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Progress report on Maryland’s healthcare-transformation program


Tidal marshes on the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland’s most notable natural feature.

Here’s a  update from  Carmela Coyle,  president and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association, on Maryland’s nationally watched five-year partnership with the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation to see the effectiveness/outcomes from shifting hospitals’ focus toward preventive, community-based care from  acute emergency care, surgeries and inpatient stays. The goal are to control cost growth  and to help people get and stay healthy, before they need a hospital visit.

Ms. Coyle writes:

 “This {program} was a 180-degree turn from the traditional hospital business model and from the way things are done just about everywhere else in the country. No longer would hospitals be paid based on how many patients they treated or services they provided, but rather on making sure that people receive the right care, at the right time, in the right setting.”

Last month the experiment reached its midpoint. Ms. Coyle listed some outcomes so far:

  • “Readmissions rates are decreasing faster than the national rate
  • “Hospital-acquired conditions are down by more than one third
  • “Avoidable hospital visits are down more than 17 percent

“Much of this has been accomplished through innovative, non-traditional hospital activities like the Maryland Faith Health Network, a pilot program that connects hospitals with churches, synagogues, temples and other faith organizations to improve their congregants’ well-being and ability to navigate the system. Other examples:

  • “A free program that connects people who have complex health issues with a health navigator–a registered nurse or licensed social worker who provides one-on-one guidance and care coordination.
  • “Care A Van,” a large RV that transports a social worker and medical staff, who provide free health screenings, help with Medicaid applications, immunizations and more for uninsured children and their families with no regular source of medical care.
  • “Wholesome Wave, which provides a “prescription” for healthy foods for underinsured and uninsured diabetic patients. Vendors at local farmers markets accept these ‘prescriptions’ and provide healthy food at a reduced cost.”

“For the most part, these programs and others like them were conceived and implemented by hospital staff and leaders. While the initiatives have generated strong results, consumers have been largely unaware of these seismic changes, or what they mean for navigating the rapidly changing world of healthcare.’

“Enter a new statewide public engagement campaign, launched in late June, to connect healthcare consumers to this transformation through their local hospitals. The campaign, ‘A Breath of Fresh Care,’ features several health- engagement tools for Marylanders who would like to know more about how healthcare is changing and about how they can partner with healthcare providers to take a more active role in staying healthy before they need care, being empowered during care and remaining healthy after care.”

To read all of her comments, please hit this link.

Contact Info

(617) 230-4965

Wellesley, Mass