Messages from MHA's President

MHA Friday Update Weekly Messages

Legislature Helps Battle the Opioid Crisis

by Carmela Coyle | 04/14/2017

For Maryland’s hospitals, the state’s behavioral health crisis has been a priority – both on the front lines of care and in the halls of Annapolis. Some important bills were passed during this year’s just-adjourned legislative session that hold the promise of hope for those who are suffering:

  • The Keep the Door Open Act will provide more than $100 million in funding for community-based health providers, important partners for your organizations as you work to direct patients suffering with substance use and mental health disorders to the most appropriate care setting
  • The HOPE & Treatment Act, a comprehensive package to address opioid addiction that expands programs to care for patients suffering with substance use disorders, creates local teams to reduce overdose deaths and near-death cases, establishes a crisis hotline, develops educational materials on opioid use disorder, and increases the availability of opioid treatment prescribers
  • The Start Talking Act requires the State Board of Education to develop and implement a drug addiction and prevention education program in public schools, and mandates that county school boards establish a policy to authorize school personnel to administer naloxone
  • The Prescriber Limits Act requires providers to prescribe the lowest effective dose of an opioid, and a quantity that is no more than what is needed for the expected duration of a patient’s pain
  • The expansion of telehealth programs will help substance use disorder treatment providers, who are in short supply, offer services remotely and as a result treat more patients

In addition to these new laws, the state is beefing up its opioid enforcement, prevention and treatment services after Governor Hogan in March declared a state of emergency and committed an additional $50 million to the problem. The Department of Health & Mental Hygiene is now working with hospitals to increase emergency department access to the opioid-reversing drug naloxone and expand universal screenings for substance use disorders.

Together, the new laws and the additional state aid provide some of the much-needed support that hospitals have long sought not only to combat the state’s behavioral health crisis, but also to help others realize that the right care, at the right time, in the right setting goes beyond the emergency department.

Messages From MHA President and CEO Carmela Coyle

  • Farewell

    September 29, 2017 By: Carmela Coyle
    “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”--Winnie the Pooh​ Who could imagine that Winnie the Pooh would so aptly sum up my feelings about leaving MHA? But he does. It is hard to say goodbye because you have made it that way. To a person, Maryland’s hospital leaders have enriched the past nine years of my life with your dedication to MHA, your compassion for your patients and staff, your determination to maintain Maryland’s unique status as a national leader and, through it all, your friendship.​
    Full story
  • Bolstering the Ranks

    September 22, 2017 By: Carmela Coyle
    As MHA gears up for the 2018 legislative session in Annapolis, amid uncertainty regarding federal health care policy and final negotiations on the next phase of the All-Payer model, your association has several new faces coming on board. They will make sure not only that the voice of hospitals is heard, but that legislators and policymakers understand the critical role hospitals play their communities and throughout Maryland.
    Full story
  • Hospitals as Safe Harbors

    September 15, 2017 By: Carmela Coyle
    Violence is a growing problem in our country, and Maryland is not immune to the threat. Baltimore now has the nation’s highest homicide rate, more than 51 for every 100,000 people. Statewide, there are more than 446 violent crimes for every 100,000 Marylanders. And more and more, hospital staff on the front lines of care are feeling the pain, sometimes literally, sometimes emotionally.​
    Full story
  • National Issues, Local Voices

    September 08, 2017 By: Carmela Coyle
    Next week in Washington, D.C., the American Hospital Association will host its annual National Regional Policy Board meeting, bringing together hospital and health care leaders from across the country to discuss some of the most pressing issues our field will face in the coming years. You may remember that for governance purposes the AHA breaks the nation up into nine regions (we’re in Region 3), each of which meets three times a year to foster communication between the AHA and its members and state hospital associations. The RPBs provide input on public policy issues considered by the AHA board and identify needs unique to each region.
    Full story
  • All in a Life's Work

    September 01, 2017 By: Carmela Coyle
    This holiday weekend, as families try to squeeze in a few last beach days or host backyard barbecues before fall arrives, thousands of Maryland’s health care professionals will be at their hospital posts throughout the state.
    Full story
  • Opioid Crisis Demands Action

    August 25, 2017 By: Carmela Coyle
    The Maryland Department of Health has reported that drug- and alcohol-related deaths continued to climb in 2017 – the 550 deaths in the first quarter of 2017 represent a 44 percent increase from the same period last year. The need for effective measures to mitigate the crisis is becoming even more pressing.
    Full story