Creation of the Community Health Resources Commission (CHRC)
The Maryland Community Health Resources Commission (CHRC) was created by the Maryland General Assembly to expand access to health care for low-income Marylanders and underserved communities in the state and bolster Maryland’s health care safety net infrastructure. The General Assembly, in passing the Community Health Care Access and Safety Net Act of 2005 (HB 627/SB 775), envisioned the CHRC performing a unique role in terms of developing a statewide, comprehensive policy to strengthen Maryland’s network of safety net providers.
The CHRC has developed specific policy expertise with Maryland’s community health centers and other safety net providers and is positioned to assist these providers as the state implements health reform. In addition, the Commission has forged interdisciplinary, inter-agency relationships with DHMH, Maryland Health Care Commission, Health Services Cost Review Commission, local health departments, detention centers, and the judicial community, to develop and fund innovative projects that expand access to health care, reduce runaway health care costs, and improve the quality of care for vulnerable populations.
The following goals of the CHRC are articulated in its authorizing legislation:
1. Expand access to health care for low-income individuals and special populations;
2. Create interconnected, comprehensive systems of care in the community;
3. Develop partnerships among hospitals, local health departments, community health centers, and other safety net providers;
4. Create access to specialty care for safety net providers;
5. Reduce non-emergent and preventable visits to hospital Emergency Departments; and
6. Promote a common, HIT platform for safety net providers.
The roles and responsibilities of the CHRC have grown over the last few years in recognition of the Commission’s demonstrated track record in delivering resources in an efficient and strategic basis and in recognition of the critical role that community health resources are playing as Maryland implements the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The budget of the CHRC has increased in recent years, from $3 million to $8 million, as the Maryland General Assembly voted in 2012 to amend the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA), approving language that ensured the CHRC’s budget “shall be no less than” $8 million starting in FY 2014 and in perpetuity. The legislature also approved legislation during the 2014 session to re-authorize the Commission through June 2025. These actions by the Maryland General Assembly to increase the CHRC’s budget and re-authorize the Commission demonstrate strong continued legislative support of the work of the CHRC.
Work of the CHRC
For an overview of the CHRC's grantees by focus area as of June 1, 2014, CLICK HERE