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Regional Health Summit

December 19th, 2015 by WCBC Radio

The "startling" rate at which opioid-related issues are driving hospital admissions and the need to provide more holistic care gave regional legislators plenty to ponder Thursday during the third annual Western Maryland Health Legislative Forum. Hosted by Meritus Health at Robinwood Medical Center near Hagerstown, the forum gave health care administrators an opportunity to share concerns and ideas with legislators from Frederick, Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties. While the issues ranged from cost containment to the need for more behavioral health beds, all were interrelated as the health care providers painted a picture of the changing face of needed services. Trivergent Health Alliance, a management organization formed by Frederick Memorial Hospital, Meritus Health and Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, studied costs among the three hospitals, Trivergent Chief Executive Officer Raymond Grahe said. Among the total Medicare population of about 70,000, the 1,000 who were using the services most through repeat visits were driving costs to about $60 million per year, he said. The problem was that their illnesses have been "treated in an episodic method rather than a continuum of care," he said. He noted that many of these illnesses are related to heart issues and diabetes.

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