1. In October, the Maryland Health Care Commission released its new yearly quality performance and reporting requirements (QPRR) for Maryland's largest private health insurers. Under the QPRR, carriers must report measurements to the Commission pertaining to enrollee satisfaction, access to behavioral and preventative health care services, progress on federal health care reform initiatives, and cultural competency, among other metrics. QPRR goes into effect in 2013, in time to bolster quality data on health plans to be sold in Maryland's Health Benefit Exchange.
2. In November, Maryland's Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) approved a new policy that reduces the amount hospitals may charge for clinic visits. HSCRC Staff recommended the change following two consecutive fiscal years of double digit growth in hospital outpatient clinic revenue, and a cumulative 51% increase in such revenue over the last 5 years.
3. In October, Maryland's Board of Nursing finalized regulations establishing a new certification regime for a "clinical nurse specialist" or "CNS." CNS is an umbrella designation for Maryland registered nurses that have a postgraduate nursing degree relevant to a nursing specialty (such as geriatrics, pediatrics, or mental health) and have completed a certification program with a national certifying body recognized by the Board of Nursing, such as the Commission on Nursing Education. CNSs now join nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and psychiatric nurses as advanced practice nurses recognized by the Board.