Chair: John M. Colmers, Secretary of Health & Mental Hygiene

Appointed by Governor: George H. Bone, M.D.; Joseph S. Fastow, M.D.; Fannie G. Gaston-Johansson, Ph.D., R.N.; Stuart Guterman; Ivan C. A. Walks, M.D.; David D. Wolf.

Appointed by Senate President: Robert J. Garagiola; Thomas M. Middleton.

Appointed by House Speaker: Robert A. Costa; Joseline A. Peña-Melnyk

Ex officio: John B. Howard, Jr., designee of Attorney General; T. Eloise Foster, Secretary of Budget & Management; John M. Colmers, Secretary of Health & Mental Hygiene; Ralph S. Tyler, Esq., Maryland Insurance Commissioner.

Staff: Lydia A. Isaac

c/o Office of Secretary, Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene
201 West Preston St., Baltimore, MD 21201 - 2399
(410) 767-3480
e-mail: lisaac@dhmh.state.md.us
web: www.dhmh.state.md.us/hcar/index.html

In July 2007, the Task Force on Health Care Access and Reimbursement was established (Chapter 505, Acts of 2007).

Because quality affordable health care in Maryland may be undermined by low reimbursement rates to doctors and health care providers, the high costs of practicing medicine in Maryland, and the growing number of uninsured and underinsured citizens, the Task Force was charged with studying specific issues relating to medical care reimbursement rates and trends. The Task Force then was to recommend what changes need to be made to physician and health care provider reimbursements; whether current statutory formulas for reimbursement of noncontracting physicians and health care providers by health maintenance organizations are adequate; and what authority the Maryland Insurance Administration and the Attorney General need in order to regulate rate-setting and other market practices by health insurance carriers that might unreasonably reduce reimbursements. In addition, the Task Force considered whether health care providers need to be able to better negotiate reimbursement rates with health insurance carriers without impacting the carriers' ability to manage their provider networks; whether the State needs a rate-setting system for health care providers similar to the existing one for hospital rates; whether to link use of payment methods to quality of care or outcomes; and how necessary it is to prohibit a health insurance carrier from requiring health care providers who join the carrier's network to join the provider network of a different carrier. Further, the Task Force was to make recommendations about whether incentives are needed so that physicians and other health care professionals are available to provide care on evenings and weekends; and if primary care physicians may be reimbursed for mental health services provided within the scope of their practice (Chapters 447 & 448, Acts of 2008).

The Task Force submitted its interim report on January 28, 2008 and its final report in December 2008. Authorization for the Task Force extended through December 1, 2008 (Chapter 265, Acts of 2008).

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