Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Exchange to be Ready 2013

The State of Maryland has just received a $123 million Level Two Establishment Federal grant to support the state’s Health Benefit Exchange to be called the “Maryland Health Connection” and scheduled to be operational by October 2013. The grant funding will be used by the state to support the continued development of policies, administration, and operations, as well as consumer outreach, assistance, and education.

A substantial portion of the grant funding will support the IT system being developed in collaboration with the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (Medicaid), and the Department of Human Resources. This collaboration will help to ensure that all federal and state functions are operational as well as have the capability to transfer information between individuals, employers, and plan issuers as well as state and federal agencies.

Maryland Health Connection enrollment will begin with coverage January 2014 and will cover as many as 150,000 individuals expected to enroll in qualified health plans during the first year. This is expected to increase to 275,000 by 2020 with Medicaid enrollment is expected to increase by 101,000 in the first year, growing to 187,275 by 2020 according to figures by the Hilltop Institute.

The Level Two Establishment Grant is the fourth federal grant Maryland has received to support the implementation of the state-based exchange making a total of $157 million. Prior to this award, the state received $34.4 million in grants for research, planning IT development, and implementation.

The grant funding included a Planning Grant for $1 million for initial research and planning, a $6.2 million Early Innovator Grant to design and implement an IT model for the State, and a $27.7 million Level One Establishment Grant for policy development, technology, and to develop the operational infrastructure and IT platform.

A critical element in making the Exchange operational is to procure the appropriate personnel to develop the detailed planning documents, project plans, as well as be able to track the completion of key operational, IT, finance, marketing, and communication activities. To meet these needs, a Request for Proposal was issued on August 23, 2012 seeking a Project Manager/Scheduler. The RFP is due September 13, 2012.

For more information and to view the RFP on this firm fixed price contract go to

In other state news, the State Mental Hygiene Administration (MHA) and their Administrative Services Organization, ValueOptions® just launched a new web-based reporting system “Outcomes Measurement System (OMS) at  to do a better job in understanding the outcomes for individuals receiving mental health outpatient services. The new tool enables MHA, ValueOptions, and behavioral healthcare providers to track the progress of consumers and identify specific areas that need provider or system of care improvements.