University of Maryland Hosts Congressional Forum on New Changes under Health Care Reform Law
Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, hosted a briefing at the University of Maryland's BioPark Aug. 29, discussing the importance of the changes, including service improvements and new insurance options, created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Cummings and his guests, including representatives from the University of Maryland Medical System, were welcomed by University President Jay A. Perman, MD.
"The passage of health care reform provides an unprecedented opportunity to change the face of health care delivery," said Perman. "We are very pleased that the legislation included prevention and public health programs; initiatives designed to reduce racial and ethnic disparities; workforce development strategies; changes in long-term care and payment reform. The University has been very engaged with the Governor's Health Care Reform Coordinating Council to develop a blueprint and we look forward to working with the Governor and the Secretary of Health on implementation in Maryland."
"As so many changes for the better have been created by the Affordable Care Act, I believe it is critical that we have constant meetings with stakeholders and citizens to inform them of the improvements in the upgrades to our national healthcare," said Cummings. "This meeting, and those to follow, are the means we have to show Americans what can be done when we work together to lower health costs, improve outcomes and make our healthcare system more efficient and effective."
Federal Health and Human Services Regional Director Joanne Corte Grossi represented that agency at the event, answering the questions of dozens of healthcare providers who attended.
"Here in Baltimore and across the country, the Affordable Care Act is already making a difference in people's lives, helping families get care, helping businesses compete and strengthening Medicare and our health care system for the future," said Grossi.
"Maryland has been a terrific partner in implementing the Affordable Care Act, and we look forward to continuing to work together to increase coverage, reduce costs, and improve quality," added Jay Angoff, senior advisor to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Implementing changes made by the ACA at a state level is important as well, and will require coordination from state agencies.
"The Affordable Care Act provides a terrific set of tools for states to improve access, control costs, and enhance the quality of care," said Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD, secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. "We are moving forward to use these tools effectively in Maryland."
Finally, insurance providers will have a huge role to play as well, since more than 30 million Americans are able to buy insurance policies they otherwise would have been unable to acquire.
"The Maryland Health Insurance Plan is proud to play a prominent role in Maryland's health care reform," said Kent McKinney, executive director of Maryland Health Insurance Plan. "In 2011, MHIP added new benefit designs in order to meet the needs of Maryland's high risk population."
The University of Maryland hosted the event at their BioPark, a biomedical research park on the academic medical center campus in Baltimore. Its community of life science companies and academic research centers are commercializing new drugs, diagnostics and devices and advancing biomedical research.