Former Maryland Health Secretary Joshua Sharfstein is set to head an important state-wide board that oversees hospital rates starting next month, but the change doesn’t come without some controversy.

Sharfstein, who headed the Maryland Department of Health under Gov. Martin O’Malley, will chair the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission.

The organization sets hospital rates across the state in an attempt to improve care and reduce the growth of healthcare spending.

In a statement to WYPR, Sharfstein said he is looking forward to the new role after his appointment by Governor Wes Moore.

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Sharfstein takes over the position from current chair Adam Kane.

There are some questions over the nomination, though. Maryland law states that three commissioners on the board cannot have connections with the management or policy of any medical facility.

Sharfstein is currently the vice dean at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

One other nominee to the commission, Nicki McCann, is the vice president of provider/payer transformation at the Johns Hopkins Health System.

Two other current commissioners also have connections. Maulik Joshi is the president and CEO of Meritus Health and James Elliot is a doctor at Luminis Health.

Gov. Wes Moore’s office has signaled that it does not intend to change its nomination choices and that Sharfstein and McCann meet the requirements set by law.

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