November 27, 2013

Local Health Improvement Coalition Weekly Digest

Dear Howard County LHIC Members –

Please find below this week’s LHIC digest and corresponding attachments.  Additionally we welcome you to submit any news or events that you would like to share with the group.  The deadline for submissions is Monday by 5:00pm to  We are experimenting this week with a more abbreviated digest.  Please let us know know what you think of this shorter format by emailing LHIC director Alisha Wolf at Thank you!

LHIC Items:

From the last LHIC meeting
A huge thank you to all those who attended the LHIC November meeting. The minutes from that meeting are available here.  Our next full member ship meeting will be January 13, while our executive committee will meet Monday, December 16 from noon to 1pm.

Reducing Hospital Readmissions Improves Quality of Care and Reduces Cost

A recent Robert Wood Johnson policy brief describes the Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) established in the Affordable Care Act that provides a financial incentive to hospitals to lower readmission rates. The brief describes the ACA policy in detail, describes the program's promising initial results and explains how hospitals are affected by the policy.  To read the brief, click here.

Obama Selects Health Policy Advocate as Surgeon General

 President Obama nominated Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, an early supporter and grass roots advocate of the Affordable Care Act, as Surgeon General in mid-November.  Dr. Murthy is a founder and president of Doctors for American, a group that campaigned for the health care law before Congresse passed it in 2010.  He is a doctor at Bringham and Women's Hospital in Boston and an instructor at Harvard Medical School.  He has been a leader in HIV and AIDS education and prevention in the United States and India. To learn more about Obama's recent appointment, read the New York Times story here.

Connection Update, Friday, November 22, 2013
Since October 1, there have been more than 450,000 unique visitors to the health benefit exchange website. Total enrollment in qualified healthplans have increased by more than 500 since the week ending November 16 to a total 2,253 individuals. Including Medicaid pre-enrollment, new Medicaid eligibles, and people who have selected pre-qualified health plans, over 90,000  Marylanders will be enrolled in health insurance starting January 1, 2014. For more details, read the full report here.

Maryland Health Connection Call Center
Maryland Health Connection has opened the first phase of its state-of-the-art customer call center in Baltimore to provide support for residents and small employers statewide. The call center assists Marylanders with general questions about health coverage and the process of enrollment. The call center will operate seven days a week during the open enrollment period, which began on October 1, 2013 and ends on March 31, 2014. The toll-free phone number is 855.642(MHC).8572, and 1.855.642(MHC).8573 for TTY service.


The Bollman Bridge Elementary School Wellness Center Opening
Monday, December 2, 10:30 am
8200 Savage Guilford Rd, Jessup, MD 20794

Please join County Executive Ken Ulman, Health Officer Dr. Maura Rossman and HCPSS Superintendent Dr. Renee Foose to celebrate the official  opening of the Wellness Center  and tour the facility. RSVP to Amy Skaggs at or 410-313-6273
Knitting and Crochet Support Group {free}
Every Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Attention cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers: join us on Wednesday each week for instruction, directions, and good times for beginning or advanced knitters. Located at The Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, 21044. For more information call 410-740-5858.

Living with Diabetes
December 6 and 10, 8:30 am-2:30 pm
Have you recently been diagnosed with diabetes or have you been living with diabetes and would like to improve your health? Our diabetes specialists will teach you how to change your habits, give you practical, attainable solutions for staying healthy and design a diabetes management plan to fit your lifestyle.  Living with Diabetes is a two-day, interactive group course taught by an endocrinologist, diabetes nurse educator, dietitian, physiologist, podiatrist, and exercise specialist.  Most insurance companies cover all or part of the program. The Bolduc Family Outpatient Center at Howard County General Hospital. For more information, or to register, please call 443-718-3000.

Symphony of Lights
December-January 5

Symphony of Lights is a spectacular display of 70 larger-thab-life, animated and stationary light creatures.  It is a long-standing community tradition and a "must-see" during the holiday season. For more information, visit


Additionally we welcome you to submit any news or events that you would like to share with the group.  The deadline for submissions is Monday by 5:00pm to

 Our mailing address is: 8930 Stanford Boulevard Columbia, MD 21045