Friday, January 4, 2019

What will 2019 bring?

I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. I hope your holiday season has been filled with good health and joy.

Our healthcare system continues to improve and grow. We have great people who work very hard and we are getting pretty good at designing systems to move us faster towards our vision. We still have work to do, but almost everything we measure under our four aims improved during 2018.

2019 will bring the next iteration of Maryland’s waiver with the federal government and the State has committed to reducing the total cost of care for Medicare beneficiaries. We will have a new tool to help achieve this…the Maryland Primary Care Program. This is part of the plan to create incentives for providers to coordinate their patients’ care.

As you recall, since 2014, our state has paid hospitals via global budgets to dis-incentivize the provision of services that don’t lead to better health or better care. Maryland has lowered the rate of increase in the total cost of care by doing this. Now to reduce the total cost of care, it will be necessary to bring others to the waste reduction table. This new program will provide resources to primary care physicians to improve health and the care experience. Primary care offices will work with Care Transformation Organizations (CTOs) (Greater Baltimore Health Alliance being one of them), to better coordinate care. The CTOs will provide care managers, behavioral specialists, and others to help the primary care team accomplish this. You will recognize that we’ve been doing this in the GBMC HealthCare System for quite some time. The inclusion of primary care practices allows the focus to be more on population health, including other settings of care in communities, rather than relying only on hospitals.

Under our new total cost of care agreement, the State has also committed to work on six high-priority areas: substance misuse, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, smoking, and asthma. So, 2019 should be a year of change towards better care leading to better health for the citizens of Maryland. Thanks to all my colleagues for working hard on this agenda.

The Passing of an Outstanding Physician
I was saddened to hear that Dr. Randy Capone passed away last week. Dr. Capone was an outstanding plastic surgeon who served as the medical director of our Cleft Lip and Palate Team. He worked tirelessly at his craft and under his leadership, the team changed so many lives for the better. He will truly be missed.

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