saving thousands of lives with assistance from more than 150,000 current donors.

CDC Recommends Community-Wide Approach to Preventing Antibiotic Resistance


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week recommended that public health departments track and alert health care facilities to drug-resistant outbreaks in their area, and work with them to reduce the threat of germs transferring between facilities.


Tuesday, August 11
MHA Council on Clinical & Quality Issues meeting
MHA Executive Committee conference call

Wednesday, August 12
Health Services Cost Review Commission meeting

Thursday, August 13
MHA Financial Technical Work Group meeting

Prince George's County is Losing a Hospital

Washington Business Journal, By Tina Reed, July 31


New Md. Insurance Plan Pushes Patient-Centered Care

The Daily Record, By Daniel Leaderman, July 31


Obamacare Reduces Maximum Out-Of-Pocket Costs, But Not Enough for Some

USA Today, By Jayne O'Donnell and Laura Ungar, August 3


Tax-Exempt Hospitals Spend Just as Much on Charity Care as For-Profits, Study Finds

The Washington Post, By Robert Gebelhoff, August 4


Maryland Maternity Access Coalition Expresses Concern for Laurel Regional Maternity Patients

The Baltimore Sun, By Andrew Michaels, August 4


Hospitals Must Work Together to Prevent Superbug Spread, CDC Says

The Baltimore Sun, By Eryn Brown, August 4


Yelp, ProPublica to Give Consumers More Data on Health Care Facilities

USA Today, By Trisha Thadani, August 5


Deadly Infections from Medical Scopes Go Unreported, Raising Health Risks

USA Today, By Peter Eisler, August 5