Lt. Governor Brown Testifies in Support of HB 929: Patient Centered Medical Home Program
Bill is part of O’Malley-Brown administration’s legislative package and one of Brown’s top priorities during 2010 Legislative Session
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (March 11, 2010) – Lt. Governor Brown testified today in support of priority legislation that would create a Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) program in Maryland. The bill was introduced as part of the O’Malley-Brown legislative package earlier this year and was listed as one of Brown’s top priorities for the 2010 session. Brown was joined at the hearing by Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene John M. Colmers, Acting Insurance Commissioner Beth Sammis and Maryland Health Care Commission Executive Director Rex Cowdry, as well as representatives from insurance companies, hospitals and private-practice physicians.
“During these difficult economic times, Governor O’Malley and I have not lost sight of our goals to expand opportunity to more Marylanders and protect the progress we have made,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “Since taking office, we have expanded health care to more Marylanders. HB 929 builds on our progress, improves the quality of care and reduces costs for patients and taxpayers.”
HB 929 directs the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) to establish by January 2011 a PCMH program consisting of all-payer and single-payer PCMH pilots. The bill stems as a direct action from recommendations provided to Governor O’Malley by the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council, which Lt. Governor Brown chairs. The Council is charged to identify means to improve the quality of health care across the state and lower the cost of care for all Marylanders. Last year, the Council implemented several initiatives to improve care, including the Hand Hygiene Collaborative that aims to prevent healthcare-associated infections.
“Maryland cannot wait to improve access, contain costs, and improve quality. Working together with public and private providers and payers, we have proposed this medical home program to vastly improve how medical care is delivered in our state,” said Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary John M. Colmers.
The PCMH program is a model of primary care in which a team of health professionals, guided by a personal physician, provides continuous, comprehensive and coordinated care in a culturally and linguistically sensitive manner. A PCMH practice provides for all of a patient’s health care needs and appropriately collaborates with other qualified professionals to provide patient-centered care through evidence-based medicine, expanded access and communication, care coordination and integration and care quality and safety. A PCMH is hoped to lower the total costs of care, improve clinical care processes, increase patient access, enhance patient experience of care, and improve staff work satisfaction.
“The Council’s workgroup enjoyed the enthusiastic participation of over 80 stakeholder representatives and received advice on best practices from outside experts and other states. This open and inclusive process will be of great benefit to patients and providers when we implement Maryland's medical home program,” said Kathleen White, chairperson for the PCMH workgroup that guided the development of the program.
PCMH pilot programs are underway in over 20 states, including an 11-practice pilot established in Maryland in 2009 by Carefirst. Pennsylvania, Vermont, Minnesota and Oregon have enacted major health reform legislation with the PCMH as a key element. The Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council adopted a plan in December 2009 to launch an all-payer PCMH program composed of 50 practices, 200 providers and up to 200,000 patients beginning in January 2012.
“The Patient Centered Medical Home program holds great promise to improve the quality of care while more appropriately reimbursing primary care physicians for the central role they play in coordinating patient care,” said CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield President and CEO Chet Burrell. “This is a critical development that could, over time, have a positive impact on the health of millions of Marylanders and the state’s health care system. “
“Any practice, large or small, can embrace this model and like us will see improvements in care delivery along with enthusiasm from physicians, patients and staff,” said Carol Reynolds, MD Medical Director of Potomac Physicians, P.A. Potomac Physicians was the first practice in the country to be recognized as a Patient Centered Medical Home. “The PCMH Model has allowed us to modify our practice to maximize the efforts of our physicians and support staff in very practical ways to enhance the provision of care to our patients; improving compliance and taking advantage of more opportunities and methods to help our patients get what they need, all the while encouraging them to be more participatory in their own care.”
Lt. Governor Brown leads the O’Malley-Brown administration’s effort to improve and expand health care. This session, he has focused his attention to pass legislation, including HB 929, that improves the quality of care, lowers costs and prevents health care fraud. Yesterday, Brown testified in support of another administration bill, the Maryland False Health Claims Act.