Health Enterprise Zones in Maryland!
Welcome message from the Lieutenant Governor
This April I joined Governor Martin O'Malley as he signed the Health Disparities and Reduction Act of 2012 into law. This landmark legislation, which I had the privilege to lead, seeks to address the unsustainable and significant health disparities that impact the lives of too many Maryland communities, families and individuals.
The primary focus of the legislation was the creation of the Health Enterprise Zones (HEZs). HEZs are designed to reduce health disparities among Maryland’s racial and ethnic groups and between geographic areas, improve health care access and health outcomes, and reduce health care costs by providing a variety of incentives to defined geographic areas with high rates of disparities. According to the United Health Foundation, Maryland ranks 35th in infectious diseases, 34th in health outcomes, and 33rd regarding geographic health disparities, despite numerous positive measures, such as having the 2nd highest rate of primary care providers per capita and one of the ten lowest rates of smoking. Funded with $4 million allocated to the Community Health Resources Commission, it is anticipated that between two and four zones will be part of the pilot program.
I want to thank all of legislators, stakeholders and community and health care leaders for their worked on the bill. As we move forward, I encourage you to stay in touch and check the website for updates on the public input and hearing process and future application timeline.
Anthony G. Brown