A Healthy Blog

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

Health Care Cost Control

Why Can't Copays and Deductibles Be Smart? Barrier-Free Care Bill Hearing Report

HCFA consumer testify before Public Health Committee 10-1-13 Read more »

Too Much Ongoing At Once Edition (plus a funny video at the end)

October 1 was full up in HCFAland. At the State House, the Public Health Committee held a hearing on a number of bills dealing with prescription drugs and related topics. HCFA advocated forcefully for restricting prescription drug marketing that interferes with the doctor-patient relationship. A number of consumers also joined us in testifying in support of our bill to "remove barriers to cost-effective care." The bill, H. 2084, would eliminate co-pays and deductibles for cost-effective prescription medications and treatments in order to increase adherence, and help patients avoid further... Read more »

Health Policy Commission talks CHART program, Patient Centered Medical Homes and Health Care Costs

The Health Policy Commission (HPC) met on Wednesday, September 11th for its eighth full meeting. As noted by the HPC, the theme of this particular meeting was twofold, to highlight how far the Commission has come and discuss how far it has left to travel moving into 2014. This theme was evident in the topics on the agenda: the Community Hospital Acceleration, Revitalization, and Transformation (CHART) investment program (formerly the Distressed Hospital Fund), the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) program, quality improvement and patient protection and cost trends and market performance.... Read more »

All Your Base Rates Are Belong To Us: Springfield Republican Reports on Premiums Under Obamacare

Yesterday, a story by Shira Schoenberg in the Springfield Republican  covered the just-approved health insurance rates for next year: Read more »

Health Policy Commission Looks At Grant Program

The Health Policy Commission met on Thursday July 25th for its seventh full meeting. The Commission is moving ahead with important work set to occur in the fall, which will include awarding grants to support hospital investment and conducting the annual Cost Trends hearing. Read on for a full report of the meeting’s happenings. Read more »

Patient Awareness of Overuse Part of Solution

Giving a child with a bad cough or an adult with sinusitis an antibiotic, getting a CT scan or MRI for low back pain, having a Pap test done every year…these are all examples of tests or treatments that are over-used and about which patients should have conversations with their providers before they are done. We  all know that some tests and treatments, when done unnecessarily, can lead to further anxiety or harm. So how do we address this issue? Patients need to be educated, sure. But so do physicians and hospitals, who order the inappropriate tests and procedures. And because economic... Read more »

Health Policy Commission Report: April 24 Meeting

The Health Policy Commission met on Wednesday, April 24, addressing a packed agenda. All the materials were just posted, here, so we can present our full report, after the break. Read more »

Health Policy Commission Starts Doing Stuff

The Health Policy Commission met on Tuesday, March 12.  The Commission began diving into the substance, approving regulations and guidance documents on several fronts. Meeting materials available here (pdf), and our complete report is after the break. Read more »

DVR Alert: "Escape Fire" - Searing Documentary on Our Failed Health Care System

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/27450676] Must see TV: The award-winning documentary Escape Fire will be broadcast on CNN this Sunday. The movie will air on Sunday night March 10th at 8:00pm on CNN. It will re-air at 11pm ET and again on March 16th. Set your DVR. From the producers: Read more »

Mass Receives Federal Innovation Grant To Advance Payment Reform

The federal CMS announced today that Massachusetts is one of 6 states awarded a State Innovation Models initiative grant (press release, and grant information). The Massachusetts award is for a not shabby $44 million. Read more »

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