MARYLAND GENERAL ASSEMBLY


StatehouseMaryland General Assembly Sine Die Report

The Maryland General Assembly adjourned Sine Die on April 12, 2021. During the 90-day virtual session, the legislature considered many MHA and hospital field top priorities. Collectively we secured several wins. These measures expand access to health care, improve health equity for Marylanders, and build upon numerous lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.


PROGRESS ON MHA’S LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

Ensure Liability Protections in Public Health Emergency

  • Secured Attorney General opinion clarifying scope of immunity protections for care impacted by the pandemic response and successfully removed problematic Maryland Department of Health directive language limiting liability protections

Sustain Access to Telehealth

  • Passed MHA bill to broaden telehealth access permanently; significant gains in audio-only and payment parity

Advance Health Equity

  • Passed key legislation to establish Health Equity Resource Communities, with nearly $60 million in funding through fiscal year 2025
  • Advanced MHA priorities to create multi-agency Health Equity Commission, enhance data collection, and spread implicit bias training

Protect Hospital Budget Priorities

  • Rejected a $35 million Medicaid Deficit Assessment increase
  • Maintained a nearly $80 million investment in community Medicaid providers

Limit Consumer Cost Exposure

  • Prevented overreach in Medical Debt Protection Act, retaining important collection practices
  • Secured multi-agency state report on the impact of high-deductible health plans on out-of-pocket costs and use of preventive care by Marylanders

Defend Against COVID-related Employer Mandates

  • Amended Essential Workers’ Protection Act to avert mandated hazard pay, employer-funded leave, and new options to refuse work
  • Defeated presumption legislation that required hospitals to assume liability when an employee contracts COVID-19—without proof the virus was contracted at work

ADDITIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Increase Funding for Hospital Programs

  • Delivered $6 million in capital budget to support 8 hospital projects across Maryland
  • Expanded a grant program to include hospitals, FQHCs, and eligible providers to improve access to pre- and post-natal care for uninsured women and infants
  • Extended state grants for behavioral health crisis services

Support Expanded Access to Health Care Services

  • Passed legislation extending Medicaid coverage for mothers to one year post-partum
  • Backed legislation to extend Easy Enrollment program to individuals who apply for unemployment benefits
  • Supported legislation to allow the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to develop a State Young Adult Health Insurance Subsidies Pilot Program

Promote the Vitality of Health Care Workforce

  • Strengthened workplace violence protections by allowing an employer to petition for a peace order
  • Ensured FY22 funding of physician loan repayment, allowing Maryland to claim maximum federal matching dollars for next cycle
  • Allowed paramedics to be activated by hospitals or local health departments as vaccinators