The Maryland Health Enterprise Zone Initiative Reduced Hospital Cost And Utilization In Underserved Communities

Darrell Gaskin, Roza Vazin, Rachael McCleary, Roland J Thorpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The State of Maryland implemented the Health Enterprise Zone Initiative in 2013 to improve access to health care and health outcomes in underserved communities and reduce health care costs and avoidable hospital admissions and readmissions. In each community the Health Enterprise Zone Initiative was a collaboration between the local health department or hospital and community-based organizations. The initiative was designed to attract primary care providers to underserved communities and support community efforts to improve health behaviors. It deployed community health workers and provided behavioral health care, dental services, health education, and school-based health services. We found that the initiative was associated with a reduction of 18,562 inpatient stays and an increase of 40,488 emergency department visits in the period 2013-16. The net cost savings from reduced inpatient stays far outweighed the initiative's cost to the state. Implementing such initiatives is a viable way to reduce inpatient admissions and reduce health care costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1546-1554
Number of pages9
JournalHealth affairs (Project Hope)
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018



  • Access To Care
  • Community Based Interventions
  • Disparities
  • Hospital Utilization
  • Social Determinants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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