Messages from MHA's President

From MHA President and CEO Carmela Coyle

Care Transformation in Action

July 14, 2017 By: Carmela Coyle

Each of you, as a hospital leader in Maryland, knows firsthand the challenges and rewards of transforming health care delivery. Spurred by the All-Payer Model demonstration, for nearly four years, your hospitals have led the charge in this arena – innovating, experimenting, and ultimately succeeding with novel strategies to control costs, improve outcomes, and care for whole communities.

But, like the proverbial tree falling in the forest with no one around, if key policymakers and lawmakers aren’t aware of the good work you’re doing, they will be ill-equipped when making important decisions that affect your ability to continue to progress.

That’s why, for several months, MHA has been coordinating with the Health Services Cost Review Commission to facilitate presentations before commissioners – so you have an opportunity to share the many ways you are transforming health care delivery.

During this week’s commission meeting, representatives from the Nexus Montgomery Regional Partnership told commissioners about the important work they’re doing to reduce avoidable hospital utilization for high-risk, high-cost populations.

Here’s how it works. The partnership is composed of six hospitals/health systems in Montgomery County: Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, Holy Cross Hospital, Holy Cross Germantown Hospital, MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, Suburban Hospital and Washington Adventist Hospital. The organizations collaborate on four programs to improve the health of residents of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties:

  • Stabilizing the health of older adults to reduce hospital admissions
  • Improving transitions from hospital to home
  • Connecting uninsured people to specialty care
  • Improving community-based resources for severely mentally ill

Among the services offered are: health coaches, connections to community-based services, specialty care visits by case managers, and expanded behavioral health crisis capacity.

These hospitals and health systems are facing their common challenges together. And while data on how the programs are helping patients aren’t yet available, the early progress is encouraging in that a strong, inter-hospital foundation has been laid for all of the programs. Already, Nexus Montgomery is looking to broaden its scope. New and potential initiatives include deeper engagement with primary care physicians, partnerships with skilled nursing facilities, respite care for homeless people, and home health for people with serious mental illness.

During the meeting, Commissioner John Colmers put it well, saying that the collaboration among hospitals and health systems that have traditionally been competitive is “remarkable” and the work they are doing together is “transformative.”

He’s right about Nexus Montgomery, and what’s more inspiring is that this is but one example of how hospitals throughout Maryland are continuing to make good on their commitment to improve the lives of entire communities.