In January 2014, the State of Maryland and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) signed a historic agreement that, for the first time on a statewide level, provides the framework of a system that can deliver on the Triple Aim of health care — reducing costs, enhancing quality and patient experience, and improving the health of communities.
The parameters of the agreement include principles upon which all stakeholders agree, the most important being that quality, not quantity, is what matters. The incentives are no longer to treat conditions, but to treat each person as a whole.
This agreement builds on Maryland’s legacy as a health care pioneer. In the late 1970s, the state signed its first deal with the federal government to regulate hospital prices through a statewide commission — an “all-payer” system that helped control costs and ensured parity for those in need of care by ensuring that everyone pays the same price for the same service at the same hospital. Now, Maryland is once again forging a new way forward.
If it is successful, Maryland’s system could serve as a model for the nation. CMS is working closely with Maryland’s hospitals to ensure that the aggressive quality and financial metrics outlined in the agreement are met. The federal agency is doing so with the firm belief that there truly is a way to deliver better health care and reduce costs for all, and that Maryland’s plan may be the roadmap.