1. In June, the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) approved new hospital rates for the fiscal year beginning July, 2016. On average, Maryland hospitals' revenues will be permitted to rise 2.72%. The increase will involve two steps, a 2.16% rate increase for the first half of the fiscal year, July through December, and a 3.28% rate increase for the second half of the fiscal year. The two steps are designed to help Maryland meet certain federal guidelines that measure Maryland?s hospital rates on a calendar year basis, which guidelines must be met to preserve the HSCRC's right to set hospital rates.
2. The Maryland Health Care Commission has not yet approved Prince George's County Regional Medical Center's Certificate of Need application to build a new, replacement hospital. Maryland Health Care Commissioner Robert Moffit has called for over $100 million in reductions to the planned, new facility, including a reduction in size, bed capacity and other service capacities.
3. Chesapeake Employers' Insurance Company announced a gift of $750,000 to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to strengthen Maryland's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). The PDMP collects information on drugs that contain controlled substances and are dispensed to patients in Maryland, and then makes such information available at no cost to practitioners and pharmacists. The PDMP also assists agencies that investigate illegal or inappropriate prescribing, dispensing or use of prescription drugs, and supports prescription drug abuse research and other educational initiatives.
4. Maryland has launched a new website, www.marylandsbirt.org, which offers information about the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) tools available to practitioners and consumers. The SBIRT screening tools should facilitate open and nonjudgmental discussions between patients and health care practitioners regarding alcohol and drug use, and, in turn, reduce the risk of substance use related consequences through early intervention.
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