Today, I received a response to a letter that I sent to Senator Mikulski on March 1st regarding a grant application that Western Maryland Health System submitted on behalf of seven hospitals across Maryland. The application was submitted to the $1 Billion Health Care Innovation Challenge for a transitional care program to support the transition of inpatients to the home to ensure that they are supported and well managed in the home and, ultimately, kept out of the hospital for needless readmissions.
Initially, our application was not accepted due to a technical issue. Upon submission of the application, it was discovered that our existing registration number had expired. We immediately updated the registration and resubmitted the application. We thought that all was well but were later informed that we missed the filing deadline because of the expired registration number. We then appealed and were told that the Health and Human Services was not accepting appeals. We then contacted Medicare directly and were told again that they were not reviewing any appeals. Letters were then written and signed by the CEOs of the seven hospitals across Maryland to our Senators, Congressional Representatives, Governor O'Malley and Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Sharfstein.
After two months and no word other than an auto response from Medicare, we finally receive word on our application. On April 30, Senator Mikulski received a response from the Director of the Center for Medicare confirming that our application was rejected for that same technicality, since we did not meet the standard requirements specified on pages 17 - 23 of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).
Let's not consider these applications based on their merit, their creativity or their ability to be applied across an entire state, let's use the hard and fast criteria on pages 17 - 23 of the FOA. Gimme a break! I just love when bureaucrats indiscriminately apply rules for their convenience and not for the benefit of the people they serve. In our instance, the Center for Medicare and & Medicaid Innovation followed their criteria. I wonder if they did so for everyone who may have failed to follow the criteria on pages 17 -23 of the FOA? More to follow.