1. In January, the Maryland Health Care Commission (HCC) released its 2000 State Health Care Expenditures Report. In 2000, Maryland's health care spending increased 8.4%, compared to 7.4% nationwide. Spending on hospital outpatient services increased by 13.7%, while spending increased 10.9% for both prescription drugs and professional services. Private HMO enrollment declined by 2% in 2000, but HMO expenditures increased by 5.9%.
2. In January, the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) released its report on the financial condition of Maryland hospitals. The report notes that Maryland hospitals have experienced an erosion in operating performance and balance sheet position. However, recent data show that a turnaround may be occurring and that total profitability is up from FY 2000.
3. In January, the HCC granted a CON to Carroll County General Hospital to expand and renovate its campus. The $39M project is to be completed by 2005 and will include a new emergency department, a new four-story inpatient building, a new entrance, relocation of outpatient services and renovations to the house pharmacy and the physical therapy department. There will be no increase to the hospital's 172 beds, nor will the hospital seek a rate increase from the HSCRC.
4. In December, the HCC docketed four Certificate of Need applications for a new open heart surgery program in the Metropolitan Washington region. The applicants are: Southern Maryland Hospital Center, Suburban Hospital, Holy Cross Hospital and Shady Grove Adventist Hospital.
5. The HCC released its Preliminary Report on Patient Safety in December, 2001, pertaining to adverse medical events. Some tools considered by the work group to increase patient safety are: computerized physician order entry; electronic medical records; bar coding; a non-punitive system for voluntary reporting without legal discovery; and strong quality improvement programs. The work group believes that systemic change should be expanded beyond hospitals to nursing homes, pharmacies and outpatient care settings. The work group's final report is due in January 2003.
6. In December and January, the HSCRC approved rate increases of 3.33% for St. Agnes Hospital, 3.97% for Prince Georges Medical Center and 6.07% for Johns Hopkins Hospital. All three hospitals had submitted applications to the HSCRC for a full review of their rates.