1.This Fall, the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) revamped its consumer guide to Maryland hospitals and other select health care facilities. The new guide reports, among other things, consumer ratings of hospitals (including ratings of practitioner communication, hospital cleanliness and noise level, and overall satisfaction), patient outcomes (including death rates and complication rates relative to certain procedures), and patient safety (including surgical aftercare, and central line and surgical site infection rates).
2. The MHCC also published its yearly assessment of Maryland's health benefit plans. It found that Maryland's HMOs and PPOs continued to excel in providing primary care for children, and reproductive health care for women. Maryland's health plans struggled, however, in measures tied to effective care coordination, such as management of chronic conditions, including high blood pressure and diabetes, and certain behavioral health measures of care continuity. The MHCC also noted that despite plans' efforts to reduce health care disparities, plans struggled to meet national benchmarks in assisting enrollees with limited English proficiency.
3. In October, the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) finalized new uncompensated care reporting mandates on Maryland hospitals. On a quarterly basis, hospitals must now separately report all patient accounts written-off because the payment was denied by a third party payor. Relatedly, the HSCRC reported that uncompensated care increased by about 10% (or $100 million) in the past hospital fiscal year.