New laws going into effect in Maryland on Friday will put into action police and criminal justice reforms, address early voting, and increase protections for LGBTQ+ people.Read More
As we embark on the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic—albeit with vaccine distribution underway—demand for health care and the financial support many need to help pay for treatment has become a hot topic. Fortunately, this month the Maryland Senate will consider a positive piece of legislation that would protect the right for Marylanders to choose a Health Care Sharing Ministry to manage their health care expenses.Read More
Health care interests representing hospitals, providers and insurers continue to spend the most to influence Maryland legislators and state officials, paying out $4.5 million to lobby this past session, according to figures compiled by Common Cause from State Ethics Commission filings.
The result is not a surprise given the state’s heavy role in both regulating and paying for health care, which makes up over $12 billion (31%) of the total state budget, including federal funds.Read More
Legislators debated the meaning of “equality” as they considered a bill that will guarantee insurance benefits for same-sex couples seeking artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures.Read More
The Senate Finance Committee is considering HB 516, a bill that will expand a program that allows ordinary people to learn how to administer Naloxone, an emergency drug administered to reduce fatalities from overdose. The Overdose Response Program has been in place for a year but doctors are hesitant to prescribe the drug, worried they could be sued if something goes wrong. Meanwhile, deaths from overdoses of heroin and fentanyl are growing.Read More
Legislators are hoping to empower home caregivers by requiring hospitals to provide instruction on caring for discharged patients once they reach their homes, where family members are often left unprepared to administer medicine.Read More
A bill to create a no-fault birth injury fund in Maryland pits two traditional opponents — hospitals and the trial lawyers who sue them for malpractice.
Sponsored by Sen. Catherine Pugh and 22 delegates in House, including three doctors, SB585 and HB553 would set up a fund paid for by the hospitals that would finance the living and care expenses of any baby suffering a neurological injury from actions at the hospitals.Read More
As the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene discussed Gov. Larry Hogan’s 2% across-the-board budget cuts on Friday, Sen. Adelaide Eckardt of the Senate Budget and Tax committee questioned the future of 68 mental health program facilities DHMH has created the past two years through aid provided by the Affordable Care Act.
Eckardt, a psychiatric nurse from the Eastern Shore, described DHMHs’ growth of mental health programs in the past two years as “pretty remarkable,” but voiced concerns that if the department doesn’t locate state funds to cover reducing federal funds, Maryland will begin backtracking.Read More
State officials responsible for overseeing construction of the health exchange platform faced two frightful choices under the contract to produce the website in the months preceding the Oct. 1, 2013 ”go live” date:
Terminate Noridian, and fail to bring any health exchange platform to market; or
Keep Noridian on the job while violating major contract provisions designed to maintain equilibrium between payments to Noridian, and the quality and completeness of their work.
The state decided on the latter.Read More
County executives and councils have the authority—and many assert it—to increase funding for reproductive related issues on the county level, says an abortion rights group. Or, if the state cuts funds, a county executive may choose to restore funding.Read More
Top state officials on Wednesday approved spending $16 billion over the next 10 years on health insurance for over 200,000 state employees, retirees and their dependents. One of the largest contracts ever granted, the three-member Board of Public Works approved it at a meeting dominated by discussion of the positives and negatives of health care delivery in Maryland, including serious patient care problems at a state hospital in Hagerstown.Read More
It was easy to feel sorry for state Secretary of Health & Mental Hygiene Joshua Sharfstein during the last couple of years. When it was announced he was leaving the department late last month, the only surprise was that his departure wasn’t immediate and that it hadn’t happened sooner. With the failure of the Maryland Health Care Exchange, his department already had too much dysfunction on its plate.Read More
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