Lt. Governor Brown Applauds Senate and House Support for Patient Centered Medical Home Program

Administration bill to improve quality of health care and lower costs passes third reader in both chambers

 

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (March 27, 2010) – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown released the following statement today applauding the Maryland General Assembly for passing SB 855 and HB 929 – Patient Centered Medical Home Program.

“This is a great week for health care in Maryland and across the country. We cheered earlier this week as President Obama signed national health reform, and we took a major step forward in the fight against fraud, waste and abuse that is costing Maryland taxpayers millions each year.

“We all have a responsibility to provide our neighbors with better care and lower costs. Yesterday’s votes in the House and Senate remind us that health reform does not have to be a partisan, political issue. More than any other single piece of health legislation we will pass this year, the Patient Centered Medical Home program will improve the quality of care and reduce costs by providing physicians with responsible incentives to spend more time with patients, coordinate care, and promote prevention and wellness.  I applaud President Miller, Speaker Busch and Chairmen Middleton and Hammen for their leadership and for joining our efforts to make health reform a reality in our state.”

Yesterday, the Patient Center Medical Home bill passed third reader with unanimous support in both the House and Senate. Sixty-three lawmakers from both houses co-sponsored the legislation.  The legislation passed both chambers in identical form with administration-sponsored amendments that were introduced after conversations with stakeholders and lawmakers.

The bill directs the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) to establish by January 2011 a PCMH program consisting of 50 practices and reaching 200,000 Marylanders. The bill stems from recommendations provided to Governor O’Malley by the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council, which Lt. Governor Brown chairs. Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary John M. Colmers serves as the Commission’s Vice Chair. The Council is charged with identify ways 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 hospital-acquired infections.

A PCMH is not a physical home, but rather a change in how health care services are delivered to patients. The goal of Maryland’s PCMH Program is to improve the quality of health care services and reduce costs.  PCMHs provide advanced primary care through a team of health professionals, guided by a personal physician.  Their focus is to provide patients with continuous, comprehensive and coordinated care in a culturally and linguistically sensitive manner. In particular, programs seek to increase patient and provider satisfaction, expand patient access to providers, provide more comprehensive and coordinated preventive care and care management, improve care to patients with chronic diseases, lower rates of hospitalization, reduce emergency department visits, and decrease the number of redundant services. 

PCMH pilot programs are underway in over 20 states, including a 9-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 PCMH workgroup crafted the program with collaboration from hospitals, providers, and payers.

Lt. Governor Brown’s portfolio includes health care, economic development and higher education. Brown, the former Majority Whip of the House of Delegates, has led the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s efforts to pass difficult legislation throughout the administration’s first term. Last year, Brown championed the administration’s bills to take guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. In 2008, Brown led efforts to improve mental and behavioral health services for veterans and worked to pass the BRAC Community Enhancement Act to better leverage private partnerships in preparation for the arrival of 60,000 new jobs across the state.

 


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