1. The Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) recently released its annual report on the quality and performance of Maryland's commercial HMOs and PPOs. Among other findings, the MHCC reported that Maryland's health plans beat national benchmarks in plan members' use of preventative care for infants (such as well child visits and early immunizations), but failed to meet national benchmarks in members' management of chronic conditions (such as asthma, high blood pressure, and diabetes).
2. The MHCC finalized revisions to Maryland's State Health Plan for hospice services. Among other changes, the MHCC has adjusted how it calculates whether demand for hospice services in Maryland's various counties justifies granting permission for the establishment of new hospice service providers in those counties. Under the new rules, the MHCC will permit a hospice provider to open in a county if there are enough dying residents in that county that should (based on national use rates) receive hospice care, but would not be able to receive care in light of current and expected future capacity of existing hospice providers, to fill an average-sized hospice in Maryland. Under this new test, the MHCC will permit new hospices to open in Prince George's County and Baltimore City. It is expected that the MHCC will entertain applications sometime in the first half of 2014.
3. In September, the Health Services Cost Review Commission reported that in fiscal year 2013 (July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013), Maryland hospitals continued 2012 trends in financial performance. Namely, inpatient revenues continued to decline, albeit slower than the decrease in hospital inpatient cases (meaning that revenue per case increased). Hospitals compensated by increasing outpatient revenue such that total gross revenue at all hospitals increased about 2% over 2012 levels.
4. The Board of Physicians has a new acting executive director, following the resignation of Carole J. Catalfo, Esq. earlier this year. The new acting director is Christine A. Farrelly, the former manager of the unit within the Board of Physicians responsible for investigating and disciplining physicians' misconduct.