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Carmela Coyle: Quality Counts

By: Carmela Coyle Nothing is more important to Maryland’s hospitals than the safety of those who put their trust in us during their most vulnerable times. Every day, hour by hour, the more than 100,000 women and men who have the privilege of tending to Marylanders in need strive to provide the safest, most effective care to our hospital patients. In a new report from the Maryland Hospital Association, the data tell part of the story. Among the findings are that hospitals: * Achieved a 90 percent compliance rate for hand hygiene in 2014, up from 71 percent when the program began in 2010 (proper hand sanitizing procedures are the most fundamental way to reduce the spread of infections) * Reduced hospital readmissions by 4 percent compared to the previous year, faster than the national rate * Maintained zero central line-associated bloodstream infections per month for 90 percent of the participating... Continue reading
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Peter J. Pitts: Abuse Deterrent Opioids: Don't Fix the Blame, Fix the Problem

By: Peter J. Pitts Mark Twain quipped, “For every complex problem there is usually a simple answer – and it is usually wrong.” Welcome to the debate over opioid pain medications. What those seeking to solve the problem with one-shot solutions have ignored is that pain in America is a medical problem of enormous proportion. One-hundred million Americans are now living with chronic pain. That’s a third of the U.S. population. Ten million of those have pain so severe that it disables them. Pain costs the U.S. economy roughly $600 billion dollars a year in lost productivity and healthcare costs. And lawsuits, recalls, and police action won’t change those dire statistics. The vast majority of people who use opioids do so legally and safely. A subset of approximately 4% uses these medications illegally. In fact, from 2010 to 2011, the number of Americans misusing and abusing opioid medications declined from 4.6%... Continue reading
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Michael Kelly: A Collaborative Effort to Close the Mid-Skills Job Gap

By: Michael Kelly Three years ago the Opportunity Collaborative, a consortium of government and non-government stakeholders in the Baltimore region, began work on a series of regional plans and strategies designed to better connect residents to the social and economic strengths that make Central Maryland such a great place to live.  Funded through a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Opportunity Collaborative, which is co-chaired by Bill Cole of the Baltimore Development Corporation and Scot Spencer of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is identifying connections between housing, transportation, and workforce development policy that will have a meaningful impact on the lives of everyone in the region. Tomorrow, March 24, before a joint briefing of the Baltimore region’s legislative delegations in Annapolis, the Collaborative will release the Baltimore area’s first regional workforce development plan.  This plan, Strong Workforce, Strong Economy, is the collective effort of... Continue reading
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Nancy Navarro: Gallagher's Vision of Montgomery County Council Misses the Mark

By Nancy Navarro As the Montgomery County Councilmember who represents much of the central and eastern portions of Montgomery County, I am compelled to respond to John Gallagher's March 10 blog post, "A Lack of Vision in Montgomery County." I would agree with Mr. Gallagher’s analysis if the headline-grabbing items he lists were all the Council was doing. Had the self-proclaimed "political hack" bothered to check in with me or any of my colleagues, he would understand that our work is about improving the quality of life in Montgomery County. Mr. Gallagher is right—we do have real issues in Montgomery County.  Nearly 70,000 people are living under the federal poverty line in our county. Many families spend more than 30 percent of their gross income on childcare. The Latino population in the County has grown by more than 600% in the past three decades, significantly increasing the number of English as a Second Language... Continue reading
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Jimmy Dulay: Protect the Rights of Officers Who Serve the Public

By: Jimmy Dulay The Maryland Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights (LEOBR) is a statute that provides police officers due process, prior to their discipline by the police agencies we serve.    The LEOBR does not shield bad police officers from discipline or termination. It does not hinder the retraining of officers.  It does not prevent the prosecution of criminal actors, despite what its detractors claim.   The LEOBR does, however, protect officers from politically expedient decisions made with no regard for the facts of an incident, ensuring that officers are provided a full and proper hearing prior to disciplinary action. The Maryland General Assembly is considering several bills this year aimed at eroding the due process rights of the law enforcement officers who protect the public.   One bill even calls for the discipline of officers prior to any hearing.  In essence, this would create a guilty-until-proven-innocent standard, which we consider unacceptable for... Continue reading
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