May 20, 2016
Raise Your Voice
The Health Services Cost Review Commission's (HSCRC) decision on a global budget update for fiscal year 2017 is just a few weeks away, and it is important for hospital leaders to help commissioners understand why the current HSCRC staff recommendation is, to put it simply, not only inadequate but damaging. In a Member Alert earlier this week we asked you to counter a perception among some commissioners that hospitals aren't doing enough to reduce utilization and save costs, by sharing all the ways you are investing in care coordination and management, your work with non-hospital community partners, and your commitment to the state's all-payer experiment - an experiment that is already paying dividends by containing costs and improving quality.
Commissioners are hearing a steady drumbeat from payers who are saying that hospitals are not focused enough on avoidable utilization and reining in Medicare's total cost of care, thus jeopardizing the model itself. You know better than anyone that what they're saying is questionable, and the data back you up. Cumulative Medicare savings are five times the target, there's ample cushion for the Total Cost of Care guardrail, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is taking nationwide its argument that the Maryland model can work.
Yet, here in Maryland, despite all the data that indicate more investment, not less, is needed to maintain and build on the progress so far, the HSCRC staff proposal is far below acceptable. The more that commissioners hear from hospitals throughout the state, the more they should understand that hospitals' request for an appropriate global budget update is an act of necessity for organizations that have taken on all the risk associated with caring for unknown numbers of patients with uncertain health needs, and are incurring the vast expenses associated with care delivery transformation.
The current HSCRC staff proposal would allot, on average, a 0.60 percent per capita increase. In a letter to commissioners earlier this week, which we attached to the Alert, MHA detailed its recommendation that a modest 1.12 percentage point increase to that number would allow the success we've achieved already to be continued. In your letter to commissioners, along with the description of your organization's activities, please note your support for MHA's proposed increase. We recommend having your chief medical officer co-sign along with you. 
As a reminder, here are the email addresses for the commissioners: 
Please copy Mike Robbins, MHA's Senior Vice President, Rate Setting, at with your letter, and contact him with any questions.

MHA's Annual Membership Meeting is Just Weeks Away!
MHA's Annual Membership Meeting welcome reception will be held Monday, June 13 at 6:30 p.m. Join health care leaders from across Maryland to celebrate and reflect on the important work underway to transform care delivery. Two special guests will be joining us - U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski and State Senator Thomas "Mac" Middleton. Both of them, along with several hospital executives, will be recognized.
The annual business meeting will be Tuesday, June 14 at 8:30 a.m. Business meeting materials will be mailed to all hospital CEOs next week.
See additional details in the annual meeting brochure. Click HERE to register for the meeting.
Contact: Kathy Gotwalt
University of Maryland Medical Center Names New CEO
The University of Maryland Medical System yesterday announced the appointment of Dr. Mohan Suntha as the new CEO for the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dr. Suntha is currently president and CEO of the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center, a post he has held since December 2012. He will take over as CEO on September 1 and succeeds longtime CEO Jeffrey Rivest, who retired last year. The medical director of the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Group, Dr. Thomas Smyth, will take over as president and CEO of St. Joseph Medical Center.
Final Rule Issued on Overtime Exemptions
The Obama administration's final federal rule on overtime pay, announced Wednesday, will take effect this December and affect 4.2 million workers. The new policy means that employees earning less than $47,476 a year will be entitled to overtime compensation, even if they are currently classified as executive, administrative, or professional workers. Health care professions that will likely be affected by the overtime threshold increase are nurses, medical and physical therapist assistants, medical and pharmacy technicians, and paramedics. Medicaid-funded home-care providers for individuals with disabilities or facilities with 15 beds or fewer do not have to implement the new rule until March 17, 2019. The National Council of Nonprofits has a summary document detailing the provisions of the final rule. 
DHMH Requests Comments on Palliative Care Regulations
The Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ) of the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene has developed draft regulations based on the Hospital Palliative Care Report from OHCQ's Hospital Palliative Care Advisory Group. The regulations apply to all acute general hospitals and specific hospital chronic programs with 50 beds or more. The comment period for this regulation will be open through June 20. Click here to review the proposed draft and submit your comments.
Sister Helen Amos to be Honored
The Baltimore Sun has announced the 12 inductees in the inaugural class of its Maryland Business and Civic Hall of Fame. They include former Mercy Medical Center CEO Sister Helen Amos, who "guided the institution through a period of tremendous growth while maintaining the values of its founding," according to the announcement in The Sun. The inductees will be honored at an event in June. Amos is a member of MHA's Executive Committee and serves as its treasurer.
Bond Program Applications Due Next Month
Applications for the 2016 MHA Bond Program must be completed and submitted by Friday, June 17. New for this year, the application schedules and forms have been revised and simplified and all forms are to be completed electronically. Application forms and other supporting documentation must be uploaded to a hospital-specific SharePoint site for review. Hospitals that are applying for these funds have received individual emails with instructions on how to upload to the SharePoint site. If you have questions, please contact Brett McCone, Jennifer Witten, or Dorothy Patrickson.
Focus on the New Fiscal Year
Preparing to tackle new fiscal year goals often means getting people "on the same page." For leaders who need to work collaboratively, this can be difficult unless the message, information and skills are presented to the entire group at the same time.

Reduce Lighting Energy Costs Up to 50 Percent
Lighting accounts for 30 to 60 percent of annual electric costs for many facilities, and many new advances in lighting technology can help your organization conserve energy and save money.

House, Senate Pass Separate Zika Emergency Funding Measures
The Senate Thursday agreed to add $1.1 billion in emergency funding to combat the Zika virus to a fiscal 2017 appropriations package for transportation, housing and urban development (H.R. 2577).

Tuesday, May 24
MHA Behavioral Health Task Force meeting
LifeSpan/MHA/MNCHA's 2016 Leadership Summit "Transforming Healthcare &
  Partnering for Success" at Turf Valley

Wednesday, May 25
MHA Joint Quality-Finance Work Group meeting
MHA Total Cost of Care Work Group meeting

Thursday, May 26
MHA Financial Technical Work Group meeting
The Baltimore Sun, By Andrea K. McDaniels and Meredith Cohn, May 13
The Baltimore Sun, By John Fritze, May 15
Washington Business Journal, By Tina Reed, May 16
McKnight's Long Term Care News, By Emily Mongan, May 16
The Baltimore Sun, By John Fritze, May 17
The Baltimore Sun, By David Anderson, May 18
Capital Gazette, By Cindy Huang, May 18
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