July 22, 2016
Closing the Health Disparities Gap
Earlier this year, Maryland became the first state in the country to see 100 percent of its community hospitals pledge to participate in Equity of Care, the national campaign to improve the health of minority populations by reducing disparities in care.
 
And we're not stopping there. On Tuesday, hospital professionals convened at MHA's offices in Elkridge to discuss how to turn the Equity of Care pledge into tangible results throughout our state.
 
The conversation, facilitated by Maryland Healthcare Education Institute President Mark Rulle, centered on hospitals' current efforts to reduce health disparities and how we can all build on that work.
 
Maulik Joshi, Executive Vice President of Integrated Care Delivery and Chief Operating Officer at Anne Arundel Medical Center, is the former American Hospital Association executive who spearheaded the Equity of Care campaign. He spoke at the meeting about the thinking behind the campaign's formation and the resources available to address health disparities, including those from AHA's Institute for Diversity in Health Management.
 
The roots of the campaign took hold in 2011, when the American College of Healthcare Executives, AHA, Association of American Medical Colleges, Catholic Health Association of the United States, and America's Essential Hospitals stood together in a call to action to eliminate health care disparities. That call evolved into a more formal pledge for hospitals to increase the collection of race, ethnicity and language preference data, cultural competency training, and diversity in governance and leadership.
 
Joshi noted that, although health disparities have long been identified as a national problem, there are only pockets of excellence throughout the country. And that is why this comprehensive effort has been undertaken. "We've really just started to address this," he said. "This ties directly to the Triple Aim and population health; you can't do population health right if you have disparities."
 
The hospital representatives on hand agreed. While each organization's path to improvement will be unique, they discussed how common challenges can be overcome through more education and sharing of information. Attendees shared an appetite for the dissemination of best practices, statewide data analyses, access to training resources, and more.
 
That's where MHA and MHEI will continue to lead. For our part, MHA will continue to provide resources through our Equity of Care website, and convene health disparities leads in the coming year so that they can share experiences and best practices.
 
With your Equity of Care pledge, you've demonstrated a commitment to delivering high quality, safe care - by working to develop not only a deeper understanding of your communities, but also of the individuals who comprise those communities. But your pledge signifies something even greater: a recognition that better health and better lives for some of the people you serve isn't acceptable, and that to do the right thing for all of the people you serve, equity and compassion must become part of the very DNA of your organization.

AHA Issues Cybersecurity Alert
The American Hospital Association (AHA) this afternoon issued a Cybersecurity Alert that contains links to a document the FBI has asked be shared with hospitals. The document is "Private Industry Notification - Cyber Criminals Using Business E-mail Compromise Schemes to Steal Millions of Dollars from US Companies," and is available to AHA members by logging on to AHA's members-only cybersecurity webpage. Because of the sensitive nature of the information contained in the document, hospital leaders are asked to share it only with colleagues who have a valid need to know, including your chief information security officer, chief information officer, chief technology officer, legal counsel and others critical to your cybersecurity efforts. "No portion of the document should be released to the media, posted to public-facing websites, or transmitted over non-secure, external communications channels or otherwise made publicly available," says AHA. For additional AHA resources on cybersecurity, visit www.aha.org/cybersecurity. Questions should be directed to AHA Assistant General Counsel Lawrence Hughes at lhughes@aha.org or (202) 626-2346, or AHA Vice President of Policy Chantal Worzala at cworzala@aha.org or (202) 626-2313.
Commission Publishes Latest All-Payer Data
Despite canceling its July public meeting, the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) this week published the latest financial data under the all-payer model. MHA on Wednesday sent to hospital leaders a special edition of Newsbreak summarizing the results, along with the commission's revised payment update for Maryland's three psychiatric hospitals and Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital.
HSCRC Seeks Advisory Committee Nominations
The HSCRC has issued a call for nominations to a Consumer Standing Advisory Committee (CSAC) being established to provide the HSCRC, staff and commissioners with expertise and the consumer perspective on the design and implementation of the all-payer model. CSAC members must reflect the gender, racial, ethnic and geographic diversity of the state and a diverse cross-section of consumers, consumer advocates, relevant subject matter experts, and other stakeholders. Click these links to find out more about the scope and charge of the committee and an overview of its inaugural projects. Interested parties can nominate themselves or others. Nominee information in the nomination form must be sent via email and include "CSAC Nomination" in the subject line. This call for nominations was initially open until July 15; HSCRC has extended the nomination deadline to July 29.
CMS Indicates Star Ratings Coming Soon
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this week announced that the release of Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings will occur "shortly." In making the announcement, CMS released the national distribution of Overall Hospital Star Ratings based on hospital characteristics such as teaching status or safety net status. The announcement comes after CMS in April delayed its original release of the star ratings in the face of protests from the field and others that the ratings' methodology was flawed. The American Hospital Association commissioned an independent expert critique of the methodology, which the agency is currently discussing with AHA.
MHA Receives Davidson Quality Award
James C. Leonard, MD, American Hospital Association Board Member, presented the AHA's Dick Davidson Quality Milestone Award for Allied Association Leadership to MHA President & CEO Carmela Coyle last Sunday during the Health Forum/AHA Leadership Summit in San Diego. Leonard is chairman of AHA's Dick Davidson Award Committee. The award is 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. Click here to read the AHA's June news release.



A Place for Physician Leaders
 
While MHEI's Annual Conference is often thought of as a C-suite activity, it is also a great opportunity to develop physician leaders.

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.

CDC Awards $60 Million for States, Territories to Fight Zika
 
States, cities and territories will receive $60 million in grants Aug. 1 to protect pregnant women and others from Zika virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week.

THE WEEK AHEAD
Thursday, July 28
Carmela Coyle speaks at the Anne Arundel Medical Center board meeting on Total Cost
  of Care and Waiver 2.0

TOP NEWS FROM THE WEEK
The Washington Post, By Arelis R. Hernandnez, July 17
 
The Baltimore Sun, By Meredith Cohn and Jean Marbella, July 15
 
The Baltimore Sun, By Andrew Michaels, July 18
 
Washington Business Journal, By Drew Hansen, July 18
 
NPR, By Alison Kodjak, July 19
 
Fierce Healthcare, By Zack Budryk, July 19
 
The Chestertown Spy, By James Dissette, July 19
 
The Daily Record, By Daniel Leaderman, July 19