1. In July, the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) released its first "Maryland Hospital Community Benefit Report". A 2001 law requires the HSCRC to collect data regarding community activities undertaken by Maryland hospitals that prevent disease, improve the health status of underserved populations, fund or support in-kind public health programs, or donate funds or other resources that contribute to a community priority. For FY 2004, Maryland hospitals reported providing a total of about $580M in community benefits. Of this, $252M was provided in medical education activities, $150M in charity care, $73M for mission driven health services, $43M in community services, $13M for donations, $9M in community building efforts, $6M in foundation community benefit initiatives, $3.7M in research efforts, and $28M in other mission driven services. The net community benefit, excluding indirect costs (overhead, accounting and personnel costs), is 2.76% of the total operating expenses for all Maryland hospitals.
2. In July, the HSCRC released the "Disclosure of Hospital Financial and Statistical Data" report based on FY 2004 data. The average amount billed to a Maryland patient for a hospital stay rose by 9% in FY2004 to $8,403, compared to an increase of 5.95% nationally. The large cost increase was anticipated by the HSCRC, and is the result of its policy to recapitalize the hospital industry. Profits on regulated hospital activities in FY 2004 increased to $353M from $249M in FY 2003. Outpatient gross revenue was $2.5 billion. This represented an increase of 10.4% in FY2004, compared to an increase of 8.6% in FY 2003. Hospital admissions increased to 646,422, from 632,015 in FY 2003, or 2.3%.
3. In July, the Maryland Health Care Commission awarded a Certificate of Need for open heart surgery and percutaneous coronary intervention to Suburban Hospital, thereby denying the applications of Holy Cross Hospital and Southern Maryland Hospital Center. If Suburban fails to perform at least 200 open heart surgery cases per year within 24 months of beginning its operation and maintain this minimum utilization in each subsequent year of operation, Suburban must close its cardiac surgery program. As a condition of approval, the Commission also required Suburban to measure the progress of its minority cardiovascular outreach programs, and to report such outcomes to the Commission.