February 26, 2016
A Target on Our Chest
We're at the midpoint of the General Assembly's legislative session, and while hospitals have made significant strides in advancing our priorities, the volume of bills has been nothing short of staggering. Some are well-meaning but carry unintended consequences; others are clearly designed to weaken hospitals' ability to take care of communities.
 
One of the latter bills was the subject of a hearing Wednesday. I testified before the Senate Finance Committee on Senate Bill 601, a dangerous proposal that would require hospitals to explicitly include in their annual community benefits reports the value of all their tax exemptions. This bill does nothing short of paint a bright, red target on the chest of Maryland's hospitals. A side-by-side comparison of the value of community benefits and the value of tax exemptions, without a deeper examination of hospitals' budgets and operations, as well as the needs of their communities, invites challenges your tax-exempt status.
 
Similar fights are taking place in Illinois and New Jersey, as local governments look to hospitals to backfill budget shortfalls. While the proponents of SB 601 have stated that their goal is simply to promote transparency, it's clear that a more specific purpose is intended: to foster a conversation about the tax-exempt status of Maryland's hospitals.
 
As every one of Maryland's hospitals is a nonprofit entity, this bill is tantamount to an existential threat to your mission. Our testimony noted Maryland's status as one of the most regulated states in terms of hospital community benefit reporting, and raised concerns about the impact of the bill on community health, jobs, and the Medicare waiver. It was well-received. Henry Bogdan, director of public policy for the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations, also testified in opposition, noting the impropriety of comparing the value of tax-exemption to community benefits in isolation of the many other services that hospitals provide to their communities.
 
While we certainly hope the bill won't advance beyond the committee stage, its fate is uncertain, and yet another example of the annual battles that our field must wage to protect the kind of care and services your communities need. We appreciate your continued support, in Annapolis and elsewhere, as we work together to help legislators and policymakers understand hospitals' invaluable impact on Maryland.

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SAVE THE DATE
MHA's 2016 Annual 
Membership Meeting

June 13 and 14, 2016
Four Seasons Hotel, Baltimore
MHAOnline.org

MHEI PROGRAMS AND WEBINARS
March 1
Management Boot Camp
At Work in Annapolis
Today marks the halfway point of the 2016 Legislative Session. MHA continues to testify on behalf of members in several bill hearings. Work groups on various issues have begun meeting to finalize legislation. The Senate version of the No-Fault Birth Injury Fund bill was heard this week in addition to legislation regarding freestanding medical facilities, substance use treatment, community benefits and tax exemptions, and network adequacy. Read more in today's Advocacy Dashboard. Video of MHA testimony on several of these issues is available here.
Share Your Stories for National Patient Safety Week
National Patient Safety Awareness Week is March 13-19 and the American Hospital Association (AHA) is encouraging hospitals to participate by sharing their success stories with local news media, their staff, the community and patients. Hospitals can find an example of a case study to assist with compiling their stories on the AHA's Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence site. AHA is also asking hospitals to share their stories with them so that they can amplify your message on the national level. To share your stories with AHA or for more details, contact Matt Fenwick, director of programs and partnership development for Health Research & Educational Trust, at 312-422-2820 or mfenwick@aha.org or Jennifer Schleman, AHA senior associate director of media relations, at 202-638-5491 or jschleman@aha.org. You can also learn more at the National Patient Safety Week website.
Nursing Scholarship Program Established
The University of Maryland School of Nursing has a new scholarship opportunity for registered nurses to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. The Conway Scholars Program anticipates making awards to 125 students in the RN-to-BSN track and another 32 students in the entry-level BSN track. If you know of any candidates for this scholarship, contact Jane Kirschling, director of Interprofessional Education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, at 410-706-6741 or kirschling@son.umaryland.edu.
MHA Executive Committee Minutes Available
The minutes from the January Executive Committee meeting are available on the Governance page on our website. Members must be logged in to download the minutes.
Great Change Needs a Great Many Leaders
 
The change that we call "population health" requires new actions from current leaders but it also needs more new leaders. Given the pace of change and the need for every action to ensure patient engagement, safety and quality, as well as an acute attention to costs and rooting out waste, the more "leaders" each organization has, the better equipped it will be to handle the change. 

Prime Offers Solutions for Market Analyses, Intelligence and Forecasting
 
Prime's affiliate, MedAssets, has acquired Sg2, a leading provider of health care market intelligence, strategic analytics and clinical consulting services. Sg2 delivers an easy access platform of predictive analytics and consulting services that helps more than 1,400 hospitals and health systems - from small community hospitals to large integrated delivery networks - understand current and future market dynamics and capitalize on opportunities for growth and performance.

New AHA Cybersecurity Resource:
Ransomware - Emerging Cybersecurity Risk for
Health Care Organizations
 
AHA invites you to listen to a new cybersecurity audio recording, Ransomware: Emerging Cybersecurity Risk for Health Care Organizations. By listening to this short dialog, health care leaders can gain a better understanding of ransomware, how it can impact an organization's information systems, and strategies for reducing the risk that ransomware could impact their respective organization.

THE WEEK AHEAD
Thursday, March 3
MHA Council on Legislative & Regulatory Policy meeting
TOP NEWS FROM THE WEEK
The Baltimore Sun, By Andrea K. McDaniels, February 19
 
Baltimore Business Journal, By Sarah Gantz, February 22
 
The Baltimore Sun, By Rachael Pacella, February 22
 
Baltimore Business Journal, By Sarah Gantz, February 22
 
The Baltimore Sun, By Meredith Cohn, February 23
 
The Washington Post, By The Associated Press, February 25
 
NPR, By Audie Cornish, February 24