June 17, 2016
The Past is Prologue
MHA's annual meeting this week featured three impressive speakers with widely different areas of expertise: Nelson Sabatini, new chairman of the Health Services Cost Review Commission; Patrick Kennedy, mental health advocate and former member of the House of Representatives; and Dr. Larry Sabato, political science professor and nationally renowned election expert.
Each shared their valuable insights and, taken together, a clear theme emerged: the past is prologue.
MHA's President & CEO Carmela Coyle and HSCRC Chairman Nelson Sabatini at MHA's annual membership meeting.

We started with Chairman Sabatini who, in an hour-long Q-and-A discussion, noted the importance of the next six months, with an application for the next phase of the all-payer model due by Dec. 31. It's uncertain how a new administration in Washington will view the model. Also, looking ahead, he said that with the global budget update decision behind us, hospitals and other stakeholders must rally behind the principles of the all-payer model and demonstrate real progress that benefits patients and communities. (You can read the full Q-and-A with Sabatini here.)

Congressman Kennedy also touched on the importance of the near future when he discussed his work to secure passage of the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which helps ensure equitable payment for behavioral health treatment. Despite the bill's passage nearly a decade ago, its implementation has been troublesome, and parity has still not been achieved. That, he said, is why it's now up to payers to ensure true parity for behavioral health treatment, and for hospital leaders to implement initiatives like coordinated care programs - so that the 1 in 4 Americans who suffer from mental illness can at last get the care they need and deserve.
And Dr. Sabato spent much of his time discussing Donald Trump's chances (or lack thereof) of becoming our next president. The demographic and electoral college deck is stacked against him, but in the next five months there are a couple of paths to a Trump presidency. No matter the origins of his campaign, or his unorthodox road to the Republican nomination, what matters is what happens between now and November - could a recession hit? Domestic terrorism? Each could dramatically affect the outcome.

To me, each speaker's theme seemed to parallel what's been happening at Maryland's hospitals. All the progress we've made in the first two-and-a-half years under the modernized Medicare waiver has simply laid the foundation for the critical work that lies ahead over the next few months. The achievements are undeniable, but there is work to be done.
What's encouraging is that so far, Maryland's hospitals have passed every test that's been presented to you. The future will continue to test you, and your MHA, in many ways, some of which we can bank on, others that are unforeseen. But the important thing, as our speakers noted, is maintaining momentum. 

MHA Wins Davidson Quality Award
MHA has been awarded the 2016 Dick Davidson Quality Milestone Award for Allied Association Leadership for its work to improve health care quality. The award, given each year to a state, regional or metropolitan hospital association that demonstrates leadership and innovation in quality improvement and contributes to national health care improvement efforts, will be presented July 17 at the 2016 Health Forum-American Hospital Association Leadership Summit in San Diego. According to the judges, in winning the award, MHA demonstrated how far and how fast Maryland's hospitals have come in making progress toward the Triple Aim of health care - improving patient care and population health while reducing costs. You can read the American Hospital Association's full release on the award here.
Grants to Rural Nonprofits are Now Available
Grants provided through the fiscal year 2017 Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund (MAERDAF) are now available. The Rural Maryland Council, which administers the fund, is interested in proposals that address the following: agriculture, energy, rural broadband, health care, youth engagement and workforce/economic development. The Grant Review Board will consider any application that is submitted. Click here to access instructions and the application. The application deadline is July 15. A MAERDAF webinar information session will be held Tuesday, June 21 at 10 a.m. to provide information about eligibility, grant requirements, and more. Register here.
Registration Open for Case Management Conference
The Maryland Chapter of the American Case Management Association (ACMA) will hold its 14th annual Case Management Conference this fall. Registration is now open for the Saturday, October 1, 2016 conference. The Maryland Chapter of ACMA represents case management professionals, registered nurses, social workers, physician advisors, case management assistants, nurse practitioners, care transitions staff, and others who reside or work in Maryland and/or neighboring states without a local chapter. You can find event information and a brochure about the event on the association's website.
MHEI's Annual Leadership Conference Set for Fall
This year's annual leadership conference will feature keynote speaker Daniel Pink, Best-Selling Author, To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, Drive, and A Whole New Mind, along with other experts focusing on key population health issues.

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.

Supreme Court Issues Decision in False Claims Act Case
The Supreme Court this week said the False Claims Act is not "an all-purpose antifraud statute" or "a vehicle for punishing garden-variety breaches of contract or regulatory violations." 

Tuesday, June 21
MHA Council on Clinical & Quality Issues meeting
MHA Council on Financial Policy meeting

Wednesday, June 22
MHA Total Cost of Care Work Group meeting
The Baltimore Sun, By Jean Marbella and Meredith Cohn, June 11
Bloomberg, By John Tozzi, June 10
The Baltimore Sun, By Sarah Gantz, June 13
Modern Healthcare, By Jay Greene, June 13
AHA News Now, June 14
The Baltimore Sun, By Meredith Cohn, June 14
Modern Healthcare, By Steven Ross Johnson, June 15