Maryland Health Care Commission

Find more information on medical homes through the Maryland Health Care Commission.

In past generations, it wasn’t unusual for a family doctor to make a house call, perform a broad range of medical services and offer emotional as well as clinical support. While the traditional house call may be a thing of the past, patients today are taking advantage of a return to cooperative hands-on care in the form of patient-centered medical homes, including many in Maryland. Data shows that this care model is not only lowering costs but also improving care.

In a growing number of medical homes, doctors, nurses, care managers and medical assistants work together to help patients manage their care among different facilities, coordinate referrals to specialists and help track health outcomes. Rather than wait until he or she needs emergency care, the patient receives consistent preventative care from a familiar team of practitioners and builds a “long-term healing relationship,” according to the Maryland Health Care Commission.

Medical homes are one of the fastest growing trends in the healthcare industry. In the last six years, the number of certified medical homes nationwide has exploded, from 20 in 2008 to 6,800 today. As of January 2014, Maryland has 58 home health centers, most of which are located in areas with a large number of Medicaid patients, according to Heather DeCarlo, a health IT expert at RxNT in Annapolis.

Thanks in part to funding from the Affordable Care Act, medical home practitioners are now assisted by new forms of information technology, including electronic medical records. The ACA has also fundamentally changed how the country pays for healthcare, DeCarlo said.

Medical facilities are moving away from fee-for-service payments, which encourage more and oftentimes unnecessary medical procedures, to models that encourage cost efficiencies and improved medical outcomes, according to DeCarlo. The ACA incentivizes providers who can prove that they are bringing more services under the healthcare umbrella, like patient education and care coordination, and medical homes support this new team-based model, she said.

State officials have already found promising results among Maryland medical homes.

In 2011, through the MHCC, the Maryland Multi-Payer Patient Centered Medical Home Program began a three-year pilot study to test the medical homes care model. The study included 53 primary and multi-specialty practices throughout the State.

By the second year of the study, nearly half of the practices generated savings and overall care quality increased by approximately 10 percent, according to the MHCC.

CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, Maryland is one of the State’s success stories. Through the use of medical homes, patients’ overall health care costs have been reduced by 4 percent, leading to an estimated cost savings of $40 million in 2011, according to the MHCC.

The MHCC concluded, “Physicians who practice in medical homes anecdotally report much greater satisfaction with their work than in a traditional practice; and investing in comprehensive medical home care has improved quality and reduced total cost to the system because of better care and coordination.”

The Maryland Venture Fund has invested $100,000 in Bethesda-based BioDatomics, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development announced Tuesday.

BioDatomics is revolutionizing genomic research through bioinformatics analysis software and services. The company’s flagship product BioDT reduces turnaround times for analysis of genomic data from days or weeks to mere hours.

“The Maryland Venture Fund is a regionally recognized investment leader able to provide us with significant value beyond its financial investment,” Alan Taffel, president of BioDatomics, said in a statement. “As the need for faster, more intuitive data analysis platforms grows, this commitment serves as a testament to the strength of our technology and market strategy.”

DBED Secretary Dominick Murray said he is looking forward to BioDatomics’ expansion in Maryland and reaffirmed the state’s commitment to entrepreneurship.

“BioDatomics operates at the intersection of two of Maryland’s fastest-growing sectors—biotechnology and big data. We are proud to make this investment in BioDatomics and look forward to their growth and success in Maryland,” Secretary Murray said in a statement. “Supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses in high-tech, high-growth fields is critical to the success of our economy and State. Companies like BioDatomics are facilitating the development of cutting-edge medicines, vaccines and technologies that keep us safer, healthier and better-connected than ever before.”

Find additional information on the Maryland Venture Fund and BioDatomics in the full announcement through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

Charles County Economic Development

The Charles County Department of Economic Development is focused on growth.

MDBIZ News plans to feature every Maryland county in its weekly “Building your Maryland business” series. If you are a representative of a county economic development group, please contact the editor, Emily Pope, at epope@choosemaryland.org

Charles County, Maryland is rapidly growing, and business owners and investors are taking notice.

Located in Southern Maryland in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Charles County borders five Virginia counties and three Maryland counties. Part of the county’s appeal is its central interstate placement, close to the nation’s capital, according to Director of Economic Development Kwasi Holman. The region offers a large and affluent consumer market and easy access to federal agencies and resources.

But the county’s past and continued successes run deeper than its proximity to the District. According to Holman, “Charles County is the D.C. metro area’s best-kept secret for business, offering a highly strategic location; flexible, affordable and attractive real estate options; and an ample talented workforce.”

U.S. Census and survey data show that Charles County has the lowest commercial vacancy rate and cost per square foot in the D.C. metro area, one of the most culturally diverse jurisdictions in the State, one of the highest median household incomes in the State at $91,801 and one of the highest rates of new residents moving into the county from elsewhere in Maryland.

A number of thriving companies already call Charles County home, among them the Community Bank of the Chesapeake, The Wills Group, Facchina Construction Company, OutsourceIT, Zekiah Technologies, Naval Support Facility Indian Head, SAIC and the Energetics Technology Center.

Charles County is also welcoming new development and programs.

Southern Maryland’s second solar farm, the Rockfish Solar Facility, will be developed by juwi solar Inc. in Charles County for the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative and is scheduled for commercial operation as early as the end of 2014.

The St. Charles Energy Center, a natural gas-fired power plant will also be developed in Charles County by Competitive Power Ventures, with construction beginning this year. Between 350 and 400 jobs will be created during construction, in addition to 30 permanent high paying jobs to operate the facility upon completion.

Charles County’s newly launched business visitation program is aimed at helping companies investigate their business options within the county’s borders. Ten office, industrial and technology parks also help provide a soft landing for new startups.

Looking for more reasons to build your business in Maryland’s Charles County? Visit the Charles County Department of Economic Development here.

LuminalCybersecurity startup Luminal has moved its headquarters to Maryland and plans to expand, thanks in part to a State investment, Governor Martin O’Malley announced Monday.

The InvestMaryland program, one of Governor O’Malley’s key economic development initiatives administered by the State’s Maryland Venture Fund, has awarded Luminal a $600,000 investment.

Previously based in West Virginia, Luminal recently moved to Frederick, Maryland. The company’s flagship product is Fugue, which brings control and security to cloud computing. The investment is part of a $3.8 million fundraising round Luminal will use to grow its engineering staff, continue product development and expand its customer base.

“The current model for computing is broken, and bad actors are racing far ahead of available defenses,” Josh Stella, CEO of Luminal and previously a principal solutions architect at Amazon Web Services, said in a statement. “We’re taking advantage of the nature of cloud computing to deliver native security, declarative control, and operational simplicity previously unattainable.”

Following its move to Maryland, Luminal became one of the first companies in the State to apply for the Cybersecurity Investment Incentive Tax Credit. It was also recently named one of the top three finalists in the cybersecurity category of the InvestMaryland Challenge, an early-stage business competition offering $100,000 grand prize grants and a host of other awards and business services. The winners will be announced in May.

Governor O’Malley said he welcomes Luminal to Maryland’s growing cybersecurity community.

“Investing in young, high-tech companies is a critical piece of Maryland’s strategy to strengthen and expand our Innovation Economy, grow family-sustaining jobs, and support the development of technologies that keep us safer, healthier and better connected than ever before,” Governor O’Malley said in a statement. “We are proud to make this investment in Luminal and to have them in our State. Maryland is the epicenter of cybersecurity and we look forward to Luminal playing a significant and growing role in that community.”

Find additional information on the InvestMaryland program and other business resources through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

Catch up on the latest Maryland business news:

A growing number of cybersecurity companies, from startups to industry trailblazers, are choosing to build their brands in Maryland.

Jeffrey Wells, Executive Director of Cyber Development with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, explains why in the above video.

Wells cites a number of unique benefits to launching a cybersecurity company within Maryland’s borders, including the following:

  • Advanced technology
  • Research facilities
  • Federal agencies and military commands
  • Academic institutions
  • Trained workforce

Financial assistance is also available through the Cybersecurity Investment Incentive Tax Credit and other State and federal incentives.

For more information on the State’s efforts to stimulate the cybersecurity industry, visit CyberMaryland.

Maryland welcomed spring with an additional 2,300 jobs in March.

Governor Martin O’Malley announced the positive monthly jobs report Friday morning and praised the State’s ongoing recovery efforts.

“With better choices, come better results. Maryland continues to show strong growth and resilience, with our private sector leading the way by creating 10,900 jobs over the past 12 months, or nearly eight out of ten new jobs. March marks yet another month of solid gains for our economy,” Governor O’Malley said in a statement. “Every choice we make is about creating jobs, expanding opportunity and strengthening Maryland’s middle class. The most important job we create is the next one.”

Maryland’s March unemployment rate has been calculated at 5.6 percent, matching February’s revised unemployment rate. Unemployment has reached its lowest level since November 2008.

Total job gains in March included 1,800 additional jobs added in the private sector. The top industry subsectors to add jobs included retail trade, adding 2,200; administrative and support services, adding 900; and professional, scientific and technical services, adding 100.

When compared to March 2013, Maryland has added 14,000 jobs and gained jobs in nine of the last 12 months, according to the federal Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Find a detailed report on the State’s employment through the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

InvestMaryland Challenge Finale

The InvestMaryland Challenge will conclude May 19 at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

For months, competitors in the 2014 InvestMaryland Challenge have fine-tuned their business plans, developed growth goals and presented before judges. Their quest will conclude during the challenge’s finale on May 19 at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development‘s second annual early-stage business competition will award $100,000 grand prizes to businesses in four categories, including information technology hardware and software, life sciences, cybersecurity and general industry. All challenge competitors are also eligible for more than $300,000 in grants, software, lab and incubator space and other prizes.

The finale will feature Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and DBED Secretary Dominick Murray as they celebrate the State’s startup ecosystem. A reception, remarks from public officials and the presentation of awards will be followed by an opportunity to explore the aquarium.

Grand prizes winners will be selected from among 12 remaining finalists, announced in March, including:

IT Hardware and Software

Life Sciences

General Industry

Cybersecurity

Challenge applicants, judges, partners, sponsors and public officials will be admitted free but must register online. The general public may purchase tickets for $25 and exhibit tables are available for $300.

See the Eventbrite invitation for additional details and registration information.

Maryland Pew

The Pew Charitable Trusts analyzes state public policy.

Economic development incentive programs can play a major role in energizing a state’s business climate, but how the results of those programs compare remains largely unknown.

In an effort to measure the effectiveness of these programs, The Pew Charitable Trusts and The Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness—both nationally recognized non-profit, non-partisan organizations—recently launched the Business Incentives Initiative. Maryland is among just seven states selected to participate in the program.

Nancy McCrea, Director of Research at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, led the State’s application process for the initiative and will manage Maryland’s contribution to the groundbreaking new partnership.

“We especially welcome the opportunity to work with other states and national experts in the field to identify areas where evaluation can be improved. We’re interested in how other states have improved reporting requirements to make them more consistent across programs and what tools they have used to collect performance information,” McCrea said.

“Essentially, the program is offering us consulting services for our work in developing better incentive evaluation procedures,” she added.

McCrea will join representatives of Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Virginia at a kickoff event May 7-8 at Pew’s Washington, D.C. offices.

According to Pew, the Business Incentives Initiative has three main goals:

  • Identify effective ways to manage and assess economic development incentive policies and practices.
  • Improve data collection and reporting on incentive investments.
  • Develop national standards and best practices that states can use to successfully gather and report data on economic development incentives.

Ultimately, the initiative hopes to assist states in supporting incentive programs with the biggest positive impact, according to Jeff Chapman, Manager of the Economic Development Tax Incentives Project at Pew.

In an interview with the Bloomberg BNA SALT Blog, Chapman said, ”We will be working intensively with the seven selected states to develop and implement tailored solutions to the challenges they face in this arena. In addition, there will be a heavy focus on cross-state dialogue throughout the initiative. This work will pave the way for the development of a set of best practices that can be put to use by states around the country.”

Find additional information on Maryland’s business incentive programs through DBED and information on the Business Incentives Initiative through Pew.

GoWaiter.comSatisfying a craving from your favorite restaurant likely involves a drive, a parking spot, a table and a server.

But an innovative new franchise, GoWaiter of Waldorf, hopes to streamline that process, bringing food directly to customers’ homes from restaurants that do not ordinarily offer their own delivery service.

GoWaiter of Waldorf in Charles County is now slated for expansion thanks to a $100,000 State-sponsored loan to Bell Enterprises, LLC. The loan was made possible through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development‘s (DBED) Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA) and Military Personnel and Veteran-Owned Small Business No-Interest Loan Program (MPVSBLP), DBED announced on Tuesday.

Kristen Bell founded GoWaiter of Waldorf in 2012 and is owner, president and CEO of Bell Enterprises, LLC. Her husband, Christopher Bell, is Bell Enterprises’ chief information officer.

The husband and wife team trace their work history back to the United States Air Force. Kristen Bell served 11 years of active duty and is now a service-disabled veteran who works as an intelligence analyst. Christopher Bell is also a veteran who works as an information systems security manager.

According to Kristen Bell, the $100,000 loan will open up new opportunities for their young Maryland business.

“These programs are very valuable assets to small businesses owners, especially veterans, and could mean the difference between a company expanding or not staying in business,” Bell said in a statement.

“Oftentimes as a veteran, you may not have the money to start up or expand a business. This money will help us reach a larger customer base, as well as potentially grow in Maryland,” she said.

DBED Secretary Dominick Murray praised the loan program and its potential to assist entrepreneurial veterans.

“DBED was pleased to assist this promising veteran-owned company with their expansion in Southern Maryland,” Secretary Murray said in a statement.

“Maryland has an outstanding climate for entrepreneurs, including programs and resources that help propel a company from early stage to high growth. We look forward to working with more companies like GoWaiter of Waldorf to ensure their success and continued growth in our State,” he said.

Maryland DBED and the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs offer a variety of programs to assist Maryland military veterans. Find additional information on their websites and a link to DBED’s full loan announcement here.

Worcester County Economic Development

Worcester County asks, “Why not make your vacation address your business address?” Photo courtesy of Worcester County Economic Development.

MDBIZ News plans to feature every Maryland county in its weekly “Building your Maryland business” series. If you are a representative of a county economic development group, please contact the editor, Emily Pope, at epope@choosemaryland.org

Imagine your beachside vacation home is just a stone’s throw from the company office. This “best of both worlds” lifestyle is a reality for many business owners in Worcester County, and county officials say it’s one of many reasons to investigate living and working in the area.

Worcester County, Maryland’s easternmost county, includes the State’s entire Atlantic coast. While it is overwhelmingly rural, it contains Ocean City, which becomes the State’s second most populated urban area during summer months.

“Because so many Marylanders are already familiar with Ocean City and own real estate here, one of our goals is to help entrepreneurs and employers build or relocate their businesses throughout the county,” said Worcester County Economic Development Director William Badger, Jr.

According to Badger, Worcester County’s family-friendly living conditions, central location, enterprise zones and easy access to funding and assistance are major draws for economic activity.

From bustling Ocean City to picturesque Berlin (recently voted America’s coolest small town), Worcester County offers a variety of cultural attractions, affordable housing and the second lowest property tax rate in the State, Badger said. The county also features the highest concentration of Maryland Blue Ribbon School of Excellence awards, with nine out of 12 eligible public schools honored.

The county provides a central location between three major economic centers. Within roughly two and a half hours, one can drive from Worcester County to Baltimore City, Washington, D.C. or Philadelphia.

Maryland Enterprise zones in Snow Hill, Pokomoke City and Berlin are working to foster economic activity through income tax credits. The entire county is also a Historically Underutilized Business Zones, which means businesses can gain preferential access to federal contracts. New startups are also welcome at the Worcester County Small Business Incubator, located in Pocomoke City, with low cost rent and mentoring from experts available.

Recently, Worcester County small businesses have also taken advantage of low interest VOLT Fund loans, the State-sponsored Video Lottery Terminal, Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Loan Fund. The loan program is funded through profits earned by Maryland casinos, with 50 percent of the funding allocated toward small, minority and women-owned businesses within 10 miles of a Maryland casino. The program includes Ocean Downs in Berlin.

Looking for more reasons to build your business in Maryland’s Worcester County? Visit Worcester County Economic Development here.

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