With just over a month until we host the 2022 Maryland State of Reform Health Policy Conference, our team is hard at work bringing together the speakers, topics, and conversations that we’re sure stakeholders from all siloes will find valuable.
We’re excited to announce that Chuck Milligan, chief operating officer at Health Management Associates, will join us as the host of our conference this year! Chuck previously served as Deputy Secretary of Health Care Financing (Medicaid Director) at the Maryland Department of Health after the passage of the ACA, and as Executive Director of the Hilltop Institute at UMBC between 2004-2011. You can find more information on our upcoming conference below!
State of Reform
1. Q&A: MHCC’s Ben Steffen on the future of HIEs
Ben Steffen is the executive director of the Maryland Health Care Commission, which designates the state’s health information exchange—the Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP). In this Q&A, Steffen reflects on the role CRISP played in mapping the COVID-19 pandemic and shares his thoughts on the future utilization of HIEs to strengthen Maryland’s public health infrastructure.
“The value of health information exchanges took on a new dimension with the onset of COVID,” says Steffen, as CRISP was able to provide accessible portals for public health and clinical leaders to access outbreak and testing information. “CRISP’s ability to gather information across the entire clinical landscape and assemble it in ways that could help decision makers more broadly, was really recognized.” Looking forward, Steffen says the state will need to think about if, how, and to what extent it utilizes CRISP in its public health infrastructure.
2. Detailed Agenda will be released next week!
In case you missed it, we recently released the Topical Agenda for the 2022 Maryland State of Reform Health Policy Conference coming up on May 4. It’s a set of topics pulled together from scores of hours of conversations with our Convening Panel, key stakeholders, and sponsors. During the conference, we’ll take up issues related to behavioral health, health equity, workforce challenges, and COVID’s impact on the population health financing model.
Be sure to also be on the lookout for our Detailed Agenda, which we’ll release next week. This agenda will include the full list of over 60 confirmed and invited speakers who will join us at the event. If you haven’t already registered, we’d be honored to have you join us!
3. Health workforce legislation on the move
Less than two weeks remain until the end of session, and lawmakers are hard at work pushing health-related legislation forward. Facing last week’s chamber crossover deadline, several bills including legislation related to adult Medicaid dental services and the 988 Trust Fund passed out of their chamber of origin.
Two health workforce bills sponsored by Del. Ariana Kelly also recently crossed over to the opposite chamber. House Bill 625, which would establish the Commission to Study the Health Care Workforce Crisis in Maryland, is currently in the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. HB 1208, which has a committee hearing scheduled for this afternoon, focuses more on policies that would specifically address the state’s nursing workforce shortage.
4. Legislature continues FY 2023 budget negotiations
The legislature is nearing final discussions on the $58.2 billion operating budget for FY 2023. After unanimously passing in the Senate, Republicans attempted to pass several amendments last Thursday in the House, including funding for alternative medicine within the Department of Veteran Affairs and an amendment requiring the collection of abortion-related information. The amendments failed and the budget ultimately passed the House on a 113-15 vote.
However, the Senate refused to concur with other changes from the House, including a $46.5 million appropriation to support the legalization of cannabis in the state. A conference committee is set to work out final negotiations between the two chambers.
5. Del. Reznik looks to address ED overstays
Del. Kirill Reznik is currently pursuing a bill that aims to improve the continuum of care for foster children housed in emergency departments or other acute-care settings. Reznik says the lack of post-acute placements for this population has resulted in children getting stuck in EDs for weeks or months after receiving care. House Bill 406 would put in place new restrictions and procedures related to these placements, and would establish a task force to study current ED overstays among foster children.
According to the bill’s analysis, DHS estimates it “incurs expenditures of approximately $36.5 million annually for costs associated with youth overstay expenditures.” HB 406 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee tomorrow afternoon.