News & Bulletins Archive

Hilltop’s Hospital Community Benefit Program has added exciting new interactive features to its Community Benefit State Law Profiles. New enhancements added to the State Comparison Table enable a user to 1) sort by a selected community benefit requirement, 2) access state-specific details about a selected legal requirement, and 3) compare the community benefit requirements of multiple states.

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Hilltop Hospital Community Benefit Program Policy Analyst Gayle D. Nelson, JD, MPH, gave a presentation at a National Association of Counties (NaCo) webinar titled Using the Community Health Needs Assessment to Inform Policymaking on May 30, 2013. In her presentation, Community Health Needs Assessment: A Tool for Improving Community Health, Nelson provided a legal context for community health needs assessment (CHNA); described CHNA’s role in community health improvement; and discussed CHNA requirements and processes for nonprofit hospitals. View the presentation.

Hilltop is the host and a co-sponsor of the AcademyHealth 2013 Delivery System Transformation Meeting, an adjunct meeting of the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting (ARM) to be held in Baltimore this year. The meeting, titled Transforming Health and Health Care – Focus on Maryland, is open to all and will be held on June 21, 2013, from 8:30 am until 6:30 pm at UMBC.

The Delivery System Transformation Meeting provides a unique opportunity to bring together local health care leaders and national health services researchers, policy analysts, and other experts to get to know one another and to discuss issues of mutual interest in payment and delivery system reform and population health. The meeting will showcase Maryland innovations, such as the State Health Improvement Process (SHIP) and Health Enterprise Zones, and will also provide updates from forward-thinking leaders on health information technology, health disparities, information exchange, and safety net redesign.

Register for the meetingRead the Bulletin.

Hilltop Senior Research Analyst Michael Abrams, MPH, was co-author on a presentation made recently at an international meeting focused on schizophrenia research (see citation below). The work demonstrates that, among women with serious mental illness who are engaged in Maryland Medicaid, those with substance use disorders are at elevated risk for missing breast cancer screening. By somewhat surprising contrast, women with other mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia and depression), were not at elevated risk for missing such screening. For more information, contact

Sullivan K.,  Abrams, M., Feldman, S.,  Myers. S., McMahon, R., & Kelly, D(2013, April 14). Analysis of Maryland Medicaid data to estimate effects of psychiatric and substance use disorders on breast cancer screening utilization and breast cancer prevalence. 14th International Congress on Schizophrenia Research, Orlando, Florida (Poster Presentation).

Hilltop Hospital Community Benefit Program Director Martha H. Somerville, JD, MPH, gave a presentation at an Institute of Medicine (IOM) workshop titled Achieving Health Equity via the Affordable Care Act: Promises, Provisions, and Making Reform a Reality for Diverse Patients on April 22, 2013, in Hartford, Connecticut. In her presentation, Driving Health Equity through Public Policy: Hospital Community Benefits, Somerville discussed tax-exempt hospitals’ community benefit responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and identified how the ACA requirements can be used as levers to advance health equity. View the presentation.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently published the results of Hilltop’s study to evaluate the outreach efforts of Maryland’s Kids First program in a report titled How Well Did Maryland Identify and Enroll Uninsured Children Who Are Potentially Eligible for Medicaid or CHIP? The report describes Hilltop’s study, the challenges that the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene faced in its attempts to obtain information from the Comptroller’s office, and how Hilltop’s findings during the course of the project led to changes in Maryland’s tax forms that enabled more targeted mailings and the enactment of new legislation that facilitates data sharing. To learn more about the study, read these three issue briefs:

Hilltop Policy Analyst Aaron Tripp, MSW, gave a presentation at the 2013 Annual Conference of the American Society on Aging in Chicago on March 14, 2013. New Jersey Care Partner Support Pilot Program: Findings—which has been presented before and continues to spark interest—discussed highlights of Hilltop’s evaluation of the Pilot Program, which was designed to improve the knowledge and skills of family caregivers for beneficiaries enrolled in waiver programs following a caregiver self-assessment. Implications for health care and social service professionals to better recognize and support families as partners in care and recommendations for further expansion of caregiver assessments were addressed.

The Hilltop Institute’s Hospital Community Benefit Program has just released a new online resource, the Community Benefit State Law Profiles. The Profiles are a compilation of each state’s community benefit laws and regulations, analyzed in the context of the ACA’s community benefit framework. A companion issue brief, Hospital Community Benefits after the ACA: The State Law Landscape, presents the Profiles’ findings and begins the analysis—in effect, viewing state community benefit standards through the lens of the ACA—to facilitate a better understanding of each state’s community benefit landscape and its significance in the context of national health reform. Read the bulletin.

UMBC and The Hilltop Institute are pleased to announce that Cynthia H. Woodcock has been named Hilltop’s next executive director. An MBA by training, Ms. Woodcock’s managerial skills span organizational development, strategic planning, marketing and new business development, system design, and financial management. Ms. Woodcock knows Hilltop well; she was a part of the organization in various capacities from 2004 to 2011. Her appointment begins March 4. 

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On January 31, 2013, Michael Abrams, MPH, Senior Research Analyst at The Hilltop Institute, presented research to the Performance and Evaluation Committee of Baltimore Substance Abuse System, Inc. (bSAS), demonstrating that quantitative Medicaid expenditure savings in CY 2010 for patients with substance use disorders (SUDs) were correlated with the “coordination of care reputation” of those patients’ providers. Though the work relied on an imprecise definition for “care coordination,” it nevertheless yielded highly significant point estimates for per person Medical saving on the order of $1,000 a year. This translates to calculated savings of just over $7 million in the population studied (a 59% sample of Maryland Medicaid enrollees with SUDs), Furthermore, this work was validated by separate correlations, showing that “coordination of care” was also significantly associated with reduced inpatient service use. Abrams led the research team, which included Seung Kim (Policy Analyst, Hilltop), Jayne Miller (Senior Programmer, Hilltop), Jose Arbelaez (Director of Epidemiology and Evaluation, bSAS), and Yngvild Olsen (private consultant and Medical Director for the Institutes of Behavior Resources, Inc.). This work was funded by bSAS. View the presentation. To learn more about this research, contact Michael Abrams.

Hilltop Director of Medicaid Policy Studies David Idala, MA, and Policy Specialist Yi-An Chen, MA, presented a poster at the 2012 Summit on the Science of Eliminating Health Disparities, on December 18, 2012, in National Harbor, Maryland. The poster, titled The Use of Emergency Department (ED) Services for Non-Emergent Conditions among Adults with Disabilities, displays the preliminary results of a study that explores the impact of race/ethnicity and insurance status on ED use among individuals with disabilities. View the poster.

Hilltop Long-Term Services and Supports Policy and Research Director Donna C. Folkemer, MA, gave a presentation titled Improving Care: State Legislative Role in Improving the Quality of Long-Term Services and Supports at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Fall Forum Pre-Conference Meeting on December 5, 2012, in Washington, DC. In her presentation, Folkemer discussed eight things legislators should know about quality. The pre-conference meeting was attended by legislators and legislative staff from across the country. View the presentation.

Hilltop Interim Executive Director Mike Nolin was the moderator of a session titled State Experience in Working on the Health Insurance Exchanges at the Health Insurance Exchange Summit held on November 29 and 30, 2012, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference was attended by approximately 150 leaders from around the country. On the panel were a health plan representative from Massachusetts, Utah’s coordinator of health reform, the executive director of the Minnesota Exchange, the assistant commissioner for the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, and director of the Tennessee Insurance Exchange Planning Initiative.

Hilltop made several presentations at the 65th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America that took place November 14-18, 2012, in San Diego. On November 14, Hilltop presented a symposium session titled Medicare-Medicaid Enrollees: An Examination of New Maryland Enrollees and Pathways to Coverage. The purpose of the session was to discuss the findings of the research Hilltop conducted to examine the experience of Maryland Medicare-Medicaid enrollees before their eligibility for both programs. The research identified and cataloged significant differences between persons who first enroll in Medicaid and then in Medicare and those who first enroll in Medicare and then in Medicaid. In the session, Hilltop researchers shared the results of their analyses and findings from a background paper about pathways to eligibility for both programs. Hilltop Director of Long-Term Services and Supports Policy and Research Donna Folkemer, MA, moderated the session. Cynthia Woodcock, MBA, formerly of Hilltop and now Practice Area Lead, Long-Term Care, Aging, and Disability at IMPAQ International, discussed the literature review that described the various pathways to eligibility, presented examples of programs aimed at delaying functional decline and/or poverty, and reviewed enrollment barriers faced by individuals who need both Medicare and Medicaid coverage. Hilltop Policy Analyst Aaron Tripp, MSW, discussed the study on demographic and programmatic characteristics, which compared and contrasted enrollees in both programs with particular attention to identifying differences among various groups. Hilltop Director of Special Studies Ian Stockwell, MA, discussed the study on prior Medicare and Medicaid resource use, which examined chronic disease patterns and prior health care expenditures of persons who began to receive coverage in 2008 from both Medicare and Medicaid. Chuck Milligan, JD, MPH, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Deputy Secretary of Health Care Financing, was the discussant for the session. View the presentationView the three study reports.

In addition to this session, Hilltop staff made two more presentations at this meeting. Aaron Tripp and Cynthia Woodcock made a presentation titled New Jersey Care Partner Support Pilot Program: Findings, which discussed the findings of a study to evaluate the program. Ian Stockwell gave a presentation titled Medicaid Long-Term Services and Supports in Maryland: Money Follows the Person (MFP) Metrics, which discussed the set of evaluation metrics for Maryland’s MFP program that Hilltop built and used to evaluate the program.

On October 26, 2012, Hilltop held a colloquium, Health Reform: Implementing Insurance Coverage Expansion, for UMBC faculty, staff, and students, where attendees learned about the policy and financial structure of health insurance reform, as well as the status of its implementation nationally and in Maryland. Click here for more information.