May 15, 1997
Media Contact: Gary Stephenson
Priority Partners, the Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) established by Johns Hopkins HealthCare (JHHC) and the Maryland Community Health System (MCHS) last November, has been approved by the State of Maryland and will be part of the program that can begin accepting members June 2, 1997.
MCHS is a network of Community Health Centers throughout the state. JHHC is the organization charged with developing Hopkins' managed care integrated delivery system and is the vehicle through which Hopkins entered the partnership with MCHS. Priority Partners is owned equally by Hopkins and MCHS.
"With state approval of Priority Partners, Hopkins and MCHS can, as historic providers of care to the Medicaid population, continue their mission of providing first-rate health care to the sick and injured, regardless of the patient's financial status," said John D. Stobo, M.D., chairman and CEO of JHHC. "Priority Partners will participate statewide in the Medicaid managed care project and is the only program that teams up an academic medical center with a community health network to create a new model of patient-centered, state-of-the-art health care."
Pat Cassatt, MCHS president and executive director of the People's Community Health Center in Baltimore, said the partnership between Hopkins and MCHS was based on similarities in philosophies and organizational strengths. "Priority Partners reflects the commitments of both Hopkins and MCHS to provide high-quality care that is convenient and accessible," she said. "The MCHS management team, like the Hopkins team, combines proven expertise with a long track record in providing excellent medical services to Medicaid patients."
In addition to offering quality and convenience, Priority Partners hopes to attract Medicaid patients by providing an expanded benefits package. Beyond standard Medicaid benefits, Priority Partners will provide adult dental, certain over-the-counter medication and adult optical services.
MCHS members served some 30,000 Medicaid recipients across the state last year, while in the same period Hopkins served tens of thousands of Medicaid patients, including some 12,000 inpatients at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. The inpatients alone represented 28 percent of Medicaid discharges in Baltimore City.
Under a new state law, most medical assistance patients in Maryland must receive their care through managed care organizations starting in June 1997. The enrollment process will make every effort to enroll Medicaid beneficiaries with an MCO that includes the patients' current physicians. Maryland has about 460,000 Medicaid recipients, of whom approximately 330,000 will be eligible for the mandatory program.
Community Health Centers serving Priority Partners enrollees include Chase Brexton Health Services and Glenwood Health Center serving Baltimore City and Baltimore County; Caroline Health Services facility serving Caroline, Talbot, Queen Anne's and Dorchester counties; Community Clinic Inc., serving Montgomery and Frederick counties; Greater Baden Medical Services facility serving Prince George's, Charles and St. Mary's counties; Three Lower Counties Community Services facility serving Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties; and Tri State Community Health Center serving Allegheny and Washington counties. (Community Health Centers serving patients in Baltimore City enrolled through the Prudential managed care organization and coordinated through Johns Hopkins Medical Services Corporation include Baltimore Medical System and People's Community Health Center.)
Patients wishing to obtain more information about Priority Partners should call 1-800-654-9728.