The Maryland General Assembly created the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) in 1999 through the consolidation of two existing commissions to "establish a streamlined health care regulatory system in this state in a manner such that a single state health policy can be better articulated, coordinated, and implemented."
We pursue our mission through information gathering and dissemination, our health planning and regulatory powers, and our health policy analyses. Many of the Commission’s activities focus upon collaborative initiatives related to broadening Marylander’s access to high quality and cost effective health care services. Particular attention is given to areas such as Access to Health Care, Quality and Patient Safety, Innovative Health Care Delivery, Health Information Technology, and Information for Policy Development. These activities are directed and managed by the Commission’s Executive Director. Administrative activities, such as staffing, budget, and procurement, are managed by the Director of Administration and her staff. The Commission’s Assistant Attorneys General provide legal advice and counsel to the Executive Director, the Commission members, and Commission staff. The Commission’s staff members’ backgrounds and skills encompass a broad range of expertise, including public policy analysis, data management and analysis, health planning, health facilities construction and financing, Medicaid administration, quality assessment, clinical and health services research, and public performance reporting.
OUR FOUR CENTERS
The Commission is organized around the health care systems we seek to evaluate, regulate, or influence, bringing a wide range of tools (data gathering, public reporting, planning and regulation) to bear to improve quality, address costs, or increase access. Two of the centers - the Center for Health Care Facilities Planning and Development and the Center for Quality Measurement and Reporting - are organized around provider organizations, bringing together under one leadership the expertise and tools to address cost, quality, and access in those sectors of our health care system. The Center for Information Services and Analysis conducts broad studies, using both Maryland databases and national surveys, but also has specific responsibilities relating to physician services. The fourth center, the Center for Health Information and Innovative Care Delivery, has responsibilities that cut across sectors to facilitate the adoption of electronic health records and to enable the private and secure transfer of personal health information among sectors as well as managing the Commission’s Patient Centered Medical Home program.
A brief description of each of the Centers follows:
THE CENTER FOR HEALTH CARE FACILITIES PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
Director, Paul Parker
The Center for Health Care Facilities Planning and Development develops plans for the supply and distribution of health care facilities and services and regulates the supply and distribution of facilities and services through Certificate of Need and related oversight programs.
- The Center is responsible for the development and updating of the State Health Plan, a body of regulation that establishes criteria and standards for considering the need, costs and effectiveness, impact, and viability of health care facility capital projects.
- The Center collects information on health care facility service capacity and use. Annual data sets on the service capacity of general and special hospitals, freestanding ambulatory surgical facilities, nursing homes, home health agencies, hospices, assisted living facilities, and adult day care facilities are developed. The Center also obtains hospital registry data bases on cardiac surgery, cardiac catheterization, and percutaneous coronary intervention for use in regulatory oversight of these services.
- The Center administers the Certificate of Need, Certificate of Conformance, and Certificate of On-going Performance programs, that regulate certain aspects of health care service delivery by health care facilities.
THE CENTER FOR HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATIVE CARE DELIVERY
Director, David Sharp
Electronic health information exchange promises to bring vital clinical information to the point-of-care, helping to improve the safety and quality of health care while decreasing overall health care costs. Health information technology requires two crucial components to be effective – widespread use of electronic health records and electronic health information exchange. The Center for Health Information and Innovate Care Delivery is responsible for the Commission’s health information technology and advanced primary care initiatives.
- Plan and implement a statewide health information exchange
- Identify challenges to health information technology adoption and use, and formulate solutions and best practices for making health information technology work
- Increase the availability and use of standards-based health information technology through consultative, educational, and outreach activities.
- Promote and facilitate the adoption and optimal use of health information technology for the purposes of improving the quality and safety of health care
- Harmonize service area health information exchange efforts throughout the state
- Certify electronic health networks that accept electronic health care transactions originating in Maryland
- Develop programs to promote electronic data interchange between payers and providers
- Designate management service organizations to promote the adoption and advanced use of electronic health records
- Manage the Commission’s Patient Centered Medical Home Program
THE CENTER FOR ANALYSIS AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS
Director, Linda Bartnyska
The Center for Information Services and Analysis has expertise in the creation, maintenance, and mining of large databases, in the management of information technology and networks, and in the analysis and interpretation of population surveys. The Center produces key reports to guide health policy, including reports on health expenditures, health insurance, the uninsured, and uncompensated care.
- The Center will be focusing on physician services, including physician reimbursement and reporting on the cost and quality of physician services.
- This Center provides analytic and programming services to other divisions of the Commission and is responsible for the intranet and the Commission’s web site.
- The Center works closely with the Health Services Cost Review Commission, publishing each hospital’s charges for the most common Diagnosis related Groups (DRGs) as part of the Commission’s Price Transparency Initiative.
THE CENTER FOR QUALITY MEASUREMENT AND REPORTING
Director, Theressa Lee
- The Center is committed to providing meaningful information to consumers about the quality and outcomes of care provided in all Maryland acute care hospitals. It publishes the Hospital Guide, containing both general information and specific quality and outcome measures. The Center currently reports on the quality of hospital efforts in surgical infection prevention and is developing strategies to gather and report the rates of key hospital acquired infections. The Center plans to expand public reporting of angioplasty quality and outcomes beyond the current waiver hospitals to include all hospitals performing emergency angioplasty and is examining public reporting of risk-adjusted data on the quality and outcomes of cardiac surgery.
- The Center publishes the Nursing Home Guide for Marylanders, providing an easy way to locate and compare nursing homes on quality and outcomes measures. The Center is also pioneering the public reporting of resident and family satisfaction measures.
- The Center has responsibility for policies and information dissemination related to Maryland assisted living programs.
- The Center reports publicly on the performance of and satisfaction with health plans in the HMO Consumer Guide. Traditionally focused on measures of the clinical performance of HMOs, the Guide is expanding in two ways. MHCC now reports on additional measures of health plan quality and value and on PPOs in addition to HMOs.
- The Center is committed to reporting disparities in health and health care and is responsible for the Commission’s Racial and Ethnic Disparities initiative.