Model Messaging

January 28, 2019 By: Bob Atlas

The new Total Cost of Care Model presents ambitious targets for hospitals and health systems. And as you well know, the hospital field cannot meet them alone.

That is why leaders in Annapolis and elsewhere must become fully informed about the model – its aims and the challenges our hospitals face – and how they can support your efforts.

Staff of your Maryland Hospital Association have worked diligently to spread the message. Last week I had the privilege to brief the full House of Delegates Health and Government Operations Committee; many members of the Appropriations Committee also attended.

Other presenters were Katie Wunderlich, executive director of the Health Services Cost Review Commission, and Howard Haft, executive director of the Maryland Primary Care Program.

My message to the delegates was plain. The hospital field is committed to advancing the health of all Marylanders and to achieving goals under the model, including cost savings, quality improvement, and population health gains.

Together, the panel presented a unified message about the importance of the model and ways in which our elected state leaders could work with us to support its goals. I was encouraged by the higher-level questioning by the delegates, showing they are informed and engaged on this topic.

I’ll deliver a similar message this week to the Senate Finance Committee.

Before closing, I’ll note that the need for education isn’t confined to in-state stakeholders. The nation is watching us. Recently, a former colleague who works on national health policy matters told me the CEO of the nation’s largest health insurer said to her, “Maryland basically has a single-payer model.” Yikes!

That misconception of Maryland’s model shows there is still plenty more work to do.