1. The Maryland Health Care Commission (HCC) has posted an electronic health record (EHR) product portfolio on its web site. The portfolio lists only those vendors that have met certification standards from the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology for functionality, interoperability and security. The portfolio contains vendor contacts, privacy and security policies, vendor presentation materials, pricing information, and resource materials.
2. In September, the HCC released its "Measuring the Quality of Maryland Commercial Managed Care Plans: 2009/2010 Health Plan Performance Report." The report uses member satisfaction survey results and health plan records to rate HMOs and point of service plans. One section lists seven Maryland HMOs, and compares the HMOs to each other in the areas of member satisfaction, preventive care, chronic care and behavioral health. Another part of the report compares Maryland's HMOs to HMOs in neighboring regions and the nation. Maryland's HMOs averaged higher than the nation in colorectal cancer screening, well-child/adolescent visits, diabetes blood glucose control, diabetes cholesterol control, antidepressant medication management and initiation of alcohol/drug dependence treatment. Maryland's HMOs scored below the nation in members' overall rating of their health plans, shared decision making, how well doctors communicate, health promotion and education, avoidance of antibiotic treatment in adults with acute bronchitis, controlling high blood pressure, and cholesterol management for cardiovascular patients.
3. Maryland's new health premium subsidy program known as the Partnership is available to small businesses that have been in existence for 12 months with 2-9 full-time (more than 30 hours/wk) employees who meet the program's wage and salary requirements, and that have not offered employee health coverage in the previous 12 months. Businesses may be eligible to receive a subsidy of up to 50% of premium. To receive the subsidy, the businesses must establish a Section 125 premium conversion plan for their employee's pre-tax payroll deductions, and must purchase a wellness benefit as part of the health plan. The subsidy goes to both the employer and the employee, and is capped to stay within the Partnership's budget. Small businesses can choose from a variety of health plans offered by 4 carriers. As of July 2009, the Partnership covered 195 businesses, with an average subsidy per enrolled employee of $1,835. More information about the Partnership's eligibility rules may be found at http://mhcc.maryland.gov/partnership.