1. The Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) recently reported that Maryland hospitals' rate of increase in charge per inpatient case declined throughout early 2012, as measured by twelve month moving averages. The HSCRC anticipates that the growth in the rate of charge per inpatient case will continue to decline as the HSCRC's negative update for Maryland hospitals' inpatient case rates takes effect. The HSCRC projected that the decline in charge per case growth should preserve Maryland's long-standing Medicare waiver until at least June 2013. The waiver allows Maryland hospitals to charge Medicare for inpatient services at rates set by the HSCRC under Maryland's unique all-payor case rate system, rather than under Medicare-set rates, but only so long as the percentage growth (calculated since the waiver was instituted) in Maryland inpatient charges to Medicare per admission remains below the percentage growth in such charges nationally.
2. In July, the HSCRC asked its staff to develop a proposal to constrain Maryland hospitals' outpatient charges. The HSCRC noted that Maryland hospitals are mitigating the decline in their inpatient revenue growth by increasing outpatient revenue growth.
3. Governor Martin O'Malley has appointed a new chairman for the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC), Dr. Craig Tanio. Dr. Tanio replaced the outgoing chairman, Dr. Marilyn Moon, on July 1.
4. In June, the MHCC reported on trends in Maryland's small group health insurance market. The report described both an overall decline in the size of the market since 2009, and a shift in market share during that time toward products with relatively lower premiums, such as high deductible preferred provider organization plans and hybrid health maintenance organization/health savings account (HMO/HSA) plans.