Population Health and the Future of Maryland’s Model

December 14, 2020

It is day 283 of the COVID crisis in Maryland. As on every day before, you and your teams continue to work tirelessly to save lives and keep our communities safe and healthy.

Even as we face a severe winter surge and prepare to vaccinate tens of thousands of people, it’s important to consider long-term implications to your organizations, your finances, and to the strength of our Maryland Model.

Maryland’s leaders are engaged in important decisions that will affect whether the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) will decide in four years to make our Model permanent. Last week, I testified before the Health Services Cost Review Commission on one of those matters—the Statewide Integrated Health Improvement Strategy, or SIHIS.

The state is proposing ambitious goals—particularly in population health where improvements are sought in diabetes, opioids, maternal morbidity, and childhood asthma.

I told commissioners the hospital field very much wants to work toward the population health goals in the SIHIS. We do want to engage patients and communities to improve their health and their ability to manage their health. Yet we’re very concerned the pandemic will not allow hospitals, state agencies and so many other essential collaborators to do the hard work we need to do, in concert, to reach the targets within the timeframes outlined.

Fortunately, state officials are acting on our request to make the SIHIS goals realistic and to ask CMMI to work with Maryland to reexamine the plan at the end of 2021. Then, with the benefit of, dare I say, hindsight into the disruption wrought by COVID-19, we might have the opportunity for a reset. 

Bob Atlas
President & CEO 

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