Messages from MHA's President

MHA Friday Update Weekly Messages

Kicking Advocacy into High Gear

by Mary Pat Seurkamp | 10/20/2017

With the start of the 2018 General Assembly session less than three months away, preparations for what is expected to be a challenging and complex political climate are well underway at MHA. There have been many meetings with key legislators, plenty of input into the state’s budget process, and the development of supporting advocacy materials like infographics and legislative briefs.

Driving all of this work is MHA’s legislative agenda, which your MHA Executive Committee approved late last month. The agenda details the hospital field’s three top priorities – issues that MHA continues to pursue so that you have the tools you need to take care of the patients and communities you serve. The agenda includes:

  • Behavioral health: In alignment with a forthcoming roadmap from MHA’s Behavioral Health Task Force for an essential, comprehensive behavioral health care system, the focus for the coming session will be to strengthen the behavioral health care workforce and expand access to crisis services.
  • Sick tax: Previously referred to as the “Medicaid tax,” efforts this year will focus on protecting the $35 million spend-down to which legislators committed last year.
  • Liability costs: This annual priority aims to mitigate Maryland’s litigious environment so that health care resources go to patients, not defensive medicine or expensive court battles.

These are the tip of the iceberg of course; many other issues will be advocated by MHA staff and consultants before and during the session. And the 90-day session could be challenging to navigate because the governor’s seat and other key legislative positions are up for grabs in the 2018 election. Against this backdrop, the state is entering the final stages of negotiations on a new contract with CMS for an updated version of the All-Payer Model. In other words, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

That’s why we are laying the groundwork now, so that when the gavel is brought down on January 10 to open the three-month session, policymakers will understand why it’s so important that Maryland’s hospitals thrive.

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