As the stroke of midnight Monday, the Maryland General Assembly adjourned its 438th session, concluding what by any measure was a very strong 90 days for Maryland’s hospitals. Among the many highlights:
- The annual Medicaid “sick tax” on hospitals was reduced by $30 million
- The state will provide $20 million in grants to establish and improve crisis response for behavioral health patients
- Maryland’s individual health insurance market was stabilized, without any new taxes on hospitals, which could have totaled $75 million
Earlier this week, you received an at-a-glance summary of these and other victories, including workforce development, medical liability, and hospitals’ tax-exempt status. We also sent you a full bill tracking summary, a slide deck that can be tailored to your organization when you present to your board or the public, and an action map with steps you may need to take as the new laws are implemented.
MHA’s and hospitals’ government relations teams worked closely not only throughout the session, but also in the months leading up to it.
Our teams would not have been successful without your support. From reaching out to legislators in your districts to directly testifying before the House and Senate (11 members from five hospitals and health systems testified this year), the unity among the hospital field this year made an undeniable difference.
How do we follow up on this success?
To begin, we all need to demonstrate that we’re using the favorable outcomes of the 2018 session to benefit the people and communities we serve. For example, the state’s investments in behavioral health services will augment hospitals’ efforts to solve a longstanding, statewide problem.
Second, we need to prepare for the next round. The General Assembly will reconvene Wednesday, January 9, 2019 – less than nine months from today. Already, work groups are forming on topics like home health care, EMS coverage, peer recovery specialists, community health workers, and more. It is this work, during the interim, which lays the foundation for success when the legislature is in session. Also over the interim, we’ll keep you informed of key developments through Member Alerts and MHA’s weekly Update newsletter.
This year’s strong session is something to be proud of – knowing that your hard work helped create an environment more conducive to improving the health care and health status of the people of Maryland.