Maryland Governor Announces Health Care Reform Coordinating Council

Maryland Governor Announces Health Care Reform Coordinating Council

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley held a news conference today at Anne Arundel Medical Center to announce the formation of the Maryland Health Care Reform Coordinating Council to advise his administration on policies and procedures regarding the recent and future federal health care reform legislation.

“Individual states will be the drivers of health care reform, and we want Maryland to continue to be a health care leader,” said Gov. O’Malley, whose administration in 2007 expanded Medicaid access for low-income Maryland residents.  “With the support of the federal government, we will expand care to hundreds of thousands of Marylanders.”

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley announced the formation of the Maryland Health Care Reform Coordinating Council at a news conference held at Anne Arundel Medical Center. From left are Maryland Speaker of the House Mike Busch, Maryland Secretary the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene John Colmers, and Anne Arundel Health System CEO Martin L. “Chip” Doordan.)

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley announced the formation of the Maryland Health Care Reform Coordinating Council at a news conference held at Anne Arundel Medical Center. From left are Maryland Speaker of the House Mike Busch, Maryland Secretary the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene John Colmers, and Anne Arundel Health System CEO Martin L. “Chip” Doordan.)

With the medical center as the backdrop, O’Malley credited President Obama for helping the country take “a giant step forward,” and the federal government with providing the support each state will need in making health reform a reality.  He also noted that each state should take control of implementing reform that will help control health care costs while expanding coverage to residents who have been living without health insurance.

Anne Arundel Health System CEO Martin L. “Chip” Doordan welcomed the governor, as well as Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Maryland’s Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene John Colmers and Anne Arundel County Deputy Secretary of Health Frances Phillip, and House Speaker Mike Busch in his opening remarks.

“Health care reform is on everyone’s mind,” said Doordan.  “It affects all of us. Rest assured it will affect this hospital as well.” Doordan noted that the medical center is nearing completion of an expansion that will nearly double the size of the emergency department, and will include a pediatric emergency department and inpatient unit.

Following the news conference, Doordan, AAHS President and COO Victoria W. “Tori” Bayless, and clinical director of nursing Carol Lacher led O’Malley on a tour of the hospital’s Level IIIB Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

3 comments

  1. Posted by Sherry Perkins, at

    Jorjan – great question.

    Bob- thanks for your response – Im wondering if we can add this as a posting on the Blog in addition to the response to this item so folks have a sense of our reimbursement mechanisms in Maryland and implications as we work on our FY11 budget. Thanks again.

  2. Posted by Bob Reilly, at

    Great questions – let me try to answer by first giving you a bit of background (and please pardon me if you already know this stuff).

    Maryland hospitals are regulated by a unique rate setting system, the only one of its kind in the nation, that is administered by a state agency called the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC). The rates that we charge our patients have been developed over time through the regulation to encompass funding to ensure healthcare access for all citizens of Maryland regardless of their ability to pay. That’s one substantial difference in our system from the rest of the nation – we already provide for care of the uninsured. And while our system does not provide coverage for elective procedures, the emergent needs of all patients are covered.

    Maryland hospital rate increases are determined and approved by the HSCRC on an annual basis. Under the current regulations, these increases are directly impacted by the increases/decreases in Medicare spending. The potential reduction in Medicare spending could signal a potential decrease in the amount of rate increase hospitals receive. All hospitals in Maryland received only about a 1.5% increase in rates for FY 2010, before this legislation was finalized. AAMC received a little more than that because our case mix rose in FY 2009. For FY 2011, we are not anticipating much more in the way of rate increases but we are working collectively with other hospitals in Maryland through the Maryland Hospital Association to negotiate a reasonable increase. We anticipate an answer for the upcoming year by the end of May. It is still unclear if the projected Medicare cuts will impact the amount of rate increase we may receive.

    Meanwhile, the HSCRC staff has not released their thoughts on the impact of the federal regulation on our system. Collectively, Maryland hospitals believe there is an opportunity to retain but evolve our rate setting system to maintain the financial stability of our hospitals while embracing the concept of expanded health coverage for Marylanders.

    Finally, we here at AAMC are well positioned with our staff, our physician partners, our facility and our technology to respond to the potential pressures of reduced revenue increases. However, it will not be without significant collaboration on the part of all parties. I think we are up to the test should it come.

    Bob Reilly
    CFO
    Anne Arundel Health System

  3. Posted by Jorjan Boord, at

    Since Medicare reimbursements are slated to be cut by 25% beginning in September, what do you anticipate that the impact will be on our organization? How will the hospital respond?