CHRC Special Projects
In addition to its grantmaking activities, the CHRC has been tapped in recent years to support several public health initiatives and special projects. Following is an overview of these activities: (1) Access to Care Program; (2) Developmental Disabilities Administration Infrastructure Grants; and (3) DHMH Task Force on Regulatory Efficiency.
Access to Care Program
In 2011, the Maryland General Assembly approved legislation (SB 514/HB 450) that directed the CHRC to assist community health resources in their efforts to respond to the implementation of the ACA. The CHRC developed a business plan in 2012 that outlined specific recommendations for how the state could promote the readiness of safety net providers and assist in their efforts to build capacity and achieve long-term financial sustainability. As part of these efforts, the state launched the Access to Care Program, an interagency collaboration of the CHRC, DHMH, and the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. The purpose of the Access to Care Program was to build the capacity of safety net providers to serve more patients as the newly insured individuals access primary, preventive, and specialty care services in higher volumes. The state hosted six forums in June 2013 and invited safety net providers, Medicaid Managed Care Organizations, and Quality Health Plans. These forums were designed to encourage networking opportunities and promote the participation of essential community providers in Medicaid Managed Care Organizations and commercial health insurance networks.
Developmental Disabilities Administration Infrastructure Grants
At the request of DHMH leadership, the CHRC worked with the DHMH Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) to issue the DDA Infrastructure Grant Call for Proposals on April 2, 2012. This Call for Proposals generated a total of 121 awards to DDA licensees, totaling $5,997,975 in one-time only infrastructure grants. The grants were supported with funds provided by the DDA (funds were transferred to the CHRC’s budget) and were awarded to support projects in one of the following six categories: (1) New vehicles and other forms of transportation; (2) Adaptation of, or modification to, existing DDA licensee-owned vehicles; (3) Information technology equipment, software, or related services; (4) Adaptations, modifications, repairs, or improvements to existing provider-owned properties/programs that address critical health and safety issues or improve access or quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities. (Programs include day, vocational, and residential services such as group homes and Assisted Living Units); (5) Start-up funds for or expansion of infrastructure for innovative programs that increase community integration or integrated employment for people with developmental disabilities; and (6) Staff training in areas directly related to working with people with developmental disabilities. Grant funds supported projects that included the purchasing of new vans for programs to provide transportation for clients to and from health care appointments and providing repairs for existing properties which provided DDA services (e.g., window replacements, updating of HVAC units, and new flooring).
DHMH Task Force on Regulatory Efficiency
At the request of DHMH leadership, the CHRC Executive Director co-chaired the DHMH Task Force on Regulatory Efficiency with the DHMH Chief-of-Staff. The Task Force was tasked with conducting a cross-agency review of DHMH regulations and soliciting public comment to promote greater transparency, efficiency, and effectiveness in regulations. An initial public comment period generated 73 proposals from the public. Following a second public comment period, the Task Force issued its final report in June 2012. Of the 73 proposals received, 42 were supported by DHMH and moved forward for implementation or further review. Proposals that were implemented include such changes as allowing patients to return unused medications to help reduce health care costs at nursing homes by enabling the appropriate re-use of returned medications.