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Let's All Talk About MassHealth-Innovations

Let's All Talk About MassHealth-Innovations

April 9, 2015

A huge crowd packed a MassHealth open meeting on Monday, April 6 to talk about fundamental reforms of the MassHealth program. There were seats for maybe 100 people at the DPH Council room, but some 200 people showed up, resulting in lot of folks standing, with some trailing down the hall outside the door, straining to hear. Inside, EOHHS Secretary Sudders and Assistant Secretary/MassHealth Director Tsai announced the beginning of a public discussion process on the challenges facing MassHealth, looking at restructuring how systems work and how care is paid for and delivered.

The slides from the presentation are posted here, and you should bookmark the new MassHealth site that we were told will be the hub for the ongoing reform discussion, www.mass.gov/hhs/masshealth-innovations.

After going over some background on the financial picture and opportunities for improvement, they listed the state's priorities and principles:

MassHealth principles for restructuring 4-6-15

The state speakers were open about the need for focused improvements, and broke up the discussion into four topics:

  • Member and provider experience
  • Payment reform
  • Integration of physical and behavioral health
  • Approaches for improving care/ sustainability for LTSS (long term services and supports)

 Audience members brought up other issues as well, with many comments focusing on how MassHealth can address social determinants of health such as housing and social supports, and better use community resources to combat poverty. A MassHealth member raised the issue of the program not providing a full dental benefit.

Tsai announced that MassHealth will be holding multiple sessions on the four topic areas, and then plans to synthesize comments and produce a timeline for public comments this summer. He warned that not everything would be able to be accomplished right away. He urged everyone to be engaged in what he called a "collaborative mindset." Stay tuned!

        - Brian Rosman