Weekly Messages From MHA

Weekly Message From MHA

  • Maintaining Positive Momentum

    July 13, 2020 By: Bob Atlas
    Last week the number of people hospitalized in Maryland with COVID-19 fell below 400 for the first time since March. We expect some fluctuation, yet over the last two months, trends in our state are positive—fewer hospitalizations, less death, and a lower rate of positive tests.
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  • Spotlight on Hospital Prices

    June 29, 2020 By: Bob Atlas
    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) can require hospitals nationwide to publicly share charges they negotiate with payers, a federal court ruled Tuesday. The field has prepared for this rule since last year, yet we’d hoped this burdensome mandate would be scrapped through a challenge from health care groups, including the American Hospital Association.
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  • Our Commitment to Racial Equity

    June 22, 2020 By: Bob Atlas
    Two weeks ago I shared that we can and must do better as a field to address racism as a public health crisis. As you and your associates demonstrated during the recent White Coats for Black Lives tributes and in your celebrations of Juneteenth yesterday, it is not enough to denounce hateful behavior and systemic racism—we must act.
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  • Progress on Two Fronts

    October 12, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    This week I have two very different good news items: one related to improving the support for survivors of sexual assault and the other on the Health Services Cost Review Commission’s (HSCRC) Medicare Performance Adjustment (MPA) policy.
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  • Our Clear Sense of Purpose

    October 05, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    Last week, during MHA’s very productive annual Executive Committee retreat, committee members deliberated upon a new strategic plan for your association. The conversation was high energy and yielded excellent insights. Staff will use the time until our November meeting to make the plan ready for formal ratification and dissemination
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  • Ongoing Opioid Efforts

    September 28, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    A week ago today, state health officials announced that Maryland would receive $66 million in federal funding to help combat the scourge of opioid addiction.​ And on Tuesday, U.S. lawmakers unveiled a bipartisan bill aimed at fighting the nation’s opioid epidemic. The bill contains some promising provisions, including a boost to treatment access for patients in rural areas and the removal of a 1960s rule that prohibits federal Medicaid reimbursement for certain inpatient treatment centers with mental illness patients.
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  • New Model Road Show

    September 21, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    The countdown is on to the inception of the Total Cost of Care Model. There are just over 100 days until Maryland will begin to be held accountable for controlling the cost of health care in all settings – not just hospitals.
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  • Primary Care Program Prospects

    September 14, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    August 31 was the deadline for physician practices to apply for the Maryland Primary Care Program. The tally of applicants for the first year – nearly 600 representing several thousand physicians – far exceeded projections. Ultimate participation may be smaller as CMMI wants to be sure each practice has enough patients on its panel to let the “law of large numbers” work.
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  • Help Us Help You

    September 07, 2018 By: Nicole Stallings
    This week, MHA’s Government Affairs team asked hospital CEOs for their help in completing a survey to gather data on medical malpractice trends at Maryland’s hospitals.​
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  • Labor of Love

    August 31, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    On Monday, as Marylanders throughout the state celebrate the unofficial end of summer, tens of thousands of women and men will head to work in Maryland’s hospitals. Their mission: to care for those who need them. This isn’t just the case on holidays. It’s their mission every day of the year, when more than 100,000 nurses, doctors, technicians, environmental service workers, and others go to work at one of Maryland’s hospitals and health systems.
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  • The Differential Makes a Difference

    August 24, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    It’s just 20 weeks until the launch of Maryland’s new hospital payment model. The Health Services Cost Review Commission is considering an important proposal that will help to get the model off on the right foot. The proposal is meant to adjust for the growing bad debt hospitals are seeing from commercially insured patients, the effect of which has been to shift costs onto Medicare and Medicaid.
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  • Summer Doldrums? No Way!

    August 17, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    You know all too well that our communities’ needs for health care don’t take the summer off. Maybe it’s not flu season just now, and perhaps fewer elective procedures are scheduled. But for the most part, the beat goes on. You are there for the people who need you … 24/7/52.​
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  • Elevating the Pursuit of Equitable Health Outcomes

    August 10, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    Earlier this week, the Maryland Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities announced a new focus on strengthening its partnership with Maryland Medicaid, a strategy designed to boost enrollment and expand access to coverage and care.
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  • Affordable Coverage = Accessible Care

    August 03, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    Since the inception of the All-Payer Model in 2014, Maryland’s hospitals have demonstrated to the nation that it is possible to hold down health care cost growth and improve quality at the same time. Next January, under the new Total Cost of Care Model, Maryland’s bold experiment will expand to encompass not only hospital services but services of non-hospital providers, ranging from physicians to skilled nursing facilities. Of significance, our hospitals will have more potent incentives to work with care partners to mitigate chronic illnesses, like diabetes, for whole communities.
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  • Spotlight on Rising Drug Prices

    July 27, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    As Maryland’s hospitals begin in earnest their preparations to rein in health care costs ahead of the inception of the Total Cost of Care Model, there’s one factor that has long escaped any meaningful constraints: drug prices.
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  • The Value of Transparency

    July 20, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    During June’s American Hospital Association Regional Policy Board meeting, one of the hot topics was price transparency, a burgeoning nationwide push by regulators, legislators, payers, and providers to empower health care consumers so they can make better-informed decisions about their care.
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  • A Foundation for Success

    July 13, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    It’s been a noteworthy week for the Maryland Model, kicking off with a contract signing ceremony on Monday that featured Maryland’s top political dignitaries, along with CMS Administrator Seema Verma.​ “Transformation can’t stop at the hospital walls,” Verma said Monday with more than a dozen hospital executives looking on. “The objective is clear: The state will continue to bring all Medicare costs down while improving quality of care.”
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  • Maryland, Again, Is a Trailblazer

    July 06, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    On Monday, July 9, Maryland’s top leaders will join with their counterparts in the federal government for a signing ceremony in Annapolis to celebrate a new agreement that extends our state’s role as a national health care innovator.​
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  • Changing the Culture of Workplace Violence

    June 29, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    “Adversity acquaints us with our resources, our virtues, our armour and weapons, our spirit – and forces us to be stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche​ Yesterday, several hundred women and men who serve in Maryland’s hospitals left behind their usual, pressing duties to come together for a cause that touches us all: reducing workplace violence.
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  • A Rare Gem

    June 22, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    As you know, the federal authority for the Maryland health care financing model runs through the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). So, recent criticism of CMMI from federal budgeteers for producing “underwhelming” results, along with a proposed $800 million decrease to its $10 billion budget, would seem concerning. Instead, let’s view this as a cause for optimism in Maryland.
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  • The Power Within Us

    June 15, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    If there’s a common theme that the three featured speakers at this week’s annual MHA membership meeting shared, it’s this: each of us, both professionally and personally, has immense power to change people’s lives for the better.​
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  • The Values of Our Hospitals

    June 08, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    “In medicine, you are asked to open yourself to others’ lives and perspectives—to people as well as to circumstances you do not and perhaps will not understand.” – Dr. Atul Gawande ​ Last week, Dr. Atul Gawande delivered a commencement address to graduates of the U.C.L.A. Medical School.​ His message was straightforward and inspiring: hospitals are among the few places where one encounters the whole span of society. The special role of health care professionals is to recognize each patient, no matter what their circumstances, as having a common core of humanity – as being a person.​
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  • Patient Partners

    June 01, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    “Our ultimate goal, after all, is not a good death, but a good life to the very end.” – Dr. Atul Gawande For the past five years, Maryland’s hospitals have upended the traditional definition of what it means to be a hospital. You’ve brought proactive care to people’s neighborhoods, homes, and families. You’ve become not only a safety net for when people are injured or ill, but also a driving force to keep them healthy in the first place.
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