Dorchester County Health Department

3 Cedar Street | Cambridge, MD 21613 | 410-228-3223; Fax 410-228-9319 | Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Health Enterprise Zones (HEZs)
 
 
Jointly administered by the Community Health Resources Commission (CHRC) and Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), the HEZ Initiative is a four-year pilot program with a budget of $4 million per year.
 
The Purposes of the HEZ Initiative are to:
  1. Reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic minority populations and among geographic areas;
  2. Improve health care access and health outcomes in underserved communities; and
  3. Reduce health care costs and hospital admissions and re-admissions.

To receive designation as an HEZ, community coalitions identified contiguous geographic areas with measurable and documented economic disadvantage and poor health outcomes and proposed a creative plan for targeted investments in community health.

HEZ Enacting Legislation 

Chapter 3 (Senate Bill 234) of 2012 established a process whereby the Secretary of the DHMH, in collaboration with the CHRC, designates HEZs. The purpose of establishing these zones is to target State resources to reduce health disparities, improve health outcomes, and reduce health costs and hospital admissions and incentives to "HEZ Practitioners" who practice in a zone

HEZ Requirements 

For an HEZ to be designated by the Secretary, a non-profit community-based organization or local health department must apply to DHMH and CHRC with a comprehensive plan to address disparities in a defined geographic area. The bill contains several possible incentives that can be utilized to address disparities within the HEZ including:

  • Loan assistance repayment;
  • income tax credits;
  • Priority to enter the Maryland Patient Centered Medical Home Program;
  • Grant funding from CHRC; and
  • Priority for receiving funds for establishing an electronic health records program.

The bill also requires the Maryland Health Care Commission to establish and incorporate a standard set of measures regarding racial and ethnic variations in quality and outcomes and track health insurance carriers' and hospitals' efforts to combat disparities. In addition, state institutions of higher education that train health care professionals will be required to report to the Governor and General Assembly on their actions aimed at reducing health care disparities.

 

For more information contact Terri Hughes at 410-901-8160 or at terri.hughes@maryland.gov 

All information is from DHMH.maryland.gov/HEZ

 




3 Cedar Street | Cambridge, MD 21613 | 410-228-3223; Fax 410 228-9319 | Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

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