Health Care Committee

The Health Care Committee reviews policy matters that affect the health care and health insurance industries. It identifies and learns about health care issues that impact the businesses in the region and their ability to control health care costs. In coordination with the GBC president and CEO, the committee communicates to legislators and opinion makers the value of the health care industry to the region and the benefits of a healthy workforce.

Committee Staff:

Liz Pettengill |

Chairman: The committee is chaired by Albert R. (Skip) Counselman, chairman and CEO of Riggs, Counselman, Michaels and Downes (RCM&D).

Members: This is a large committee with approximately 40 members, including: Christopher Brandt, CEO, Audacious Inquiry, and Carmel Roques, CEO, Keswick-Multicare.

What does the committee do:

  • In 2014, the GBC Health Care Committee formed an exclusive partnership with the Maryland Chapter of the American Diabetes in a year-long pilot program “CEOs Stopping Diabetes.” Data has shown that when CEO’s personally lead corporate wellness programs the results improve dramatically in terms of compliance. The GBC recruited six of its CEOs to take part in this program. The CEOs came from both large and small companies with diverse types of employees ranging from investment bankers to young techies. Each CEO was encouraged to initiate and lead his or her own programs to promote corporate wellness. At the end of the pilot year, an evaluation will be made of each program but early reports have already shown that the CEO engagement made a difference and inspired workers to pursue a healthier lifestyle.
  • For the last two years, the Health Care Committee has worked closely with the Healthiest Maryland initiative under the auspices of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. As a partner in the Healthiest Businesses component of Healthiest Maryland, the Health Care Committee signed up 130 private companies to participate in programs that would encourage workforce wellness.
  • This year the Health Care Committee hosted a series of experts on different aspects of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in order to learn more about how the ACA will affect hospitals, insurers and businesses in Maryland.

2015 Health Care Committee news:

The Health Care Committee got a preview of the nationally acclaimed “Mental Health First Aid” training which the GBC is offering to all of its members on Dec. 16. The training stems from the committee’s year long work to identify ways to modify corporate culture so that mental and behavioral health issues are not stigmatized.

The Mental Health First Aid training is designed for employers and employees and offers simple, appropriate ways to identify and address mental health issues.

A staggering one in four Americans will have a diagnosable mental disorder at some point in their lives, said Christiane Walker, Chief Development Officer for Mosaic Community Services, Maryland’s largest community-based behavioral health service provider, at the committee’s Nov. 3, 2015 meeting.

Anxiety is among the most prevalent mental illnesses, said Julie Fultz of Mosaic.

In fact, approximately 18.1 percent of American adults − or 42 million people − live with anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder and phobias, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Meanwhile suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. (more common than homicide) and the third leading cause of death for ages 15 to 24.

Because of the stigma associated with mental illness, it is often brushed under the rug, Fultz said. Having open discussions about mental health in the workplace is key to reducing the stigma and improving overall corporate wellness.

To learn more about the mental health first aid training or to register, click here.

Van Mitchell, Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene secretary, addressed the Health Care Committee at its Sept. 22, 2015 meeting. He covered a variety of topics, including the structure of his department, Maryland’s health care exchange, the Affordable Care Act and mental health.

The Health Care Committee continued its discussion about behavioral health at its June 17, 2015 meeting. Dr. Steven S. Sharfstein, president and chief executive officer of the Sheppard Pratt Health System, spoke about behavioral and mental health at the committee’s June meeting.

Here are his top five takeaways:

  • Approximately 25 percent of the population suffers from diagnosable disorders, including anxiety and depression.
  • People who suffer from more serious behavioral and mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, are best treated in a community setting. Left untreated, some may become homeless or criminalized, which is a public health problem.
  • Employing people who are actively psychotic in meaningful, paid jobs can be more powerful than medicine.
  • Ten percent of Baltimore’s population – 65,000 residents – are addicts. “Baltimore City is ground zero when it comes to heroin addiction,” Sharfstein said.
  • A component of corporate wellness, which includes behavioral health, is relationships. Walking groups are one way coworkers can socialize, promote positive relationships and focus on healthy lifestyles.

The Health Care Committee began the second year of its partnership with the American Diabetes Association to expand the successful CEOs Stopping Diabetes program. Jay Ridder, Managing Partner, Ernst & Young; Todd Marks, CEO, MindGrub; Mary Furlong; CFO, Lupin Pharmaceuticals; Brian White, CEO, Northwest Hospital; and August Chiasera, President, Greater Baltimore/Chesapeake, M&T Bank, join the six CEOs who participated last year. The committee is starting to study behavioral and mental health issues in the workplace with an overview at its April 7, 2015 meeting.

The following panel of experts spoke about behavioral health in the workplace at the committee’s April 7 meeting: Clare Miller, director, Partnership for Workplace Mental Health, American Psychiatric Foundation; Dr. Daniel Winn, vice president and senior medical director, CareFirst; and Jeff Richardson, executive director, Mosaic, Maryland’s largest community-based behavioral health provider.

View Dr. Winn’s presentation about Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse and Miller’s presentation about Partnership for Workplace Mental Health.

At its March 10, 2015, meeting Dr. H. Neal Reynolds, associate professor of medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine; associate director, Multi-Trauma Intensive Care Unit, RAC Shock Trauma Center; and chairman, Clinical Advisory Group for the Maryland Telemedicine Task Force, made a presentation about Advancing Telehealth through Innovative Care Projects.

Meanwhile, Dr. Marc T. Zubrow, associate professor, Medicine Program in Trauma, University of Maryland School of Medicine; eCARE medical director; vice president, Telemedicine, University of Maryland Medical System, made a presentation about Tele-Health at UMMS.