March 11, 2016
Patient Safety Is the First Priority
Sunday marks the beginning of National Patient Safety Awareness Week, the annual highlight of an ongoing education and engagement campaign that aims to shine the spotlight on this important issue.
The National Patient Safety Foundation, which spearheads the campaign, offers multiple ways for health care professionals to get involved. For our part, MHA will be releasing Quality Matters, an annual report that takes a look at the extensive work Maryland's hospitals are doing to keep patients safe. The report, which includes information from calendar year 2015, notes several achievements. In the past year, Maryland's hospitals have: 
  • Agreed (100 percent of acute care hospitals) to strict emergency department guidelines when prescribing opioids to help curb the state's epidemic of abuse
  • Helped Maryland earn recognition by the March of Dimes as the first state in the nation to have 100 percent of its birthing hospitals reduce the rate of early elective deliveries to less than 5 percent for six consecutive months
  • Committed to a national campaign designed to reduce and eliminate health disparities across racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups (we're still working to reach 100 percent participation, but it's close)
  • Launched kIDsafe, a statewide public awareness campaign to protect children from identity theft
  • Reduced preventable infections and complications by more than 37 percent
  • Reduced the readmissions rate faster than the rest of the nation
  • Achieved a 94 percent compliance rate for hand hygiene best practices 
These accomplishments are impressive, especially given that they've been made under fixed annual budgets during a time of tremendous transformation in the way we as a field and as individual hospitals do things.
But there's still work to be done.
Recently released CDC data showed us there is plenty of room for improvement in Maryland's rates of MRSA, C. difficile and catheter-associated urinary tract infections. These are challenges we can meet together.
As you take some time this week to reaffirm our shared conviction that first, hospitals should do their patients no harm, it's also worthwhile to examine your successes - both as opportunities for learning and as reminders of the amazing work you do every day to serve your patients and communities.

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MHA's 2016 Annual 
Membership Meeting

June 13 and 14, 2016
Four Seasons Hotel, Baltimore

March 17
March 18
At Work in Annapolis
This week, MHA wrapped up bill hearings on priority issues, including Freestanding Medical Facilities, community benefits, Patient Bill of Rights, physician alignment and the Care Act. Video from the Freestanding Medical Facilities hearing is available on our video testimony page. Budget hearings have also concluded and the fiscal year 2017 state budget was approved today by the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. The full Senate will begin considering the budget next week. More details are available in this week's Advocacy Dashboard.
Supplemental Budget Includes IMD Funding
The Senate Budget & Taxation Committee this morning approved the fiscal year 2017 state budget, after Governor Hogan issued a supplemental budget with an additional $3 million for Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMDs). The budget includes language to provide the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, which has spoken about its commitment to fund IMDs at budget hearings, the flexibility to move savings within its budget to fund IMDs should the federal funding not come through. The Committee also adopted budget language that will require the Department of Legislative Services to study demand and capacity for psychiatric patients in emergency departments. The budget will be on the Senate floor next week and the House will then begin making its decisions. MHA continues to pursue multiple tracks to secure funding.
HSCRC Focuses on Readmissions
A significant portion of Wednesday's monthly Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) meeting was devoted to a proposed readmissions reduction incentive program for fiscal year 2018 rates (calendar year 2016 performance year). This was the first HSCRC meeting for new commissioner Victoria (Tori) Bayless, President & CEO of Anne Arundel Health System. As described in this month's Newsbreak, commissioners also discussed a draft recommendation on total amounts at risk for their quality-based programs and received an update on Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients activities.
MHCC Accepting Grant Applications for Telehealth
The Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) is accepting applications for grants through its Telehealth Technology Project.  MHCC will fund one or more grants on a competitive basis to demonstrate the impact of using telehealth technology to support value-based care delivery in primary care where the applicant(s) aim to expand patient access to health services tailored to the needs of different communities and patient populations. Funding is for a total of $90,000 for one or more grants for an 18-month period and requires a 2:1 financial match rate, among other things. Grant applications are due to MHCC by 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 5. Details are available here.
AHA Executive Headed to Anne Arundel
Maulik Joshi, Associate Executive Vice President for the American Hospital Association and President of the Health Research & Educational Trust, will be taking a position as Executive Vice President of Integrated Care Delivery and Chief Operating Officer of Anne Arundel Health System. He leaves his duties at AHA in April. During his tenure at AHA, Joshi led multiple, major national clinical improvement initiatives - such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Hospital Engagement Network and several Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality national programs. He was instrumental in designing and launching the National Call to Action to Eliminate Health Care Disparities in 2011, followed by the launch of the #123forEquity Pledge campaign in 2015.
Resource Available for Physician Feedback
The Agency for Healthcare Resource and Quality's (AHRQ) new resource, Confidential Physician Feedback Reports: Designing for Optimal Impact on Performance, offers health care organizations evidence-based strategies to design and implement effective physician performance feedback reports. Whether you are refining or creating a new physician feedback report system, this AHRQ resource can help your team implement these four evidence-based strategies: identify a clinical focus to improve, ensure the input data supports the report aims, optimize the functional use of the reports, and deliver reports to promote impact.
Working with the "Population" on Population Health
While not at the forefront of everyone's thinking, population health is sure to demand a new relationship between providers and patients; one that will be more tolerant and accepting of patient/family needs and wants, as well as one that demands providers be skilled at informing patients and family of the consequences of non-compliance with prescribed treatments and medications.

Prime Presents Revenue Opportunity
The Mainsail Group helps clients find new and significant means of revenue and cost containment. They help hospitals form strategic partnerships with consumer brands in a manner that is supportive of a health system's mission of care.

Senate Approves Bipartisan Bill to Address Opioid Epidemic

The U.S. Senate voted 94-1 Thursday to approve the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524), bipartisan legislation to address the nation's opioid epidemic.

Tuesday, March 15
MHA Council on Financial Policy meeting

Wednesday, March 16
MHA Total Cost of Care Work Group meeting
The Baltimore Sun, By Andrew Michaels, March 9,
The Baltimore Sun, By Bryna Zumer, March 9
The Daily Record, By Daniel Leaderman, March 8
The Baltimore Sun, By David Anderson, March 8
CBS Baltimore, By Pat Warren, March 7
The Daily Record, By Daniel Leaderman, March 7