January 8, 2016
In Full Swing for the New Year
The 2016 General Assembly session is less than a week away, which means that the hospital field will be in full swing on a lot of important issues that affect your organization, your patients and your communities.
Here's a look at a few of the front burner issues we've been working on in preparation for the upcoming session: 
  • Safeguarding the $25 million Medicaid tax annual spend-down established in the 2015 session
  • Establishing a no-fault birth injury fund to help mitigate Maryland's volatile liability climate
  • Securing a long-term state budget fix to fund the care of adult Medicaid patients at Institutions for Mental Disease
  • Creating flexibility for hospitals to right-size excess inpatient capacity 
Of course, we'll tackle plenty of other issues during session, and there are always a few surprises that pop up each year. The breadth of issues and the importance of each means that we'll all be expending plenty of political and personal capital as we work to improve the state's overall health care environment.
Put another way, we're in this together, and we're stronger when we present a united front to legislators and policymakers.
As we do each year to help with those efforts, MHA has developed a bank of materials to advance our shared goals. They include: 
  • A streamlined 2016 legislative agenda brochure
  • Single-page papers on the top issues
  • High-level infographics to explain at-a-glance the complex concepts behind our issues
  • Regional and statewide leave-behinds on the care delivery transformation
  • A single-page primer on Maryland's modernized Medicare waiver
  • The latest hospital quality reports
  • A pocket-sized, printable card with 10 useful things to know about Maryland's hospitals 
This is just the beginning, of course. More infographics, issue papers, written testimony and position papers will be developed as needed during the course of the legislative session.
We'll also be introducing text messaging alerts for government relations leads so they can be kept informed, in real time, of legislative developments that need prompt attention.
Stay tuned for more as we have it, and buckle up. This will be an exciting ride.

HSCRC Posts Transformation, Infrastructure Reports
The Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) has made available several reports addressing care delivery transformation for calendar year 2015. These include: 
  • Global Budget Revenue Infrastructure Reports - All hospitals were required to submit a report on the amounts and types of investments they are making to improve population health, and how effective these investments are in reducing potentially avoidable utilization and improving population health.
  • Regional Planning Grantee Reports - In February 2015, the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and the HSCRC released an RFP to all hospitals offering funding to support the planning and development of Regional Partnerships for Health System Transformation. A portion of the funding ($2.5 million) was awarded to hospitals that applied to support regional planning and development initiatives with key community partners. Grantees submitted a final Regional Transformation Plan on December 7, 2015.
  • Hospital Strategic Transformation Plans - In June 2015, HSCRC required all hospitals to submit multi-year strategic plans for improving care coordination, chronic care, and provider alignment. All hospitals were required to submit their own strategic plan; in areas where hospitals are partnering, they were required to reference their Regional Partnership Transformation Plan.
Last Call for NICU TeamSTEPPS Webinar
The Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ) will host a webinar January 13 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on the use of TeamSTEPPS to improve quality and safety in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The webinar, "TeamSTEPPS in the NICU and the Role of Leaders in the Process," will feature Jim Rost, M.D., medical director of quality, patient safety in the NICU at Shady Grove Medical Center, and Jennifer Ustianov, M.S., B.S.N., R.N., senior director of the National Institute for Children's Health Quality in Boston. Their presentation will focus on the planning, implementation and sustainment of TeamSTEPPS in the NICU, and will highlight the facilitators and barriers to implementation associated with leadership involvement and support.
The webinar will:
  • Discuss the identification of a need for and the implementation of TeamSTEPPS in the NICU
  • Discuss the importance of leadership (organizational and physician) involvement and buy-in for implementation, planning and execution
  • Present results of the implementation
  • Discuss sustainment strategies
There is no cost to participate. Click here to register.
Global Budget Webcasts Online
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in collaboration with MHA and the American Hospital Association's Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence, provided a five-part webcast series late last year on Global Budgeting for Hospital Services. All webinars are now available to view online.
The sessions include:
  • Across the Care Continuum: Featuring John Chessare, M.D., president and CEO, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Vincent DeMarco, president, Maryland Healthcare for All! Coalition, and Jonathan Blum, executive vice president, CareFirst BlueCross
  • Global Budgeting in Your Neighborhood: Featuring Darrell Gaskin, PhD, associate professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Case Study: Featuring MHA President and CEO Carmela Coyle, along with Carroll Hospital CEO Leslie Simmons
  • The Maryland Experience: Featuring HSCRC Chairman John Colmers and Executive Director Donna Kinzer
  • The Future from the Federal Perspective: Featuring Patrick Conway, M.D., acting principal deputy administrator, deputy administrator for innovation and quality, chief medical officer, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
Baxter Recalls Two IV Solutions
Baxter International Inc. recently recalled certain lots of two intravenous solutions distributed to U.S. customers and distributors between June 6 and Dec. 16, which may contain particulate matter, the Food and Drug Administration reports. The company directed customers not to use product from the two recalled lots, which may be returned for credit. Any associated adverse reactions or quality problems may be reported to the FDA's MedWatch program.
Hospitals Urged to Submit Data to RACTrac Survey
The American Hospital Association is encouraging hospitals to submit data to the quarterly RACTrac survey by January 22. The free web-based survey helps AHA gauge the impact of Medicare's Recovery Audit Contractor program on hospitals and advocate for needed changes. For more information on the RACTrac initiative, visit www.aha.org/RACTrac. To register for the survey or for technical assistance, contact RACTrac support at 888-722-8712 or ractracsupport@providercs.com.
MHEI Helping Managers with Population Health
While many executives are working on organizational issues surrounding population health, front line managers are often unaware or unsure of what they can do to support those efforts. The Maryland Healthcare Education Institute has several programs scheduled for 2016 to help those managers.

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

Survey: One in Four Working-Age Adults Reports Problems Paying Medical Bills
About one in four adults under age 65 say they or someone in their household had problems paying medical bills in the past year, according to a survey released this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Wednesday, January 13
Total Cost of Care Work Group meeting
Health Services Cost Review Commission meeting

Thursday, January 14
Financial Technical Work Group meeting
Washington Business Journal, By Tina Reed, January 1
The Washington Post, By Arelis R. Hernandez, January 2
Capital Gazette, By Wendi Winters, January 3
Maryland Reporter, By Len Lazarick, January 4
Kaiser Health News, By Anna Gorman, January 6
Baltimore Business Journal, By Sarah Gantz, January 6
The Baltimore Sun, By Andrew Michaels, January 6