Last Thursday, I traveled to Annapolis to address the Senate Finance and Budget and Taxation Committees. I was part of a panel from the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) that was asked to give the Senators an update on how hospitals are transforming themselves in order to meet the four requirements of the new waiver: to keep hospital cost increases no higher than the rate of increase in the general economy, to improve the quality of inpatient care, to reduce re-admissions and to save money for Medicare.
At the hearing, there were two panels. In the first panel, the Senators heard from John Colmers, the Chairman of the Health Services Cost Review Commission, the body that sets hospital rates and must assure that the State complies with the waiver mandates, and Donna Kinzer, the Executive Director of the Commission. These two leaders did an excellent job of educating the lawmakers on the basic tenets of the waiver and how the State was performing so far.
The Committees then heard from David Horrocks, the Executive Director of CRISP (Chesapeake Regional Information Sharing for our Patients network), our regional health information sharing network. Mr. Horrocks told them of the work of CRISP in sharing patient information across hospitals.
The Chairman of the Finance Committee, Senator Mac Middleton, then invited the hospital panel to address the senators. Carmela Coyle, the President of the MHA, told them that the hospitals had embraced the notion of global revenue budgets as a means to begin converting towards higher value health care and that significant progress had been made in a short period of time. Carmela referenced the waiver “dashboard” ( http://www.mhaonline.org/finance/hospital-2-0-waiver-watch/waiver-watch) that the MHA was updating monthly.
Then it was my turn. I had been invited because of all of our accomplishments to date in building a system of care through the eyes of the patient – a system that can achieve our four aims of the best health outcome with the best care experience with the least waste of resources and the most joy for those providing the care, in other words, the care that you would want for your own loved one. I told the senators a bit about our hospital, our hospice, our excellent physicians and nurses, and our outstanding acute care capability, especially in surgery. I then told them of our vision, our 100+ primary care providers practicing in the patient-centered medical home working with embedded care managers, our extended hours of operation, and our daily use of CRISP to assure that our teams were not missing important information about our patients. I concluded with a few examples of our results so far and I informed them that GBMC has the lowest readmission rate in the State among non-rural hospitals. I had a huge sense of pride as I was speaking. We are delivering on our promise to the community. While I knew that the legislators did not understand everything that I was saying, I also knew that they were grateful for the work of the GBMC family. We were not asking for more money or lamenting our lot in life and telling them how hard our work was (even though it is!) – We were transforming into a company that can deliver better outcomes at lower cost and we had data to prove it. I want to thank all of my GBMC HealthCare System colleagues for being in action on change for the better!