Problem Identification:
The Department regularly meets with administrators from Baltimore’s hospitals but these gatherings produce few benefits due to the lack of tangible objectives.

Recommended Action:
Refocus the regular planning meetings that occur between the Department and local hospitals to center attention on the creation of a functioning citywide health surveillance system, the institution of uniform and nonduplicative data reporting requirements, the resolution of privacy-related data sharing issues, and other issues of mutual concern.

Cost Savings, Organizational, Revenue Enhancement, Service Improvement

Functional/Operational Area:
All Department operations

Estimated Annual Impact:
While the immediate financial impact cannot be estimated, improved coordination between the Department and Baltimore’s hospitals could increase the timeliness and accuracy of collected data, improve the sharing of data, and promote more informed organizational and policy decisionmaking.

Estimated Implementation Costs:

Barriers to Implementation:

Projected Implementation:

Next Steps:
The Department should make every conceivable effort to ensure that the top administrators from all of Baltimore’s local hospitals attend the next planning meeting, develop consensus regarding the objectives of this group, and develop a specific action plan to focus the activities of this group.

The Department and local hospitals regularly participate in the ‘Urban Health Coalition.’ The meetings of the coalition are supposed to provide a structured forum where the Department’s leadership and local hospital administrators can convene on a regular basis, ostensibly to exchange information and coordinate planning initiatives. The agenda for these meetings is dictated by the Department and little effort has been made to develop a series of long-term objectives that reflect shared priorities towards which this group can focus its collective efforts.

Mutually beneficial partnerships, from both the quality of service and financial efficiency perspectives, represent one of the central themes of the Greater Baltimore Committee/ Presidents’ Roundtable Health Department project team’s set of recommendations. A number of the recommendations included herein surface opportunities where improved coordination and cooperation between the Department and local hospitals and other service providers could yield tangible improvements (data sharing, Medical Assistance enrollment efforts, and facility sharing). To begin to realize these improvement opportunities, steps must be taken by the Department to actively engage service providers in meaningful dialogues about these issues. Specific areas of interest upon which the coalition can focus efforts include:

Establishing an operable citywide health surveillance system;
Instituting uniform and nonduplicative data reporting requirements; and
Resolving data sharing and patient privacy issues.