A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Health Care Quality

Senate Passes Comprehensive Health Care Bill

Last week, the state Senate considered over 150 amendments proposed to their comprehensive health care cost control package, titled the HEALTH Act, for Health Empowerment and Affordability while Leveraging Transformative Health care (see our initial thoughts on the bill here). After spending two full days discussing and voting on amendments, the Senate approved the bill right at midnight on November 9. The final Senate bill, incorporating all the amendments, is expected to be numbered S. 2211, and so should be available online here. Read more »

A Road Map to Better Health Care: HCFA Comments on ACOs

Last week Health Care For All submitted comprehensive recommendations to MassHealth regarding their development of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). ACOs represent a new way to pay for and organize health care delivery, by bringing together doctors, hospitals and other health care providers who work to give coordinated, high quality care to their patients.  Read more »

New Report: Learn the Numbers and Meet the People Hurt by High Health Care Costs

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation just released a blockbuster report on the impact of high health costs on Massachusetts consumers. The stark conclusion should have strong policy implications: Read more »

Home Sweet Medical Home

A "Patient-Centered Medical Home" (PCMH) is not an institution or nursing home, but a primary care medical practice that offers coordinated, comprehensive care that is personal and focused on the patients' needs. PCMHs have the potential to both improve patient care and reduce costs. By engaging the patient at the center of his or her own care, a medical home can focus on improving overall health and wellness in partnership with the patient. At least that's the theory. But what practically is required of a medical home? Read more »

Breaking down barriers to care

One of the things we hear over and over is that people cannot afford their co-pays and deductibles. Momentum is building on legislation (H. 3976) to eliminate co-pays for some very high value treatments. Health Care For All activists and staff came together to lobby their state legislators on behalf of the “Barrier Free Care” Bill.  Fifteen activists plus HCFA staff members shared their stories and asked their legislators to work with committee members and leadership to make sure the bill gets passed.    Read more »

HCFA’s 2017-2018 Priority Legislation

With the launch of a new legislative session, we at HCFA are excited to announce a new legislative agenda that advocates for a more effective and consumer friendly health care system here in the Bay State. HCFA worked with a diverse group of legislators in both the House and Senate to file a broad package of legislation. You can see a 2-page brief summary of each of our priority bills here.  The proposed legislation includes the following proposals: Reduce Out-Of-Pocket Health Care Costs by eliminating cost-sharing for high-value services and drugs such as insulin, asthma inhalers, and... Read more »

Packed Crowd at MassHealth Listening Session on ACOs

The room - actually 3 rooms combined - was packed as MassHealth held its first listening session for its federal waiver application which includes its ACO proposal and much more. The session was held in conjunction with the regular meetings of two MassHealth advisory panels. Despite it being a late Friday afternoon before the first weekend of the summer, interest in the proposal was very high. Given the number of speakers, the session, which started at 2:30 was supposed to go to 4, dragged on until almost 5. A second session will be held in Fitchburg on Monday, June 27. Read more »

ACOs are an "opportunity to accelerate progress toward genuine patient-centered care delivery"

Earlier this month, Health Care for All actively contributed to the Health Policy Commission’s public hearing concerning their ACO (Accountable Care Organization) certification standards. ACOs provide coordinated care through their doctors, hospitals and other clinical and non-clinical staff, working together to improve the quality and affordability of care. HCFA representatives Steve Slaten, Valerie Spain, Brian Rosman, Alyssa Vangeli, and Helen Hendrickson testified at the hearing, offering consumer viewpoints on how to strengthen the proposed standards. Read more »

HPC Getting Set to Name Names?

On November 18th, the Health Policy Commission (HPC) Board met to discuss a number of new developments that relate to rising healthcare costs and quality improvement in the Commonwealth. The full slides from Wednesday’s presentations can be found here. The meeting started with a presentation from Executive Director David Seltz summarizing recent activities at the HPC. Mr. Seltz outlined recent successes from the CHART Investment Program – a program to improve hospital outcomes through an aggressive series of awards, coaching, and technical assistance. This month, eight new awards were... Read more »

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