Plan to add 375 jobs at Maryland hospitals gains approval

Program proposed in Sept. by Johns Hopkins Hospital, others

The Johns Hopkins Hospital and other hospitals in Maryland reached an agreement with a state regulatory board Wednesday that could lead to the creation of 375 new jobs, The Baltimore Sun reported today.

The new positions—expected to cost about $40,000 each, with an average pay of $15 an hour, according to The Sun—will be funded through a combination of money from hospital budgets and rate increases. They include community health workers who would connect people to health care and insurance counselors who would sign people up for coverage.

The program, designed to provide employment opportunities for residents of areas facing chronic poverty and high unemployment rates, is based on the Health Employment Program proposed in September by the Johns Hopkins Health System; MedStar Health; the University of Maryland Medical System; and OneBaltimore, a public-private initiative focused on recovery and systematic change for Baltimore. The original proposal called for creating 1,000 new jobs through a rate increase of $2.50 per $1,000 of health charges.

Since September, the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission had weighed the advantages and disadvantages of the proposal. The compromise, proposed by commissioner Thomas Mullen of Mercy Medical Center, calls for $10 million raised by rate increases—about $.60 per $1,000 in hospital charges, according to a Johns Hopkins Hospital spokesperson—and $5 million from hospital budgets.

"This is a very positive step forward in improving job availability and bringing stability to disadvantaged neighborhoods in Baltimore," said Stuart Erdman, assistant treasurer and senior director of finance for The Johns Hopkins Hospital, who testified before the commission in favor of the program. "Hospitals are one of the best industries that can help in this respect, and any hospital across the state can participate in this program to help their communities."

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