April 15, 2016
See You This Summer
The General Assembly's 2016 legislative session concluded Monday (check out our at-a-glance summary here), but there's no time to exhale. Ahead of a June decision from the Health Services Cost Review Commission on a global budget update for fiscal year 2017, MHA is already full-tilt on advocacy efforts to help commissioners understand the critical need to see hospitals' success under the waiver as a glass half full, not half empty. In other words, the tremendous work you've done to shave costs in this new system should be rewarded with the funding needed to continue moving toward population health, not with a tamping down of funds under a "you've proved you can live with less" mindset.
 
Also in June is our annual meeting, when you and your fellow hospital leaders throughout Maryland connect with your colleagues, participate in meaty discussions with national and local speakers, and learn about what lies ahead for our field in the next months and years.
 
This year's meeting, June 13-June 14, features an impressive lineup: 
  • HSCRC Chairman Nelson Sabatini will discuss the All-Payer Model and how it might evolve after the current five-year experiment comes to an end; the commission's new leader will play a crucial role in the next phase of the waiver, and in its timing
  • Patrick Kennedy, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and scion of the famous family, will share his personal experiences and respected work on mental health care and the policies he is seeking to help us improve as a nation
  • Larry Sabato, founder and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and nationally-recognized political sage and prognosticator, is the "go-to guy" for the national media during every presidential election; he will bring you the latest on the campaigns and how the outcome will affect everything from health care to national security 
The speakers may take center stage, but our annual meeting is about more than that. It's the time of year that we can come together, face-to-face, listen to each other and learn from each other. It's the time of year when we are reminded that none of us is in this alone, and that we share common goals and common challenges. Personally, and I've heard this from others, I find myself after every MHA annual meeting reinvigorated about our shared purpose and commitment to bettering health care in our state.
 
Registration is simple, with an online form. I look forward to seeing you in June.

Sabatini Chairs First HSCRC Meeting
Following a three-hour executive session Wednesday, Nelson Sabatini led his first meeting as the new chairman of the Health Services Cost Review Commission, hearing initial staff discussions on the global budget update for 2017, as well as a staff recommendation on increases to the Medicaid working capital amounts at Maryland's hospitals. As reported in this month's edition of Newsbreak, commissioners also received draft recommendations on funding for the Nurse Support II program and the Maryland Patient Safety Center, and took action on several hospital rate orders. 
Maryland Leaders Urge Delay in 5-Star Ratings
U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Benjamin Cardin, along with U.S. Reps. Elijah Cummings, John Delaney, Andy Harris, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes and Chris Van Hollen, have signed letters urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to delay the release of its star ratings to allow more time to better account for how hospitals treat diverse patients and to share the agency's methodology in developing the ratings. CMS is scheduled to make public the overall hospital quality "star ratings" on Hospital Compare on April 21. The American Hospital Association and others have repeatedly raised significant concerns about the accuracy and validity of CMS's star rating approach.
MHCC Updates Performance Review Schedule
The Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) has updated its schedule for the review of applications for Certificates of Ongoing Performance by hospitals for their primary percutaneous intervention (PCI) services, non-primary PCI services, and cardiac surgery services programs, if they are subject to on-going performance review in accordance with COMAR 10.24.17. This schedule replaces, in its entirety, the schedule published on February 5, 2016.
MHA Cosponsors Leadership Summit
MHA invites your hospital's senior clinical and quality leaders to join us May 24 at Turf Valley for a leadership summit designed to inspire, enlighten and inform Maryland's health care innovators about how partnerships across the care continuum can spur quality improvement. The summit, Transforming Health Care & Partnering for Success, is a joint effort of MHA, the LifeSpan Network and the Maryland-National Capital Homecare Association. Attendance is free, but space is limited. Please register no more than two individuals per hospital.
 
Contact: Sheena Siddiqui
AHA to Hold Cybersecurity Webcast
American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack will hold a special members-only Town Hall webcast on cybersecurity Monday, April 25 at 4 p.m. The webcast will illuminate what is known about the sources of recent attacks overall and in health care, inform participants on how and when to engage law enforcement, and provide best practices on how organizations are preventing, protecting and responding to cyber attacks. Guest speakers will include: 
  • John Riggi, section chief, FBI Cyber Division - Outreach Section
  • Mary Ellen Callahan, partner, Jenner & Block and AHA special counsel 
Click here to register/log-in. Registration is required for all participants.
Zika Awareness Week Starts April 24
The Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene will work with local health departments to schedule activities in their respective communities for Zika Awareness Week, April 24 - 30. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated - because transmission has chiefly occurred through the bite of the aedes aegypti mosquito - that preventing mosquito bites is the best way to prevent infection. As of today, Maryland has had eight confirmed cases of Zika virus infection, each related to travel from areas of ongoing transmission; none have involved local transmission. The department keeps a record of confirmed cases on its website. For more information about the Zika virus, visit the CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/.
Physician Leadership Cohort III Scheduled for Fall
 
The Maryland Healthcare Education Institute's physician leadership initiative begins its third cohort in September; reservations are being accepted. 

Accelerate Collections by Capturing Missing Charges and Lost Revenue
 
Health care providers are facing common challenges - transitioning to ICD-10, managing the risk of new reimbursement models, improving net revenue, reducing days in accounts receivable, increasing efficiency, and managing complex contracts.

CDC: No Decline in Youth Tobacco Use Overall Since 2011
 
About 5.3 percent of middle school students and 16 percent of high school students reported using electronic cigarettes in the past month when surveyed in 2015, up from 0.6 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, in 2011, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

THE WEEK AHEAD
Tuesday, April 19
MHA's Council on Financial Policy meeting

Friday, April 22
Carmela Coyle to participate in panel discussion at the Trivergent Health Alliance Retreat
  discussing Population Health Improvement

TOP NEWS FROM THE WEEK
The Baltimore Sun, By Meredith Cohn, April 8
 
The Baltimore Sun, By Lorraine Mirabella, April 8
 
The Baltimore Sun, By Andrea K. McDaniels, April 11
 
The Baltimore Sun, By Erin Cox, Pamela Wood and Michael Dresser, April 12
 
The Baltimore Sun, By David Anderson, April 12
 
The Daily Record, By Daniel Leaderman, April 12
 
Capital Gazette, By Ben Weathers, April 13