Weekly Messages From MHA

Weekly Message From MHA

Health Outcomes Challenges

October 19, 2018 By: Bob Atlas

Entering into the new model contract, Maryland’s hospitals and health systems are doubling down on the effort to improve health outcomes. Recent reports show where some of the key opportunities lie: maternal health; health care-associated infections; and opioid mortality.

Maternal Health

Last week, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee announced it will investigate rising death rates among women during and after childbirth. This follows a July USA Today report critical of U.S. health care providers for subpar performance on maternal mortality and last month’s introduction of federal legislation aimed at addressing the problem.

MHA foresees this issue coming up during the 2019 state legislative session. We’ll be ready to show that achieving zero harm is a priority for the state’s 32 birthing hospitals. Data from the Maryland Department of Health’s (MDH) Maternal Mortality Review released in May show that of the 12 pregnancy-related deaths in Maryland in 2015 — out of a total 73,544 live births — 10 were considered preventable or potentially preventable. One of those 10 was caused by hemorrhage, the condition USA Today focused on in its story.

When it comes to protecting Maryland’s mothers and babies, even a single bad outcome is too many. Our birthing hospitals have worked hard with the Maryland Patient Safety Center and MDH toward the goal of zero harm.

Health Care-Associated Infections

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Friday the latest state-by-state reports on health care-associated infections. Data show Maryland’s hospitals — among the first in the nation to voluntarily share data about quality and patient safety — improved in some areas. Ventilator associated events, for example, were 18 percent lower than national rates.

Still, because our hospitals recognize that there is more work to do, a majority are part of a statewide antibiotic stewardship program, the Campaign for Appropriate Antibiotic Use. Many also are involved in Hospital Improvement Innovation Networks — part of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Partnership for Patients initiative.

Both programs are focused solely on providing better quality care for our patients and making their stays with us safer.

Opioid-Related Deaths

There were 1,325 unintentional drug and alcohol-related intoxication deaths in Maryland through the first half of 2018 — a 12 percent rise over the same period in 2017. Of these, 1,185 were opioid related, according to data released last week by MDH.

To help lawmakers find better solutions to this public health emergency during the upcoming session, your MHA is preparing a report that will, among other ideas, recommend increasing access to proven interventions such as Naloxone and peer recovery counselors.

We will continue to keep you apprised on progress toward better health outcomes. As always, we want to hear from you about ways our field can reach peak performance.