Improving Rural Health Care Delivery in Maryland's Mid-Shore Region

The Maryland Health Care Commission contracted with the University of Maryland's School of Public Health and the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis to conduct a a mixed-methods study to document county resident health and health care needs/challenges and identify those most in need of improvement, describe existing county specific (and regional) capacity to address/support these needs, and propose options for enhancing health and health care delivery in the five counties of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The study is mandated by Senate Bill 707 Freestanding Medical Facilities Certificate of Need, Rates and Definition to support the Maryland Rural Health Care Work Group.

NORC's role was to develop models/options for Maryland's mid-shore and other rural communities. NORC looked nationally for innovative health care delivery models, with a focus on models that would be effective in rural areas as well as ones that could leverage existing payment innovations already underway in Maryland. NORC, along with the University of Maryland's School of Public Health, assessed resident and county health needs and assets as well as solutions and emerging models to make recommendations about potential policy options.

The Maryland Health Care Commission, as well as the Work Group, will use the findings to inform next steps for the region. NORC and UMD produced a final report which provides the template for health and health care assessment for use in other rural regions in the state as well as the mid-shore. The study findings will also impact future policy discussions in Maryland.