MHCC   Announcements    Press Release

Andrew N. Pollak, MD Appointed Chair of the Maryland Health Care Commission

Maryland Health Care Commission Awards Grant for School-Based Teletherapy for Special Education Services to Charles County Public Schools

15 Maryland Hospitals Improve in National Patient Safety Score Card; Maryland Maintains Low Health Care Costs

Maryland Health Care Commission releases annual report on spending and use of health care services in Maryland’s privately fully-insured market for 2016

Andrew N. Pollak, MD Appointed Chair of the Maryland Health Care Commission

Baltimore, Maryland (February 21, 2019). Governor Larry Hogan has appointed Andrew N. Pollak, MD., the James Kernan Professor and Chair, Department of Orthopaedics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, as Chair of the Maryland Health Care Commission (“MHCC” or “Commission”). Dr. Pollak will succeed Dr. Robert Moffit as Chair when Dr. Moffit concludes his service with the Maryland Health Care Commission later this week.

Dr. Pollak expects to lead the Commission at a time when it is focused on modernizing the State’s Certificate of Need Program, improving consumer access to health care quality and cost information, and supporting health care providers in the adoption of value-based payment models and innovative health technology, including the use of telehealth. The State will benefit from Dr. Pollak’s ongoing expertise in direct patient care and advanced clinical care delivery as he takes on this leadership role in policymaking in the State.

As a preeminent orthopaedic trauma surgeon, Dr. Pollak has introduced innovative surgical techniques to the University of Maryland Medical Center and its R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center to improve patient recovery after significant musculoskeletal trauma. He has pioneered new processes in the evaluation and treatment of patients with orthopaedic injuries that improved both patient care and resource utilization. As former chair of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ Extremity War Injuries Project Team, Dr. Pollak was instrumental in leading efforts to define research gaps in the treatment of high-energy musculoskeletal injuries and substantially increasing overall federal funding for musculoskeletal research. Dr. Pollak completed his undergraduate and medical education at Northwestern University, his residency in Integrated Orthopaedic Surgery at the University Hospitals of Cleveland, and a fellowship in orthopaedic traumatology at University of California-Davis Medical Center.

Dr. Pollak is currently serving his second term on the Maryland Health Care Commission, which began in 2015. Dr. Pollak was initially appointed to the Commission in 2003 for a four-year term by Governor Robert Ehrlich.

CONTACTS

For questions about this appointment, please contact Megan Renfrew, Chief of Government Affairs and Special Projects, at Megan.Renfrew@maryland.gov or 410-764-3483.

 Maryland Health Care Commission Awards Grant for School-Based Teletherapy for Special Education Services to Charles County Public Schools

Maryland Health Care Commission Awards Grant for School-Based Teletherapy for Special Education Services to Charles County Public Schools

Baltimore, Maryland (December 27, 2018). The Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) announced today the award of a grant to Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) to increase access to qualified service providers via teletherapy. Charles County Public Schools will receive grant funding to demonstrate the impact of using teletherapy to expand access to special education services for eligible public school students in Charles County. The award was in response to a competitive grant announcement released in July 2018. The grant will operate January 2019 through July 2020. A maximum of $200,000 of funding is provided for the project.

CCPS plans to partner with a technology vendor to connect middle and high school students with special education needs to Maryland-licensed speech-language pathologists via teletherapy. The speech-language pathologists will provide speech services to each student in accordance with the student’s Individual Education Program (IEP) determinations. The project has the following goals:

  1. Evaluate the impact of teletherapy in expanding access to speech services
  2. Identify best practices for teletherapy in schools
  3. Assess effectiveness of teletherapy in assisting students to meet IEP goals

Teletherapy in schools can enhance delivery of special education and related services, especially in rural and workforce shortage areas of the state where schools struggle to recruit direct service providers. Teletherapy can also help decrease the stigma associated with being removed from a classroom to receive services.

CONTACTS

For questions about this grant, please contact Eva Lenoir, program manager, Center for Health Information Technology and Innovative Care Delivery, Maryland Health Care Commission at Eva.Lenoir@maryland.gov or 410-764-3379.

 15 Maryland Hospitals Improve in National Patient Safety Score Card; Maryland Maintains Low Health Care Costs

Baltimore, MD (November 8, 2018) –Today the Leapfrog Group released the Fall 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades. Also today, the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement released a report on health care affordability which compares health care costs in Maryland with other states. These reports show that Maryland is making improvements in patient safety, while also maintaining significantly lower costs of health care than other regions in the United States.

In the Leapfrog report, eight hospitals received a letter grade of “A” (Anne Arundel Medical Center, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, Peninsula Regional Medical Center, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center, and University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center). Eleven Maryland hospitals received a “B” grade. Of special note, Howard County General Hospital, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center, and Suburban Hospital maintained high grades (A’s & B’s) for all three report periods, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, and Fall 2018.

Commission Chair Robert Moffit observed, “I commend the 19 hospitals that received high grades and I encourage the 25 other hospitals to continue their efforts to improve. Maryland hospitals are making serious progress, and blessed with an abundance of professional talent, they can lead the nation in delivering safe and high quality medical care." Improvement is possible, as 15 hospitals improved their patient safety grades compared to the Spring 2018 release of this report.

The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement’s (NHRI) Getting to Affordability project publishes this report, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, by using commercial market insurance claims to analyze health care costs in six areas in the United States: Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Minnesota, St. Louis, MO, and Maryland. In comparison to these other regions, Maryland’s health care costs are, on average, 20 percent lower than costs in five other regions in the United States. These results align with other recently published reports on health care costs, including the Health Care Cost Institute’s Health Marketplace Index, which highlighted Baltimore as the metro area with the lowest heath care prices. The NRHI report goes further to explore why costs differ and reveals how varied care delivery patterns and local prices contribute to the cost differences between regions. With three national total cost of care benchmark reports complete, trends are emerging, and statistics show that each state has a different story to tell. This consistent data is driving multi-stakeholder collaboration to address costs on both a local and national level.

Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) supplies some of the data included in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades reports. MHCC collaborates with NHRI on the Affordability report, providing data from Maryland’s Medical Care Data Base as well as expertise and advice on data analysis and methodology.. These national reporting efforts compliment Maryland quality, safety, and cost data that the MHCC makes available to consumers at https://healthcarequality.mhcc.maryland.gov/ and at WeartheCost.org.

Executive Director Ben Steffen added, “MHCC’s collaboration has enabled Leapfrog and NHRI to increase transparency in the Maryland health care system. The Leapfrog results show steady improvement in patient safety and the NRHI report shows that Maryland’s risk-adjusted total cost of care for the privately insured was below the other regions for the third year in row.”

Leapfrog Hospital Patient Safety Grades Background

The Leapfrog Group generates national Hospital Patient Safety Grades biannually. Hospital safety grades are calculated based on medical errors, accidents, injuries, and infections. Leapfrog produced grades for 40 acute care hospitals in Maryland. To view patient safety grades for all Maryland hospitals, visit hospitalsafetygrade.org. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades allow Maryland consumers and businesses to compare Maryland hospitals against hospitals in the region and the nation.

Prior to Fall 2017, Maryland hospitals were not included in Leapfrog’s report due to the federal waiver exempting Maryland hospitals from participating in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Inpatient Quality Reporting Program. Beginning in 2017, the MHCC generated the missing measures from the Maryland Hospital Inpatient Discharge Data Set, which is maintained by the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC). Leapfrog used these results in combination with patient experience measures, and hospital associated infection measures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to produce composite hospital patient safety scores ranging from A to F.

NHRI Affordability Report Background

“Data is the Spark, Collaboration is the Fuel” is NRHI’s third report comparing the total cost of care for those with private insurance in various U.S. regions. The report uses the average cost of healthcare for comparable populations as its benchmark and compares each state to that average. Like other recent studies highlighted in national media, “Data is the Spark, Collaboration is the Fuel” finds that healthcare costs vary widely between states. The NRHI report dives deeper to explore why costs differ and reveals how varied care delivery patterns and local prices contribute to the cost differences between Colorado, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon, St. Louis, and Utah. With the publication of this report, NRHI now has three sets of regional cost comparisons. Learn more about NRHI’s Getting to Affordability project.

The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) is a national membership organization of regional health improvement collaborative (RHICs) and partners representing more than 30 states and territories across the US. Our members work in and across their regions to collaborate and transform healthcare with the goal of achieving better health, and high-quality affordable care.

This report was developed with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.

 


Last Updated: 3/25/2019