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Governor Martin O'Malley Outlines Plan for the Future of Medical Innovation in Maryland

Press Release

Location: Baltimore, MD

Governor Martin O'Malley joined Lt. Governor Anthony Brown to convene a roundtable forum of industry leaders and experts, including medical system Presidents, Hospital CEOs, State officials and other stakeholders to discuss health care reform and innovation in Maryland. Governor O'Malley used the forum to outline the future of Health Information Technology (Health IT) in Maryland, and opportunities to move Maryland forward in the areas of health care reform and innovation.

"Our health care sector is projected to grow by more than 20 percent by 2018, when it will employ a projected 264,000 people in our State. There is a clear connection between the health of our fellow citizens, and the health of jobs and our economy," said Governor O'Malley. "Advancing our vision for Health IT will further this progress, and help us advance toward our goals for creating and saving jobs, and improving the quality of care in our State while reigning in costs."

Maryland remains home to some of the world's most respected medical institutions. In 2008, more than 219,000 jobs existed in Maryland's health care field. By 2018, that figure is expected to grow to nearly 264,000, representing a growth rate of more than 20 percent over a ten year period. A strong Health IT sector in Maryland has the potential to create even more jobs for Maryland's hardworking families.

Governor O'Malley and Lt. Governor Brown have set a goal for Maryland to become a national leader in Health IT by 2012 by developing a safe and secure statewide health information exchange and promoting the adoption of electronic health records among providers. By 2012, the Administration aims to have universal compliance by all health care providers in the State.

"Since Governor O'Malley and I first took office four years ago, Maryland has emerged as a national leader in health care and has been recognized by our federal partners for our work to build an innovative model health information exchange. Developing a successful exchange model using electronic health records will enable Maryland to set the foundation for effective implementation of health reform and bring the health care industry into the 21st century," said Lt. Governor Brown. "We will continue to work with our partners across Maryland and throughout the region to ensure that we are improving treatment for patients, preventing administrative and medical errors, and reducing health care costs through health information technology."

Lt. Governor Brown has been actively engaged in Maryland's effort be a national leader in Health IT, meeting multiple times with the Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP) on plans to develop the health information exchange and implement Health IT throughout Maryland. In June, the Lt. Governor, CRISP, and the Governor Office of Minority Affairs sponsored a forum to inform Maryland's minority business enterprises about the State's Health IT efforts and future business opportunities.

"Health IT is a critical component of health reform," said Ronald R. Peterson, President, The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System. "The effective implementation of health IT will ensure that clinicians and patients can be partners in disease prevention and personalized medicine. Health IT will allow us to reduce errors, improve resource utilization, increase access to best practices, and hopefully assist in bending the health care cost curve."

"The Governor has been very supportive of health information exchange, and this event reaffirms the momentum for connectivity he has helped to build," said David Horrocks, President, CRISP. "Because so many healthcare organizations chose to become involved in planning the exchange, Maryland is building from a strong foundation."

In 2009, before federal health care reform, Maryland became the first state in the nation to require state-regulated payers to incentivize health care providers to adopt electronic health records. And Maryland is among the first three states to have a State Health IT Plan approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, allowing Maryland to move forward to implement a functional health information exchange.

With a statewide health information exchange in place, Maryland can more effectively provide health care services to patients and allow health care providers to process information more efficiently -- all while saving costs. Administrative health care information can also be exchanged through a health information exchange. For the most part, it costs twice as much for a payer to process a paper health claim as compared to electronic claims. In a world where the threat of national and local medical crises such as bio terrorism attacks exist, Health IT will also enable providers to share information to improve disease surveillance and prevent potential homeland security threats.

Today, Governor O'Malley outlined a plan to continue Maryland's national leadership in Health IT, available on the Governor's website in its entirety. The plan includes:

1. Creating a statewide network of health information, including the establishment of a safe, secure method for the exchange of health information, putting the interests of patients first.
2. Encouraging the adoption of electronic health records, including developing incentives for providers, engaging public schools, and working with Maryland's business community to take advantage of Health IT opportunities.
3. Maximizing federal funding, including investments from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and federal health care reform

Since 2007, the O'Malley-Brown Administration has expanded health care to more than 178,000 people who previously had no coverage -- including nearly 86,000 children. The O'Malley-Brown Administration has also strengthened the safety net for Maryland's most vulnerable families by expanding Medicaid programs to cover parents with incomes of up to $20,500 for a family of three, or 116 percent of the federal poverty level. Governor O'Malley championed the establishment of the Deamonte Driver Project to increase incentives to expand access to vital dental benefits to more Maryland children than ever before.

Using the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Administration moved swiftly to expand Medicaid by $1.4 billion, promoting wellness and prevention programs that decrease health care costs, increasing support for the Women, Infants and Children Program and ensuring that Maryland's underserved children receive the care they deserve. Governor O'Malley and Lt. Governor Brown successfully launched the Health Insurance Partnership for small businesses that has reduced the cost of health insurance for hundreds of Maryland families. Just this year, the O'Malley-Brown Administration successfully fought for legislation to combat false health care claims, combating waste, fraud and abuse in Maryland's public health system and saving Maryland taxpayers money.

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