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Hospital Rates

NEWS
March 10, 2014
The conclusion of The Sun's editorial, "Investing in lower health costs" (March 7), is that "unless the hospitals start making immediate and fundamental changes to the way they operate …" Maryland will not be successful under the new waiver from Medicare that allows the state to continue to keep health care costs down by setting hospital rates. Rest assured, Maryland's hospitals have already dived head first into immediate and fundamental changes, with most having agreed with the state to enter into budget arrangements that provide us a fixed budget per year to take care of people and work with other providers and community organizations to keep our communities healthier.
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NEWS
By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun | March 23, 2012
Financially troubled St. Joseph Medical Center ended its search for a new owner Friday, announcing that it has entered an agreement to become part of the rapidly expanding University of Maryland Medical System. The announcement was greeted with cheers at the Towson hospital, said Dr. Paul McAfee, head of spinal surgery. "If the doctors in the operating room and emergency room had flowers, they would have thrown them," he said, adding that UMMS plans to upgrade the facilities and turn the hospital into a major surgery center.
BUSINESS
By M. William Salganik and M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF | October 17, 2000
Maryland hospitals saw their operating margins drop by about two-thirds in the fiscal year that ended June 30, the Maryland Hospital Association reported yesterday. As a group, the hospitals had a 0.65 percent margin on operations - revenue received for patient care minus costs - and a total margin of 2.36 percent. Total margin includes nonhospital revenue such as investment income. That's down from a 1.93 percent operating margin and a 2.98 percent total margin in the previous fiscal year.
BUSINESS
By M. William Salganik and M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF | November 22, 1995
State health planners yesterday projected that Maryland's hospitals, despite recent downsizings to deal with declining occupancy rates, will still have excess capacity of 29 percent to 45 percent by the year 2000.While the problem of excess beds requires attention from regulators, it can be managed, said James R. Stanton, executive director of the Heath Resources Planning Commission, who presented the projections yesterday to the Senate Finance Health Subcommittee. He added, "I encourage you not to focus on the numbers."
BUSINESS
By M. William Salganik and M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF | April 25, 1997
Maryland hospitals are gearing up to challenge state rate-setters' efforts to squeeze hospital rates by nearly 4 percent.The rate squeeze was triggered by a formula designed to make sure Maryland's hospital costs don't increase at a faster rate than the national average. This past year, Maryland costs grew by 4.5 percent, about double the national rate, while hospital profits reached record levels.The "correction factor," which began taking effect this month, doesn't mean every hospital will see its rates cut -- in fact, the Maryland Hospital Association estimated about half will get an increase.
BUSINESS
By John Fairhall and John Fairhall,Sun Staff Writer | February 2, 1995
Helped by a surprising dip in spending on charity care, Maryland hospitals rang up record operating profits of $167 million in 1994 and kept their average cost increases below 3 percent, state officials reported yesterday.Although the report of low cost increases is welcome news for employers and consumers seeking relief from rising medical bills, some employers said Maryland hospitals could be even more efficient.The average cost of a stay at one of Maryland's 51 acute-care hospitals rose to $5,601, a 2.8 percent increase that was the smallest since the state began tracking this information in 1978.
NEWS
January 2, 2000
STATE regulators placed Maryland hospitals on a rate-loss diet a few years ago, but the bureaucrats may have overdone it: For some medical centers, it has turned into a starvation diet that could threaten patients' well-being. Indeed, there is evidence that regulators' cutbacks on hospital rate charges helped precipitate staffing reductions at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, especially nursing shortages, that led to serious medical problems for patients. Shady Grove's accreditation is now threatened.
HEALTH
By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun | May 6, 2013
The Maryland Hospital Association has sent a letter to state health officials saying it will not support a proposal that would link medical spending to the state's economic growth. The state presented the proposal to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in March as part of an application to update its Medicare waiver, an agreement with the federal government unique to Maryland that allows the state to set uniform hospital rates. The hospital association has said in the past the proposal raises concerns, but the April 25 letter is the first time the group publicly said it would not support it. The letter is addressed to Health Secretary Joshua M. Sharfstein and John M. Colmers, chairman of the Health Services Cost Review Commission, the agency that sets hospital rates in Maryland.
BUSINESS
By M. William Salganik and M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF | February 4, 1999
Maryland hospitals and the state regulators who set their rates came closer yesterday on a plan to hold down costs -- but the regulators still want to reduce costs, while the hospitals are still proposing a freeze on charges."
HEALTH
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | January 11, 2013
The state commission that regulates hospital rates has not kept adequate tabs on hospital billings, according to legislative auditors, who say that four hospitals they checked have overcharged by more than $13 million. An audit of three regulatory agencies under the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found "control deficiencies" at one, the Health Services Cost Review Commission, which left auditors with a "lack of assurance" that billings by the state's 53 hospitals were proper.
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