Md. hospitals join forces to educate consumers on healthcare changes

Maryland hospitals plan Tuesday to launch a campaign called "A Breath of Fresh Care" to teach patients how to become engaged in their healthcare by introducing them to hospital wellness and chronic disease management initiatives, according to the Baltimore Sun.

To support this effort, the Maryland Hospital Association created a website with links to individual hospital websites. It will also display information on education forums, which will begin in the fall.

"Healthcare in Maryland is evolving by leaps and bounds; gone are the days when consumers sat on the sidelines, detached from their care," Carmela Coyle, president and CEO of the MHA, told the Baltimore Sun.. "Healthcare in the 21st century is about patients; hospitals and other providers are looking to their patients and communities like never before as partners in health. Simply put, to enable Marylanders to lead long, healthy lives, we need their help."

The campaign is necessary, MHA officials and consumer groups said, because Maryland recently began participating in a reimbursement model experiment with federal regulators that pays hospitals based on value and health outcomes. In exchange for controlling costs, the hospitals earn higher reimbursements from federal health programs.

The MHA has already gained the support of civil rights group NAACP, seniors' advocacy organization AARP, the Young Invincibles, which educates young people about healthcare, and the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative, a consumer advocacy group, according to the report.

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