Thursday, March 30, 2023 |


People on a video call
Telemedicine flourished amid the pandemic, here’s how to keep it going – and why

In 2014, the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) issued a comprehensive report, with excellent recommendations to help expand the use of what is known as telemedicine or telehealth. Here’s the basic idea: Since most people have access to smartphones or computers, some aspects of health care can and should go online. This wasn’t a revolutionary notion, given the general migration of most industries, such as retail and travel, to online platforms. Health care had been slow to the game, however, and MHCC noted that in the prior year, only 16 practitioners in the state had submitted telemedicine claims to payers, representing a very small percentage of annual health care visits by Marylanders.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Want to help Maryland’s youth? Hire more health instructors and stop arguing over common sense legislation

You may have heard that things are quite different in the operations of this year’s Maryland General Assembly. Yes, there is virtual participation and livestreaming of sessions not experienced before. However, our organization watches all bills that come through session, carefully considering the impact of legislation and reforms affecting gender justice. And from what we’ve seen thus far, our legislators are still subject to distractions by those who do not want to acknowledge the basic rights and realities of our youth.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Our View: For most, for now, the answer to your COVID questions is, ‘wait your turn’

As County Commissioner Ed Rothstein and County Health Officer Ed Singer answered COVID-19 questions for more than 90 minutes during a virtual town hall Tuesday, one thing became abundantly clear. No one can understand why they haven’t already been vaccinated. Regardless of age, with or without pre-existing conditions, everyone thinks they have been wronged by being forced to wait. It’s understandable. Telling people to wait their turn for a trip to the buffet or for a Black Friday sale is one thing. Telling them to wait their turn to get a dose of vaccine that could save their life or end a too-long stint of being a prisoner in their own home is a much harder sell.

Stock photo of the Business Man with a credit card by rupixen
Wilford: Maryland’s digital ad tax not only bad policy, it’s fraught with legal problems

When Maryland’s legislature made the decision last month to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of its digital advertising tax, it was clear that the legislature had pushed the state into legally dubious territory. And sure enough, the state is already facing legal challenges from tech industry trade groups and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The state’s new system will impose a gross receipts tax ranging from 2.5% to 10% on businesses with global revenues exceeding $100 million, so long as they have at least $1 million in advertising revenue within Maryland.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Rodricks: A data dive on Baltimore homicides shows the need to stop retaliatory violence

After he sent me another pile of data about violent crime — specifically, an analysis of the Baltimore Police Department’s performance in making arrests in homicides — I wondered why Thiru Vignarajah, former candidate for mayor and Baltimore State’s Attorney, keeps doing this. To get on Fox 45 again? To stay viable as a political candidate for some future office? Why go to the trouble of looking at four years of violent crimes and arrests? That’s heavy work for a private citizen.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Persad, Largent and Emanuel: Age-based vaccine distribution is not only unethical. It’s also bad health policy.

Americans are queuing up for coronavirus vaccinations, but some states have started pushing vulnerable residents out of the vaccine line. Maine removed eligibility for all front-line workers and people with high-risk medical conditions, instead basing vaccine access solely on age. (It later restored eligibility for teachers, following the Biden administration’s announcement that it would prioritize them.) Other states, such as Connecticut and Nebraska, have made similar age-focused changes. In Maine and Connecticut, a healthy 50-year-old working from home will be eligible for vaccination, while a 44-year-old front-line worker with diabetes living in a hard-hit community will be turned away.

Norris: The royal family saga is a mirror of America

For me, it’s the schadenfreude. American audiences are aghast at the allegations of rejection and racism from the British royals after Sunday night’s blockbuster Oprah Winfrey interview with Harry and Meghan. But if we look closely as we gaze across the ocean — as we peer across the pond — we might see ourselves in that proverbial reflecting pool. The disparate treatment of someone with Black ancestry, the obsession with skin color, the private consternation over bloodlines and mixed marriage. Let’s not pretend that the United States has rid itself of these particular strains of the virus called racism.

Editorial: Was it really a lack of resources that led to the failures of Jan. 6?

A review of security at the U.S. Capitol commissioned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 incursion concluded that the Capitol Police force is “understaffed, insufficiently equipped and inadequately trained.” It recommended an increase in staff of more than 850 officers and other major investments. One would not know from reading the report that the agency is already one of the largest and best-funded police departments in the country. With a budget of more than $460 million and 2,300 employees, it is roughly equivalent to the police forces of cities such as Atlanta. It is charged with guarding two square miles.

Greene: Improving Support for State’s Behavioral Health Care Providers

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to highlight the behavioral health challenges facing many of our Maryland neighbors. As someone who has lived and worked in Maryland for much of my professional career, I agree with many of my colleagues in the behavioral health community these challenges will only increase as we emerge from this global pandemic.  This is why Optum Maryland is deeply committed to support providers’ work in delivering vital care to their patients. As the contractor tasked to deliver the Maryland Medicaid and state behavioral health plan claims payment system, our mission is to ensure that care providers can get paid quickly and accurately for the services they deliver to some of our most vulnerable who live in our community.

Maryland’s broken unemployment system needs an overhaul. Here’s how to fix it.

Maryland’s broken unemployment system has caused tremendous damage to workers in the state. In our union, UNITE HERE Local 25, 90% have still not returned to work. As hotel and hospitality workers, they were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. For too many, the unemployment insurance system became a logistical nightmare rather than the lifeline they needed. Many of our members are in dire, frightening financial circumstances because of the economic fallout from COVID-19. Most of them continue to rely on government services like unemployment insurance so they can meet basic human needs for themselves and their families.

Read More: Baltimore Sun

The Morning Rundown

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