Maryland House healthcare policy committee holds first meeting of 2023

On January 12th, 2023, the first committee meeting for Maryland’s Health and Government Committee featured input from a few healthcare agencies regarding their responsibilities and priority goals for this upcoming legislative session.

 

 

Maryland Department of Health

Dennis Schrader, secretary of health for the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), gave a brief overview of the department and talked about a few of its major initiatives. He summarized its five major goals:

  1. The department is the oversight of implementing the Total Cost of Care model m
  2. Managing the second largest health plan in Maryland
  3. Operating a major technology organization
  4. Running the department’s healthcare system
  5. Direct public health operations

“I like to say if you think of care first, then you think of us,” Schrader said. “That’s the scale and scope of what we do and it’s very similar in nature. We’re the second largest health plan in the state.”

Schrader gave a breakdown of their budget and employee count, which consists of approximately 6,300 state and 700 contractual employees. Their FY23 budget totaled $17.8 billion in total funds or about 35% of the state budget. Six and a half billion dollars in general funds, about $1.4 billion in special funds, and $9.8 billion in federal funds. Maryland’s Medicaid program totals more than $12 billion dollars and covers roughly 25% of the state’s population

Maryland Community Health Resources Commission Health & Government Operations Committee

Edward J. Kasemeyer, chair of the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission (CHRC) and Mark Luckner, CHRC’s Executive Director, spoke to the committee about their mission and background. Luckner and Kasemeyer reported that Maryland’s statutes require CHRC to expand healthcare access in underserved communities, support projects that serve low-income Marylanders, build the capacity of safety-net providers, council on advancement of school-based health centers, implement the Maryland Health Equity Resource Act, and be responsible for Maryland’s Consortium on Coordinated Community Supports.

CHRC is currently flushing out their 2023 proposals. So far, they have two strategic priorities for 2023, which include addressing and reducing health disparities and breaking down barriers to accessing health and social services in underserved communities. Furthermore, CHRC is requesting funding for four areas: addressing chronic disease, promoting maternal and child health, addressing behavioral health, and providing dental care to support Maryland’s new Medicaid dental benefit.

Maryland Health Care Commission, Health Services Cost Review Commission, & Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services System

Ben Steffen, executive director of Maryland Health Care Commission spoke about their mission to streamline their processes. Steffen continued to speak about budding issues for the next legislative session, which includes establishing freestanding medical facilities and even having a greater attention on Medicare advantage program in the state that is facing a challenge of integration.

Katie Wunderlich, Executive Director of the Health Services Cost Review Commission, spoke about the organization’s primary responsibility to regulate the quality and cost of hospital services to ensure all Marylanders have access to high value healthcare. HSCRC has a statewide integrated health improvement strategy, which focuses on hospital quality, care transformation, and focuses on population health.

Lastly, Ted Delbridge, Executive Director, Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services System spoke about their organization and how they are still on track for their 2030 plan.