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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  • Another Case for Health Equity

    May 25, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    Earlier this week, MHA hosted the latest in our series of conversations about how to reduce health disparities in Maryland. For the two dozen attendees charged with this task at hospitals across the state, the focus was how to elevate the pursuit of health equity in the face of budget limitations. MHA presented a framework to begin thinking about how to capture the financial benefit of reducing health disparities in our communities.​
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  • Maryland on the Leading Edge

    May 18, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    Earlier this week, Gov. Larry Hogan, along with officials with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, announced the approval of the next phase of Maryland’s unique health care financing system, the Enhanced Total Cost of Care Model. The successor to the highly effective All-Payer Model will begin in January and build on the impressive accomplishments hospitals have made in the past five years.
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  • Taking a Stand Against Violence

    May 11, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    Every day, around the clock, the women and men who work at Maryland’s hospitals offer their patients compassionate, professional care. In places that are dedicated to help others heal, it’s especially jarring to recognize that these hospital associates are too often in serious danger.​
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  • Celebrating Hospitals

    May 04, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    “For the sick it is important to have the best.” – Florence Nightingale​ Next week, hospitals throughout the country will celebrate the women and men who support the health and well-being of their communities. The celebration is part of the American Hospital Association’s National Hospital Week, May 6-12, a time for hospital leaders to show their appreciation both for hospital associates and for the communities that rely on and support their organizations.​
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  • Spotlight on Health Disparities

    April 27, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    There’s a common refrain among health care providers when it comes to discussing health disparities. It goes something like this: “I treat all my patients exactly the same, regardless of their color.” Or this: “A disease ought to be treated the same, no matter who has it.” Or this one: “I’m a doctor/nurse/pharmacist/etc. – I treat illnesses, not personal problems.”
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  • Empowerment through Care Planning

    April 20, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    This week, the nation mourns the death of Barbara Bush, one of just two women in history to be both a First Lady and a mother to a U.S. president. Two days before she died, a family spokesman announced that Mrs. Bush would no longer accept medical treatment and had chosen the option of “comfort care.”​
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  • A Remarkable Session

    April 13, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    As the stroke of midnight Monday, the Maryland General Assembly adjourned its 438th session, concluding what by any measure was a very strong 90 days for Maryland’s hospitals. Among the many highlights:​ the annual Medicaid “sick tax” on hospitals was reduced by $30 million, the state will provide $20 million in grants to establish and improve crisis response for behavioral health patients, Maryland’s individual health insurance market was stabilized, without any new taxes on hospitals, which could have totaled $75 million.
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  • Encouraging Progress Under the All-Payer Model

    April 06, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    Last week’s report from RTI International offered some promising findings about how Maryland’s hospitals have transformed care delivery while controlling costs and improving quality. Among the highlights, which draw data from the first three years under the All-Payer Model: Inpatient admissions dropped significantly – 5 percent for Medicare beneficiaries and 4 percent for commercially insured individuals, and Medicare spending declined $679 million, a 2.7 percent reduction.
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  • Legislative Successes

    March 30, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    Earlier this week, a General Assembly conference committee deliberating the state’s budget approved a $30 million reduction in the hospital Medicaid tax – the ‘sick’ tax – for fiscal year 2019.
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  • Opioid Response Gaining Steam

    March 23, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    Earlier this month, Gov. Larry Hogan made his way to the nation’s capital to testify before Congress for the first time in his nearly four years leading Maryland. His purpose was singular: to ask for help in combating a deadly crisis that has afflicted our state for years.
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  • Taking Stock on Care Transformation

    March 16, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    Earlier this week, Maryland Health Secretary Bobby Neall sent a formal request to care transformation leaders at every hospital to help build an inventory of hospital-led transformation efforts. I want to underscore that request and invite a high level of participation.
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  • Hello!

    March 09, 2018 By: Bob Atlas
    As I was going through the interview process for MHA’s President & CEO position, many of you pointed out to me that MHA had a staff that was second to none, one that was working hard to bridge the gap between the position’s vacancy last year and my starting this week. Now that my first week is coming to a close, I can see what you mean. This is a group of people who love what they do, and who are dedicated to the cause of Maryland’s hospitals and health systems.
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  • Time to Connect

    March 02, 2018 By: Your MHA Team
    Challenging times like these are enhanced by personal connections, and as always, MHA is here to facilitate that connection. Our annual membership meeting in June provides an excellent opportunity to gain insight and understanding into how your organization can plan for the future amid a whirlwind of change. The event begins the evening of June 11 at the Four Seasons in Baltimore with a reception that offers time to connect with one another, as well as with MHA’s new President & CEO, Bob Atlas. On Tuesday, June 12, the program will feature prominent speakers, including Dr. Atul Gawande.
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  • Legislative Session Hits Its Midpoint

    February 23, 2018 By: Your MHA Team
    This week marks the midpoint of the 90-day 2018 General Assembly legislative session. A flurry of legislation has come to Annapolis, including items related to hospitals' top three priorities: the hospital "sick" tax, behavioral health, and medical liability.​ Gov. Hogan has included the agreed-upon $25 million spend-down of the hospital sick tax in his proposed budget, a measure that will help reduce the financial burden on hospital patients. MHA is working closely with the House and Senate to protect the governor's reduction and look for opportunities to increase that amount. If the $25 million remains, the sick tax would be reduced for the coming fiscal year to $339 million.​
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  • The Innovation Foundation

    February 16, 2018 By: Your MHA Team
    At its heart, Maryland’s current All-Payer Model – and its next iteration – are about the fundamental transformation of health care delivery. They are testing, on a statewide scale, whether health care can not only make the tectonic shift from volume to value, but survive and thrive while keeping patients and communities healthier than ever.​
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  • A Roadmap for Behavioral Health

    February 09, 2018 By: Your MHA Team
    The most recent data on fatal overdoses in Maryland, released at the end of January, offer at least one positive sign: the total number of heroin-related and prescription opioid-related deaths shows a slight drop. Through the third quarter of 2017, the number of heroin-related deaths fell by 56 and the number of prescription opioid-related deaths fell by 11, compared to the same period in 2016.
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  • Using Data to Drive Down Disparities

    February 02, 2018 By: Your MHA Team
    Last month, MHA shared with hospital CEOs and other hospital leaders tasked with reducing health disparities the most recent data on how each hospital fared over the past year. The measures, stratified by race, gender, age, ethnicity and language are: inpatient admissions, readmissions, mortality, and infections.
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  • Reducing ED Wait Times

    January 26, 2018 By: Your MHA Team
    Culture change and accountability.​ Appropriate options for non-emergent patients.​ New departmental roles and collaboration, laser- focused on improved emergency department wait times.​ These are just some examples of the innovations that are driving reduced wait times in Maryland’s hospitals, and in turn directing patients to the right care, at the right time, in the right setting. At MHA’s ED Throughput Redesign Summit yesterday, speakers from Anne Arundel Medical Center, MedStar Health and the University of Maryland Medical Center shared these and other strategies with nearly 100 representatives from hospitals throughout the state.
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  • A Nick to the Sick Tax

    January 19, 2018 By: Your MHA Team
    On Wednesday, Gov. Larry Hogan released the fiscal 2019 budget for Maryland. In it, he calls for a $25 million reduction in the hospital Medicaid ‘sick tax.’ This comes a year after the governor hit pause on the $25 million annual spend-down to which he had committed earlier in his term. Well ahead of the budget release, the hospital field made clear in a letter signed by all acute care hospital CEOs to Gov. Hogan that reducing the tax is the field’s top priority. Not only does the reduction help hospitals meet the goals of the All-Payer Model, it also lessens a longstanding burden on patients.​
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  • What Does the New Model Delay Mean?

    January 12, 2018 By: Your MHA Team
    Earlier this week, the state announced a one-year extension for Maryland’s All-Payer Model contract, through December 31, 2019. The extension provides the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services more time to understand the model and its next phase, as well as additional time for a new health secretary to be installed prior to approval.
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