Blue Skies Ahead?

October 07, 2019 By: Bob Atlas, President & CEO

To best position Maryland hospitals and health systems for the future, partnering with state and local agencies is key. To that end, MHA participates in a group Secretary of Health Robert Neall convenes to help ensure the Maryland Model reaches its aims of better care and better health.

On Thursday, at my suggestion, MHA hosted the Secretary’s Vision Group, plus select guests, for a “Blue Sky” exercise at our office in Elkridge. Mr. Neall was there along with Secretary of Aging Rona Kramer, three deputy secretaries from the Department of Health, and leaders from the Maryland Department of Human Services, Maryland Health Care Commission, Health Services Cost Review Commission, Maryland Community Health Resources Commission, Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, and CRISP. CareFirst and Medicaid also joined us along with associations representing nursing facilities, home health and hospice.

We began with a quick poll on the top barriers to good care. Social determinants of health were the chief concern followed closely by the care delivery structure, workforce and costs.

We had a robust discussion around new opportunities. Multiple initiatives were floated pertaining to workforce (financial support for physicians’ educational debt, updating scope of practice rules), ways to prevent non-emergency use of emergency departments, leveraging resources of state and local aging and social services agencies, and methods to eliminate bottlenecks in the care process. Follow-up work will fashion the ideas into a workable plan of action.

It was striking to see people in the room discover that there are resources and innovations happening in adjacent spaces that they didn’t know about. Participants agreed it’s vital that we all work together to address statewide health system improvement. And, the highest levels of leadership at our state agencies are committed to keep these conversations going.

We’ll continue to represent your interests with the Secretary’s Vision Group, to push for progress, and to bring together public and private sector partners to make the Maryland Model a phenomenal success.

Bob Atlas
President & CEO