Spy Profile: United Needs & Abilities and the Shore’s Developmentally Challenged Residents

For an organization that serves over 400 of the most developmentally challenged residents on the Eastern Shore, including Kent and Talbot County, United Needs & Abilities continues to struggle with name recognition. That might be partly due to UNA’s name change in three years ago when it decided that the Epilepsy Association of the Eastern Shore was far to limited in defining their work, but it also may be the result of the stigma that comes when serving those with cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, autism, intellectual disabilities, epilepsy and other mental and physical impairments.

Board President Debbie Horner Palmer and Executive Director Michael Dyer want to start changing that mindset. Debbie, who suffers from Epilepsy herself, and who has played a number of leadership roles in the organization over the years, is determined to end this historical blind spot on the Shore by using her own story as a way to focus attention on the needs and aspirations of those with developmental disabilities. Michael, who has worked in management positions at Perdue Farms before taking on the day-to-day management of UNA, is also driven by the same goals as the organization sees new challenges in funding and outreach during a time of governmental austerity.

The Spy sat down with Debbie and Michael to talk about the mission of United Needs & Abilities and its unique role on the Shore at Bullitt House last week.

This video is approximately four minutes in length For more information please go here

Talbot Hospice will Hold Memorial Walk April 22

Talbot Hospice will hold its 2nd Annual Memorial Walk on Oxford Day, Saturday, April 22, beginning at 8 a.m.The public is invited to walk in memory or in honor of a loved one to benefit hospice programs and services in Talbot County.  A brief ceremony and dove release will be followed by a one-mile walk to the Strand, closing with another opportunity to remember loved ones who have passed. The funds raised from this event will help provide services and programs for the patients and families served by Talbot Hospice.

“We are so grateful to the Oxford Day Committee for including us in their annual Oxford Day event,” said Vivian Dodge, Executive Director, Talbot Hospice.  “We look forward to seeing our family members and anyone who would enjoy a chance to recognize and honor a loved one.”

Registration for adults is $25; students are $10, and children 12 and under are free.  The fee includes an adult t-shirt and light breakfast.  To register visit TalbotHospice.org/events or call 410-822-6681. For more information contact Katie Schroeder at kschroeder@talbothospice.org or 410-822-6681.

Haven Ministries Seasonal Shelter Gets Designated Space

Local artists Sue Stockman of St. Michaels, MD and her daughter Sequoia Chupek working on the mural which now graces the common room in Haven Ministries seasonal shelter at Kent Island United Methodist Church.

There were smiles all around when Haven Ministries held an open house for the public to see the newly- designated space for its seasonal shelter at Kent Island United Methodist Church in Stevensville. The shelter which previously occupied three classrooms in the church has received a new open space including a common room consisting of a living room, dining room and kitchen, as well as an adjacent room with bunk beds to accommodate men, women and children.

According to Don Lewis, chairperson of the church’s Board of Trustees, the church reconfigured its Sunday School rooms to accommodate the changes. He comments, “The new space is less work as we no longer have to transition the space each day from one thing to another – setting up cots at night and breaking them down in the mornings. The new space can remain set up for the shelter which is a win-win for both the church and the shelter.”

He adds, “This has been a very easy transition because Haven Ministries has been operating its shelter very smoothly in the church for 10 years.”

The church has also extended its hours to accommodate the shelter, which is open from 6 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. daily. Kent Island United Methodist Church is one of 15 churches who participate in supporting the shelter. Pastor David Bennett of Kent Island United Methodist Church welcomes the newly designated shelter space, stating, “For our congregation to have the shelter in our midst is strengthening the church’s role in the community. It has helped us to understand the responsibility we have to meet the needs of the community and to care for those in our community.”

He adds, “I hope the relationship we and other churches have had with the Haven Ministries will help the community understand that the people here just need a little bit of help. Homelessness is something our community can embrace – we don’t have to be fearful of it.”

According to Mia Cranford, Fundraising Coordinator for Haven Ministries, “The new shelter space has come alive. There is a positive energy now which translates into our mission to help people feel at home here and to work toward eventually having this feeling again in their own homes.”

Haven Ministries has focused on providing a very homey and comfortable space for its guests. Cots have been replaced with permanent bunk beds and small Sunday School chairs have been replaced with comfortable overstuffed couches and chairs, as well as café tables for eating. The furnishings and paint for the new space were funded by private donations to Haven Ministries.

Pictured L to R at Haven Ministries’ recent Open House are Krista Pettit, Executive Director of Haven Ministries; Sandi Wiscott, Case Manager for Haven Ministries; Caroline Aland, President of Haven Ministries Board of Directors; Haven Ministries Board Member Margie Reedy; and Haven Ministries Volunteer Coordinator Karen Bardwell.

Cranford adds, “The church is showing the love of Christ by welcoming shelter guests to the newly configured space. It has really been a community effort.  Local artist Sue Stockman of St. Michaels, MD, was commissioned to create a beautiful mural for the shelter’s common space.”

Stockman recalls Haven Ministries executive director Krista Pettit wanted a mural designed specifically for the space to go along with all new and special furnishings throughout. After Pettit received a grant from Richard Marks from Dock Street Foundation, the mural was created.  Stockman thought the mural was a great metaphor for the lives of homeless individuals – taking things broken and discarded to create something beautiful out of them, making everyone feel valuable and hopeful.”

Stockman adds, “The mural was also a very personal project for me, as my ex-husband died last year and was homeless at the time of his death.”

Following her ex-husband’s death, Stockman began work on the mural with her daughter, Sequoia Chupek in their studio in St. Michaels. She states, “I recognized how important it was for us to be working together during this time. It was just as therapeutic for Sequoia as it was for me as we co-created this piece of art.” She adds, “I have learned that if we are open, things are brought to us that make a real difference in our lives. This project has had a significant impact on our lives, as well as those receiving it at the shelter.  Working on the mural has helped us learn not to judge people who are homeless as they travel their own journeys.”

Haven Ministries offers a 24-hour a day program, with daytime services open to the public at the Resource Center and nighttime shelter services at the shelter, except for weekends when its Resource Center is closed. In addition to its seasonal shelter and Resource Center at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Centreville, the organization operates a Thrift Store, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a Food Pantry on the third Friday of every month. For further information or to become a Friend of Haven Ministries, visit haven-ministries.org or call 410-739-4363.

Mid-Shore Health Future: The Risks of Repealing the ACA on the Shore with Jeananne Sciabarra

On Thursday, Jeananne Sciabarra, Executive Director of Consumer Health First spoke in Kent County about the implications of repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare.”

Founded in 2006 as the Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform, the organization transitioned into CHF in 2016 with the same mission: to work collaboratively to promote health equity through access to comprehensive, high-quality and affordable health care for all Marylanders.

While the impact of repealing and replacing ACA with the currently proposed American Health Care Act (ACHA) would cause profound changes to healthcare nationwide, Sciabarra focused on what Marylanders, and specifically Congressional District, 1 would lose.

Talking about the rollback of Medicaid expansion, Sciabarra said that “the bottom line is that will push back the matching (between state and federal) to 50-50 which is going to make it extremely expensive for Maryland to continue that provision.” She added that on top of that, a block grant per capita system for each person enrolled in Medicaid would force the state to decide who doesn’t get services.

Also, in regard to hospitals, Sciabarra noted that Maryland has a unique rate-setting system that provides services at the same rate anywhere in the state and that during the expansion of Medicaid, uninsured costs went down $311 million between 2013-2015, and that with set amounts or “global budgets” hospitals were incentivized to participate in wellness programs to help people stay healthy and out of the hospital. A rollback of those kinds of programs would have a “catastrophic” effect on people not covered in the health exchange, especially older people.

The district’s uninsured rate has gone from 8.3% to 4.1% since the ACA was implemented. This 4.2 percentage point drop in the uninsured rate could be reversed if the ACA is entirely or partially repealed.

401,400 individuals in the district who now have health insurance that covers preventative services like cancer screenings and flu shots without any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles stand to lose this access if the Republican Congress eliminates ACA provisions requiring health insurers to cover essential preventative services without cost-sharing.

445,400 individuals in the district with employer-sponsored health insurance are at risk of losing important consumer protections like the prohibition on annual and lifetime limits, protection against unfair policy recession, and coverage of pre-existing health conditions if the ACA is entirely or partially repealed.

15,800 individuals in the district who have purchased high-quality marketplace coverage now stand to lose their coverage if the Republican Congress dismantles the Marketplaces.

11,800 individuals in the district who received financial assistance to purchase Marketplace coverage in 2016 are now at risk of coverage becoming unaffordable if the Republican Congress eliminates the premium tax credits.

8400 individuals in the district who are receiving cost-sharing reductions to lower out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance, are now at risk of healthcare becoming unaffordable is the Republican Congress eliminates cost-sharing reductions.

32,900 individuals in the district who are covered by the ACA’s Medicaid expansion now stand to lose coverage if the Republican Congress eliminates the Medicaid expansion.

This video is approximately nine minutes in length. For more information about Consumer Health First please go here. Sources: US Department of Health and Human Services, Urban Institute, Families USA, The Commonwealth Fund, National Women’s Law Center.

UM Shore Regional Health Publishes Community Benefits Report Online

The 2016 Community Health Improvement Report is now published and available for viewing on the UM Shore Regional Health website at http://umshoreregional.org/news-and-events/news/2017/um-shore-regional-2016-community-health-improvement-report.

The report, which describes highlights of the community health improvement programs and conducted by UM SRH, includes articles on four initiatives: the Ask the Expert series; the inauguration of Shore Behavioral Health’s Bridge Clinic; the Stepping On program offered by the Balance Center in partnership with Maintaining Active Citizens (MAC); and guided support programs (classes, screenings, support groups, etc.) that support better health management.

According to Ken Kozel, UM SRH president and CEO, “The value of our community benefits programs and services, including charity care, exceeds $32 million, but the value is stronger than money. It is building healthier communities and our steadfast commitment to helping our patients and their families enjoy their best health and quality of life.”

Birthing Center Renovations in Progress

Renovations have begun at the Birthing Center at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, located at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton.

We're ExpectingAccording to Luann Satchell, manager of Women’s and Children’s Services at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton, the plan is to renovate two patient rooms at a time as to minimize disruption to Birthing Center patients, visitors and staff. The entire project, which will encompass the Center’s triage rooms, inpatient rooms, nurses station and hallways, will take approximately three to four months to complete.

“Our team members, many of whom have been with us since the Birthing Center opened more than twenty-one years ago, are excited for the opportunity to provide the same patient-centered care, in a modernized environment,” comments Satchell. “We believe that once completed, the renovated patient care areas will greatly enhance the overall patient experience, for mother and baby.”

While the Easton hospital has been delivering the region’s newest residents for several decades, the Birthing Center officially opened its doors in January, 1996 and since then has been offering expectant mothers the LDRP model of care — an approach allowing women and their families to experience labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum care in one suite for the duration of their stay. According to Satchell, in an LDRP environment, physicians, nurses and necessary equipment come to mother and baby to maximize comfort and the overall patient experience.

Local Ob-Gyn provider and Birthing Center medical director, Aisha Siddiqui, MD, FACOG, adds, “As affiliates of University of Maryland Medical System, our Ob-Gyn and midwifery providers are able to provide expectant mothers with leading-edge prenatal care, from conception to labor, delivery and postpartum care. Together with our stellar clinical team at the Birthing Center, we work hard to ensure that moms and babies receive quality care during their stay at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton. We couldn’t be more thrilled that after renovation, the Birthing Center environment will be just as superb as the care we’ve always provided there.”

To learn more about the Birthing Center at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton or the educational opportunities and support groups available to expectant and new mothers, visit umshoreregional.org/birthing. Information about Dr. Siddiqui’s practice, UM Community Medical Group- Women’s Health (Ob-Gyn) can be obtained by calling 410-820-4888.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

1st District Health Care Town Hall Meetings to be Held Without Rep. Andy Harris

Constituents in Maryland’s 1st Congressional District are growing increasingly concerned about the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and are looking to their elected officials to help address those concerns. Many calls, letters, and emails to Representative Andy Harris’s office have gone unanswered, or answered without addressing specific concerns. Constituent requests for Representative Harris to hold an in-person town hall meeting have not been successful.

Citizens for Health Care, a local grassroots organization, has heard these concerns and will host a series of citizens town hall meetings entitled “Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Town Hall Meetings” intended to inform and educate constituents about the ACA and what it’s repeal could mean to them and their families and to consider methods to improve the ACA.

These town hall meetings will feature speakers from the professional healthcare community for an information session, as well as an open-panel question and answer session for public attendees. Representative Harris and other local elected officials have been invited to attend, in hopes of opening the lines of communication with their constituents and allowing for a discussion of what might come next. Hundreds of constituents have indicated they are interested in attending.

“At Citizens for Health Care, we understand that the subjects of health care and the ACA are not partisan issues: they are human issues,” said DeLane Lewis, one of the founders of Citizens for Health Care. “Congress is facing a dilemma at this moment, arguing whether to repeal or repair parts of the ACA. However, any decision they make will have a real, lasting impact on all U.S. citizens. It is our mission to keep the public informed and aware as to how these proposed changes could affect them.”

One of the major aims of the town hall meetings will be to answer the many questions that citizens currently have, including: What will be the impact on employer based plans? While all current and proposed plans, would continue to offer insurance for pre-existing conditions, under the ACA insurance companies are not allowed to charge higher premiums for pre-existing conditions. Will that be true under any new plan? In Maryland alone, almost 500,000 people are enrolled in health care coverage through the ACA. What will be the impact on the State of Maryland financially? On jobs?

Proposed plans that would eliminate current provisions of the ACA for federal financial assistance and Medicaid expansion are also of significant concern. According to research by the Urban Institute, eliminating individual and employer mandated, federal financial assistance and Medicaid expansion would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 22.5 million. The group estimates that an additional 7.3 million Americans would lose their insurance due to anear collapse of the non group insurance market.

Speakers at the citizens town hall plan to review and compare coverage options and statistics from pre-ACA, versus current options, as well as the various policy aspects of proposed changes or replacements. Health care professionals will also be available to discuss the implications for addiction treatment and mental health care in the community, as the ACA has greatly expanded coverage in both of these areas. Additionally, the financial costs of premiums and out-of-pocket expenses will be discussed to get a clear picture of the impact on the average healthcare consumer’s wallet.

The town hall meetings will be held as follows:

Tuesday, February 21, 6:30 pm, Harford Community College, Darlington Hall, Room 202, Bel Air
Thursday, February 23, 6 pm, Queen Anne’s County Library, 200 Library Circle, Stevensville
Friday, February 24, 6 pm, Salvation Army, 429 N Lake Drive, Salisbury
Thursday, March 2, 6 pm, St Paul’s UCC, 17 Bond Street, Westminster

Current guest speakers scheduled to appear include:

– Sue Ehlenberger, Maryland Health Connection-Seedco
– Mark Romaninsky, Maryland Health Connection-Seedco
– Jeananne Sciabarra, Consumer Health First
– Scot Hurley, Ashley Addiction Treatment
– Katia Callan, MSW, LCSW-C, Insight Wellness of Maryland
– Dr. James Burdick, author of Talking About Single Payer: Health Care Equality for America
– Dr. Margaret Flowers, Healthcare is a Human Right
– Kaylie Potter, Door to Healthcare

About Citizens for Health Care: Citizens for Health Care, located in Bel Air, Md., is a grassroots organization dedicated to providing education and information regarding the Affordable Care Act and proposed changes to the bill. For more information, please visithttps://www.facebook.com/CitizensforHealthCare/

 

UM Shore Health Moves Forward with Telehealth

A telehealth grant totaling $75,000 from the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) has been awarded to University of Maryland Shore Regional Health (UM SRH). The grant supports projects designed to expand access to needed services and specialists in palliative care and psychiatry for patients and their families in Kent and Queen Anne’s counties. It is a collaboration between UM SRH, University of Maryland Medical System eHealth, and the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) Department of Epidemiology and Public Health.

Telehealth utilizes telecommunications and related technologies such as video-conferencing, image capturing and use of remote examination tools to support health care services, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration. The expanded telehealth capability aims to reduce hospital emergency department visits, inpatient admissions and readmissions; to enable the early provision of appropriate treatment; to improve access to care; and to provide cost savings to patients and providers.

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William Huffner, MD

“We are grateful to the MHCC for supporting this initiative that will significantly enhance patient care in medically underserved communities in rural Maryland,” said Robert A. Chrencik, MBA, CPA, president and CEO, University of Maryland Medical System. “This grant will allow us to use the latest in technology to expand the reach of our clinical services and increase access for patients.”

MHCC’s telehealth grant project was launched this month and continues through July 2018. Funds awarded through the grant will assist UM SRH in the purchase of varied telehealth technologies, training for UM SRH clinicians and other users on the use of telehealth equipment, and support for UM SOM research professionals involved in the project.

“The MHCC grant enables UM Shore Regional Health to apply state-of-the-art telehealth technology to close difficult gaps in rural healthcare,” says William Huffner, MD, chief medical officer and senior vice president, Medical Affairs for UM SRH.

One significant gap in rural health care is caused by the nationwide shortage of skilled health care providers in key medical specialties. Palliative care and psychiatry are two arenas in which the scarcity of providers is a serious issue, especially in rural areas.

“We are very fortunate to have highly qualified physicians in both palliative care and psychiatry serving our patients through University of Maryland Community Medical Group,” Dr. Huffner notes. “However, the size of our region – five counties covering more than 1,700 square miles – makes it impossible to offer ongoing, on-site care at all locations at all times. The MHCC grant funding supports the expansion of our telehealth capabilities at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown and the installation of telehealth technology at UM Shore Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and will enable us to improve access to care for residents of Kent and Queen Anne’s counties.”

The grant funds, for which University of Maryland Shore Regional Health has agreed to provide a 2:1 financial match, also will support research on the most effective use of telehealth technology.

As Dr. Huffner explains, “Experience tells us that with any new technology, it is important to study how it is used in a way that will enable us to develop best practices. This grant will help us ensure that we make the best use of telehealth by addressing a number of questions, such as: What factors about a patient’s condition make the use of telehealth ideal or less than ideal? What are the boundaries of telehealth, in terms of patient tolerance and satisfaction? With regard to palliative care, one challenge we have sought to address is how to include not only patients but also key family members in palliative care discussions so that everyone understands the care options. Telehealth may prove very successful in achieving that goal by enabling the patient, the provider and family members, including those at varied remote locations, to participate in a three-way telehealth discussion.”

“Palliative care is a critical component of the care that we give to patients. The telehealth program is an innovative attempt to extend that care to more patients and families, over a wider area,” says University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, who is also the vice president for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor. “We are fortunate to have this opportunity to further collaborate with our partners across the state to help improve the lives of underserved patients and their families.”

 

Easton Auxiliary Makes a $100,000 Donation

The Auxiliary of Memorial Hospital at Easton recently donated $100,000 to UM Memorial Hospital Foundation to support the Birthing Center at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton through proceeds raised by their thrift and consignment shop in Easton, The Bazaar at 121 Federal Street, Maggie’s Gift Shop and special event sales. The funds will support the renovation of the birthing center, which is now in progress.

“We very much appreciate the hard work the volunteers of the Easton Auxiliary put into raising money for our hospital”, says Luanne Satchell, nurse manager of the Women’s and Children’s Health Services at UM Shore Medical Center in Easton. “The funds donated by the Auxiliary are a pivotal part in helping us achieve our goal of providing the highest quality medical care in the region for new moms and their babies.”

Bazaar Check

Photo: (L to R): Elva Pierce, volunteer, co-head of the Bazaar; Janet Andrews, UM Memorial Hospital Foundation; Bob Frank, senior vice president of Operations for UM Shore Regional Health; Diane Bisanar, volunteer, co-head of the Bazaar; F. Graham Lee, vice president  for philanthropy, Art Cecil, president, Auxiliary of Memorial Hospital at Easton; Anne Davis, manager, The Bazaar at 121 Federal Street; Luanne Satchell, nurse manager, Women’s and Children’s Health Services at UM Shore Medical Center in Easton; and Celia Bodmer, head of Maggie’s Gift Shop.

The Auxiliary of Memorial Hospital at Easton works to raise funds for equipment, programs, services and patient care at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton, and various outpatient locations throughout UM Shore Regional Health, including the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center, the Cancer Center and various rehabilitation facilities.To support their fundraising efforts, the Auxiliary has two retail locations; The Bazaar at 121 Federal Street and Maggie’s Gift Shop, located inside the main entrance of UM Shore Medical Center at Easton.

The Bazaar at 121 Federal Street shop offers gently used designer and non-designer clothing for the entire family, shoes, fashion accessories and small household items. Maggie’s Gift Shop, managed and staffed exclusively by members of the Auxiliary, is located on the first floor of UM Shore Medical Center at Easton and offers a variety of unique gift items, jewelry, books, cards, holiday-themed decorations and snacks.

“We rely heavily on the sales of our two retail establishments to be able to give back and to help Shore Regional Health services and facilities,” says Art Cecil, president, Auxiliary of Memorial Hospital at Easton. “We encourage the community to come out and shop at The Bazaar and Maggie’s Gift Shop because not only are you buying for yourself, friends or family, but you are making a donation that will benefit healthcare in our community.”

Volunteers are currently being sought for both locations, and in other capacities throughout the Auxiliary. For more information, call 410-822-1000, extension 5839.

About UM Shore Regional Health: As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,600 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers work with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

More Marylanders Enroll in Health Exchange as Repeal Looms

Enrollment in the Maryland Health Exchange thus far has been climbing at faster rates than in previous years, while President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress have taken their first steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 
 
As of Monday, more than 465,500 Marylanders had enrolled in the Maryland Health Connection since it opened on Nov. 1, surpassing the 457,862 who had enrolled by the same date last year. The enrollment period ends on Jan. 31
 
Delegate Clarence Lam, a Democrat representing Baltimore and Howard counties, and a physician, discusses the upcoming state budget and the impact a repeal of the Affordable Care Act

Delegate Clarence Lam, a Democrat representing Baltimore and Howard counties, and a physician, discusses the upcoming state budget and the impact a repeal of the Affordable Care Act

Of those 465,500, about 150,000 have enrolled in private health insurance and about 315,500 have enrolled in Medicaid. About 73,500 additional Marylanders have passively re-enrolled, meaning they will retain their same coverage if they do nothing to change their plans, according to data provided by Andrew Ratner, director of marketing and strategic initiatives at the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. 

 
However, an executive order Trump signed on his first day in office could pave the way to gut the Affordable Care Act, signaling its repeal as one of his top priorities. The order gives federal agencies the power to eliminate or loosen some regulations created by the health care law.  
 
This followed a Jan. 12 measure by the U.S. Senate to begin dismantling the Affordable Care Act by passing a budget resolution that would make it easier to begin rolling back portions of the law. 
 
Health care advocates and state officials have been continuing to urge Marylanders to enroll in the exchange, touting the Affordable Care Act’s role in reducing the number of uninsured state residents by about 50 percent. Since the rollout of the health care law, the percentage of uninsured Marylanders has shrunk from 10.2 percent in 2013 to 6.6 percent in 2015, according to the U.S. Census. 
 
If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, the state could stand to lose up to $1.2 billion of federal funding for Medicaid and up to $200 million for other related services, according to David Romans, fiscal and policy analysis deputy director for the Maryland Department of Legislative Services.
 
The proposed 2018 state budget includes funding for 312,000 Marylanders who are enrolled under the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion, Romans said. Ninety-five percent of funding for Medicaid is provided by the federal government, but this number could be slashed in half if the health care law is repealed. 
 
To continue insuring the thousands of Marylanders who benefit from the Medicaid expansion, the state, which is already operating on a “lean budget,” would likely have to cut from other programs and services, Delegate Clarence Lam, D-Howard and Baltimore counties, told the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service. 
 
If the Affordable Care Act is repealed soon, the Maryland General Assembly may need to call a special session later in the year to address the budgetary concerns, Lam added. 
 
“There’s no place to get billions of dollars within the state of Maryland,” said Vincent DeMarco, president of Maryland Citizen’s Health Initiative. “We need to prevent the Affordable Care Act from being repealed and we’re going to work very hard to do that.” 
 
DeMarco has helped lead a recent health coverage enrollment initiative at a dozen faith organizations in Maryland over the inauguration weekend. He said he’s seen firsthand how the Affordable Care Act has saved the lives of the previously uninsured. 
 
“Any program that expands healthcare to 20 million plus Americans … is a huge success,” DeMarco said. “We’re going to protect it (and) we’re going to keep it there and build on it.”
 
About 18 million Americans would lose health insurance the first year after repealing the Affordable Care Act, according to a non-partisan report from the Congressional Budget Office. This number could double to 32 million by 2026, the office reported.
 
Moreover, premiums would increase by 20 percent to 25 percent in the first year, according to the same report. 
 
“It would be a significant step backwards to throw these people out of insurance and be concerned about how they pay their medical bills again,” Lam said. “That there are things that are afoot in Washington–maybe abstract or maybe things that we hear in the news–but at the end of the day there are real people being affected in our communities that will go without health insurance. We all pay for that.”
 
(Capital News Service correspondent Cara Newcomer contributed to this report.)