Mid-Shore Health Futures: How Our Regional Hospitals Measure Up

Susan Coe was in search of cottage cheese.

The chief experience officer and senior vice president at University of Maryland’s Shore Regional Health was looking in on a new patient at UM Medical Center at Easton. The patient, she learned, wanted her cottage cheese not in a small compartment on a tray but on a plate.

“She had her heart set on the platter,” Coe said.

The nurse immediately called food services to make the change but Coe said she decided to go get the plate of cottage cheese herself.

“It’s about respecting the patient,” she said.

That attention to patient satisfaction is part of a major change in hospitals, including at Shore Regional Health. Before 2007, hospitals largely measured their success by looking at “hard” data that evaluate patient safety and outcomes for specific procedures or events, such as heart attacks or infections. But in the past decade, the federal government began requiring that hospitals also measure how satisfied patients are with their care. Each hospital patient is given a 27-question survey that asks a range of questions, from how well the doctors and nurses communicated, to how noisy and clean the hospital was, to whether the patient would recommend the hospital to a friend.

And Shore Regional Health didn’t like what it was seeing, at least in one area.

Robert Carroll, regional director performance measurement & improvement, said that for the last eight quarters patient satisfaction ratings had been declining at the Easton and Dorchester facilities (considered one entity in ratings) and at its Chestertown hospital. The latest published data, from April 2015 to the end of March 2016, show that the Shore Regional Health hospitals score below average in patient satisfaction nationally and statewide. This is the despite the fact that the hospitals scored average or above average in most of its quality and safety ratings both statewide and nationally.

By contrast, the latest data show that Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis and Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury rate better than average statewide and nationally in patient satisfaction. Peninsula also scored better than average in quality and patient safety ratings statewide and nationally. And Anne Arundel rated better than average nationally in quality and a safety, while it rated average statewide. In Maryland, consumers can go online to get information on safety, quality and satisfaction ratings at the Maryland Health Care Commission website (http://healthcarequality.mhcc.maryland.gov).

In December, Shore Regional Health launched a program called HEART to change patients’ perception of their care. And that, Coe said, required that caregivers consciously reconnect with what brought them into health care in the first place. “It’s about empathy, communication and connection,” Coe said. “It’s listening, watching, understanding.”

In the first phase of the program, 25 peer counsellors were trained. From January through March, those counsellors then led three-hour sessions among Shore Regional Health’s more than 2,000 employees. The focus, Coe said, was on helping caregivers see the hospital experience through the patient’s eyes.

“Every patient is reluctant to enter the hospital,” said Trena Williamson, regional director of communications and marketing at Shore Regional Health. “But for the medical staff, this is their normal.”

A new mother with a sick baby might see things differently than a veteran nurse with other, sicker patients, Williamson said. The HEART program helps staff “recalibrate” so as to see the situation from the patient’s perspective, she said.

Coe said patient satisfaction surveys are helpful but it is the comments that are most useful.

“The scores give us a number but the comments give us gifts of insight and direction,” she said. “We really look at comments– and we follow up.”

Keeping a patient-centered focus is “baked into the culture” at Anne Arundel Medical Center, where about 10 percent of hospital patients and 1 in 5 office visitors are from the Eastern Shore, said Maulik Joshi, executive vice president of integrated care delivery and chief operating officer.

Joshi said new hires are made based on their willingness not only to deliver the best medical care but also to make sure patients feel a personal connection.

“We own ‘I care’ behavior,” he said. “I—I sit down and talk with a patient at the beside; C—I connect with patients by smiling and saying hello; A—I answer quickly when someone has a question; R—I always tell everyone my role; and E—I always escort people.”

At Peninsula, the team approach and employees who live in the community and have worked many years at the hospital are key to both a high quality of care and patients’ happiness, said Sheri Matter, the hospital’s vice president of patient services.

Nurses and doctors together visit the patient to ensure everyone—including the patient—understands the plan of care, both in the hospital and when the patient goes home, she said.

And, she said, there is a “direct correlation” between patient satisfaction and “higher quality outcomes.”

“You have to listen,” she said.

Coe, at Shore Regional Health, would agree.

There, HEART has entered Phase 2: coaching and helping hospital staff put the program into practice. After that, “we’ll expand, go deeper,” she said.

In the meantime, Carroll said he is not worried about the ratings.

“We’re doing this because it’s a better way to do it,” he said. “The numbers will take care of themselves.”

The Regional Overview

If you have a heart attack, bicycle accident or need knee surgery, it’s useful to know how your hospital rates in quality of care, safety, and patient satisfaction.

Thanks to a growing trend in healthcare that looks at outcomes instead of just treatments, many government and private groups collect and disseminate data on hospitals’ performance. The information includes everything from specific comparisons about the likelihood of getting a hospital-acquired infection to how quiet the hospital corridors are at night. Hospitals are graded on these benchmarks and can be compared across a state or against a neighboring state.

In Maryland, which has a unique arrangement with the federal government for hospital reimbursements, consumers can go to a state website to see how their hospitals compare on many of these milestones.

The Maryland Health Care Commission, an independent agency, has an online consumer guide that can help answer many of your questions:

For example, you can use the website to look at a combined quality and safety score for every hospital in the state. Most hospitals in the state rank average on combined quality and safety compared with other Maryland hospitals, including the University of Maryland Shore Medical Centers at Easton, Chestertown and Dorchester. The only ones listed as better than average statewide are Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, and the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson. Anne Arundel Medical Center, rated average statewide, is among 21 Maryland hospitals rated better than average compared with hospitals nationwide.

Much of the data come from the federal government, through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The federal site also has its own hospital comparison tools. You can also go directly to the centers’ site: Medicare.gov. The direct link to the hospital compare site is found here.

Using that site, you can find and compare hospitals across the nation and check them out against the ones in your own backyard.

With all the information that is collected, using the sites can be a little daunting. But there is a way to cut through the clutter to find what you’re looking for.

Start out with the overall ratings to see how the hospitals stack up

Zero in on areas that align with your procedure–for example, maternity care or orthopedic surgery.

Look at the patient satisfaction measures, which tell you things like how well the hospital staff communicates with patients about the discharge instructions, prescriptions, etc.

If you have to go to the emergency room, there’s also information on how quickly you’ll get attention from the medical staff. Easton, Chestertown and Peninsula hospitals were rated better than average in six measures for how quickly emergency room patients were handled compared with other hospitals in the state. Anne Arundel was below average in four of the six measures.

 

Spy Contributor Robert Tiernan was managing editor of Consumer Reports from 2006 to 2015. Spy Contributor Ridgely Ochs covered health care, personal health and medicine for more than 20 years at Newsday on Long Island. They both now live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

UM SRH Celebrates Nursing Excellence at Annual Awards Presentation

University of Maryland Shore Regional Health’s Nurse Excellence Awards was held on Monday, May 8 at the Todd Performing Arts Center at Chesapeake College. The occasion was the premier event in the celebration of Nurses’ Week 2017, May 7-12.

Individual winners of UM SRH’s 2017 Nurse Excellence Awards are shown with Ruth Ann Jones, senior vice president, Patient Care Services and CNO (third from left): From left: Hope Honigsberg, Dawn Ruby, Taffie Wilson, Vernon Usilton and April Ewing.

Leading the event presentations, Ruth Ann Jones, UM Shore Regional Health’s senior vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer, noted that this year marked the sixth anniversary of the Nurse Excellence Awards and that the 2017 honorees were selected from a total of 48 individual nominations and 10 unit/department nominations, the greatest number submitted since the awards were established. “This awards program was established by nurses and for nurses as a way to recognize those who go above and beyond to always deliver exceptional care,” said Jones. “All nominees deserve our appreciation, as do their families and other supporters who help make it possible for them to go the extra mile in the care they provide.”

Ken Kozel, president and CEO, spoke glowingly of the pivotal role that Shore Regional Health’s 600 nurses play in achieving the organization’s vision of being the Region’s Leader in Patient Centered Health Care. “Our nursing team’s strong partnerships with our physicians and other members of the health care team enable us to continue to “raise the bar” on safety, quality and patient experience,” Kozel said. “I know that I speak for the entire leadership team when I express my gratitude for our nurses’ active engagement in developing new care models, recommending and adopting new technologies, creating new protocols for patient care, supporting the professional development of all team members, and adapting to the almost daily changes and challenges in the health care landscape.”

John Dillon, chairman of the Board of UM Shore Regional Health, cited “the outstanding reputation of Shore Regional Health’s nursing team – for their expertise, their dedication to our patients and family members, and their continued advancement of clinical care in all units and departments” as a constant in an era of rapid change in the health care system. “When a community member shares a story about an experience at one of our hospitals or outpatient facilities, that story almost always includes the nurse or nurses, often mentioned by name, who provided expert and compassionate care,” Dillon said.

UM Chester River Home Care won the Unit/Department Award for Excellence in Clinical Outcomes. Shown after the award presentation are UM CRHC staff members with Ruth Ann Jones (center); left of Jones, Rene Baker and Trish Focht; right of Jones, Katie Davis and Melissa Myers.

The 2017 Shore Regional Health Nurse Excellence Award winners are:

Outstanding Achievement in Care Delivery: Commitment to Others–Taffie Wilson, Regional Resuscitation Education Coordinator, Professional Nursing Practice

Outstanding Achievement in Leadership–Vernon Usilton, Clinical Nurse, Emergency Department, UM Shore Medical Center at Easton

Outstanding Achievement in Mentorship/Advocacy–Dawn Ruby, Clinical Nurse, 2 East, UM Shore Medical Center at Easton

Outstanding Achievement in Professional Nursing–Hope Honigsberg, Clinical Nurse, Ambulatory Surgery Center, UM Shore Medical Pavilion at Queenstown

Outstanding Achievement – Promising Professional–April Ewing, Clinical Nurse, Emergency Department, UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester

Unit/Department Excellence in Clinical Outcomes–UM Chester River Home Care

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 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers work with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

UM CMG – Women’s Health Gynecologist Celebrates 400th Robotic Surgery

University of Maryland Community Medical Group – Women’s Health gynecologist Dr. William Katz recently performed his 400th robotic surgery on the Eastern Shore.

The 400th procedure took place on May 3, 2017 at University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton. Dr. Katz has been providing gynecologic and robotic surgery on the Eastern Shore for more than 16 years, and also has been in practice for a total of more than 25 years.

Dr. Katz uses robotic surgery to treat several common conditions of the female reproductive system including uterine fibroids, uterine prolapse, endometriosis and adenomyosis.  Robotic surgery offers many benefits to patients compared to open surgery: shorter hospitalization and faster recovery times, small incisions, and reduced pain and discomfort.

“Dr. Katz has been a great mentor in the Eastern Shore community for many years,” comments Michele Wilson, vice president of operations for UM CMG. “This is an incredible accomplishment that represents the experience and expertise he uses to best serve patients on the Eastern Shore.”

Dr. Katz is affiliated with multiple hospitals on the Eastern Shore, including University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown and University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton. He received his medical degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

Dr. Katz sees patients at 490 Cadmus Lane in Easton, Suite 106. Patients may make an appointment with Dr. Katz by calling 410-822-1221.

About the University of Maryland Community Medical Group

The University of Maryland Community Medical Group (UM CMG) is a multi-hospital, multi-specialty, community-based physician-led group, and part of the University of Maryland Medical System. With more than 300 primary care physicians, specialists, and advanced practice clinicians in more than 65 locations across the state, UM CMG offers patients a vast network of highly experienced providers, delivering care right in their neighborhood. For more information, visit www.umcmg.org.

When Mental Health Services and Economic Development Meet with Ben Kohl

While it might be hard to put the two together, there appears to be a significant link between the expansion on the Mid-Shore of behavioral health services and its economic development impact.

A case in point can be seen lately in both Kent and Talbot Counties with the growth of “Eastern Shore Psychological Services (ESPS), a privately-owned, mental health service provider. In Chestertown, a new office recently opened its doors in downtown that not only will be serving the needs of an estimated 4,000 individuals in Kent County who may be in need of psychiatric help but also adds twelve, relatively well-paid, professional positions to the town’s economic life. And this is also true in Talbot County, where ESPS’s presence has grown to over fifty staff members to handle its ever increasingly portfolio of work.

In fact, when you realize that only a few years ago Eastern Shore Psychological Services was made up of three professionals working out of a small office on Route 50 has now grown to have over 130 full-time employees, you begin to understand that economic development can come in many forms. And in this case, it comes with the real benefit of helping the 20% of the Mid-Shore population who need temporary or long-term help with through community, school and family-based treatment and evaluation services.

All of this prompted the Spy to reach out to Dr. Benjamin Kohl, who heads up ESPS programs on the Mid-Shore and has overseen much of this growth since joining the practice eight years ago. In our interview, Ben talks about the circumstances that led to his organization’s growth, including a marked increase in individuals enrolled in health insurance policies, but also, and more importantly, the slow but steady end of the stigma attached to those seeking out help for depression, attention deficit disorders, or drug/alcohol addiction, among many other conditions.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about “Eastern Shore Psychological Services please go here.

Opioid and Heroin Overdoses Have Reached ‘Crisis Level’ In Maryland

When Carin Miller’s son was about 19 years old, he began to abuse heroin by snorting pills, eventually moving on to shooting up. This went on for six years before he got help.

Lucas Miller’s history of drug use started in high school with smoking marijuana. When he moved out of his parents’ house, one of his housemates had access to between 750 to 1,500 pills at any given time between five houses located in Frederick, Maryland.

“My son was addicted to heroin, he’s in recovery by the grace of God since Thanksgiving 2014, I think that’s where we are at,” Miller said.

Opioid overdoses now rank with cancer, strokes and heart attacks among the top killers in Maryland.

State and federal lawmakers have passed legislation aimed at addressing the crisis, although they and public health experts agree the battle will be long.

On April 10, the Maryland General Assembly passed several bills to address this ongoing statewide crisis. The Start Talking Maryland Act, HB1082, and the HOPE Act, HB1329, were both passed.

The HOPE Act would increase access to naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug and would require hospitals to establish a new protocol when discharging patients treated for substance abuse disorders. It also introduced Keep the Door Open, a provision that provides three years of funding to reimburse community health providers. The act also requires the Behavioral Health Administration to establish a crisis treatment center before June 2018.

The Start Talking Maryland Act would require schools to have defined education programs on opioid addiction.

Other opioid related bills passed by the General Assembly were HB1432, which places a restriction on the number of opioid painkillers a doctor can prescribe to a patient per visit, and SB539, a bill that sets new penalties for distributing fentanyl.

The opioid-related legislation have been sent to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk for his signature. The governor has until May 30 to either sign or veto the 900 bills passed by the General Assembly; otherwise they automatically become law.

On March 1, Hogan signed an executive order, declaring a state of emergency in response to the heroin, opioids and fentanyl crisis “ravaging communities in Maryland and across the country.”

“We need to treat this crisis the exact same way we would treat any other state emergency,” Hogan said in a statement. “This is about taking an all-hands-on-deck approach so that together we can save the lives of thousands of Marylanders.”

The final numbers for 2016 are expected to show that approximately 2,000 people died from heroin and other opioid overdoses in the state over the last year, about double the number of deaths in 2015.

Additionally, drug overdose deaths rose by 19.2 percent from 2013 to 2014 in Maryland, according to a press release from Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.

“There’s no question, no question there has been a spike in opioid overdoses,” Cardin said in an interview with Capital News Service. “Let me indicate the numbers in Maryland are shocking as we are seeing the doubling and tripling over the last couple of years, but the Maryland numbers are typical to what we see all over the country.”

Both Cardin and Sen. Chris Van Hollen backed passage of the 21st Century Cures Act and the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 (CARA). Van Hollen was a cosponsor for the 21st Century Cures Act.

“The opioid addiction epidemic is having a devastating impact on communities in Maryland and across the country,” Van Hollen said in a statement for Capital News Service. “I fought to pass the 21st Century Cures Act, which helps states expand programs to treat those suffering from addiction, but we must do much more to prevent substance abuse and to get help to those who need it.”

The 21st Century Cures Act was signed by President Barack Obama in December. It will provide $1 billion over two years for state grants to support opioid abuse prevention and treatment activities. CARA, a bipartisan bill, was signed into law by Obama last July. CARA assists drug-dependent newborns and their parents.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services has just awarded Maryland a $10 million grant under the 21st Century Cures Act.

“These grants are a small but encouraging step toward addressing the opioid crisis,” Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Towson, said in a statement. He was among those who pressed for the funds in the law. “But to make real progress in our effort to combat the epidemic, it’s the responsibility of Congress to provide additional resources to programs, families and communities in Maryland and across America that are working day in and day out to end the crisis.”

Van Hollen said there is more to be done with the crisis, including “protecting the significant investments made by the Affordable Care Act, and ensuring institutions like the National Institute for Drug Abuse at NIH in Maryland and others across the country have the resources necessary to carry out their critical missions.”

On March 29, President Donald Trump signed an executive order creating a presidential commission designed to combat opioid addiction and the opioid crisis nationwide. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is leading the commission.

A main reason for the doubling of overdoses for Maryland has been a new street drug, fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that dealers are increasingly blending into regular heroin and selling cheaply.

Fentanyl is coming to the United States from China, and that needs to be stopped, Cardin said. The senator added that there also is work to be done with Mexico to stop heroin from flowing from that country.

“We’ve seen an abuse of using these drugs for pain and an abuse of people selling these drugs on the street and getting people addicted,” Cardin said. “There are things we can do to dry up the supply and help people who have addiction and health issues.”

In response to the rise in drug-related deaths, Hogan announced on March 1 that he has budgeted an additional $10 million per year to combat overdoses over the next five years.

Miller said Hogan’s action would help, but more money is needed from the federal government.

Miller is no stranger to opioid abuse as well. She said her husband, Greg Miller, had been abusing opioids since the late 1990s after he was hit by a drunk driver and had an additional, separate accident at work.

It reached a point where her husband’s withdrawals were so terrible that he almost died after being denied narcotics prescriptions at Frederick Memorial Hospital six years ago, Miller said.

“I was trying to get my husband off the pills, never thinking that my own kids would go on them after they saw the hell that I was put through,” Miller said.

Three years ago, Miller co-founded Maryland Heroin Awareness Advocates (MHAA), a grassroots organization in Frederick. It was founded “out of necessity,” by a group of women from Frederick in order to save their children from the opioid and heroin epidemic, Miller said.

“We have all been affected in some way, a lot of my colleagues have lost their children to overdoses,” said Miller, who is the president of MHAA.

Miller noted that there is not enough education about these drugs in schools. While one of her colleagues is invited into middle and high schools in Carroll County to give presentations, MHAA is “just nipping the bud” at giving presentations in Frederick County, Miller said.

Frederick County is a 40,000-student district with 10 high schools.

“We really give the principals the autonomy to address any issue in their community,” said Mike Maroke, Frederick County Public Schools deputy superintendent. “They determine if this is something be address or not.”

If the Start Talking Maryland Act is signed by Hogan, it would require schools to have opioid education programs, possibly through presentations such as MHAA’s.

After one presentation at a school, Miller handed out index cards to the students, ranging from seventh to twelfth grades, and asked for their feedback. She recalled what happened next: “One little girl came up to me and handed me her card and it said ‘Thank you for coming out and telling us about drugs because I wouldn’t want to lose any friends because my dad died a couple of months ago from a heroin overdose.’”

 

by Jess Nocera

 

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

The Faces of Mental Illness: The Photography of Michael Nye at Chesapeake College

While it may be true that most people on the Mid-Shore have a very real and distinct impression of the toll of mental illness in our society, it still is hard for many of use to truly understand the profound impact that these conditions has on victims and their families.

A new art exhibition, sponsored by the Mental Health Association of the Eastern Shore in partnership with Chesapeake College in May, might very well help change some of those perceptions using the stunning images and oral narratives of those victims by award winning  photographer Michael Nye.

Some fifty photographs and recorded messages of people who suffer from various forms of mental illness will be on display as part of a major educational effort to remove the stigma and misunderstanding of a growing problem in our communities.

The Spy spoke the Association’s director, Jackie Davis, last week at Bullitt House to talk about the show and the important work of the organization in serving families impacted by mental illness throughout the Shore.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about  Mental Health Association of the Eastern Shore and their opening reception, please go here 

Welcome to the 21st Century Mid-Shore ​Health Care with Dr. Marc Zubrow

Approximately a year ago or so, there was a good bit of anxiety on the Mid-Shore about the plans of the region’s two major hospitals in Chestertown and Easton. In Chestertown, there was a growing fear that UM Regional Shore Health would eventually eliminate the existing hospital and replace it with an urgent/emergency care center. While in Easton there were increased concerns that Shore Health would abandon its plans for a new hospital.

Those community apprehensions turned out to be fortunately unfounded thanks to a combination of the politicians interceding to create a state study group on rural hospitals and a more stable economic climate which allowed for the advancement of a new hospital near the Easton Airport.

But one of the major takeaways of these two episodes was how profoundly attached communities are with their local hospitals. For a variety of reasons, including interest in patient comfort, proximity, and in some cases, mere nostalgia, residents were determined to fight to keep their local facilities alive and functioning.

The other takeaway, perhaps not as well noticed by many, was the increasing awareness that through advanced technology and efficiency, there is an emerging radically new way to provide health care in the 21st-century and is the growth of telemedicine.

The Spy, which has had an ongoing curiosity about the use of technology and how it may impact rural health delivery, was lucky enough to secure an interview with Marc Zubrow, Vice President, Telemedicine and Medical Director, eCare in charge of telemedicine for the entire University of Maryland Medical System. And in our interview, Dr. Zubrow makes a compelling case why this use of remote medical consultation will be dramatically improving patient care and outcomes regardless of location.

This video is approximately six minutes in length. For more information about UMMS and telemedicine please go here

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.”