A Healthy Blog

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

Health Care Cost Control

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 »

Health Policy Commission's Delivery Reform Committee Gets To Work

Today, the Health Policy Commission’s subcommittee on Care Delivery and Payment System Reform met for the first time.  Present at the meeting were David Cutler, Marylou Sudders, Jean Yang, Carole Allen (by telephone), and David Seltz.  Wendy Everett was present as a guest.  Sudders facilitated the meeting. The first order of business was to elect a Subcommittee chair.  Allen was nominated and unanimously approved.  Sudders continued to facilitate the meeting since Allen could not be physically present.  Sudders noted the five overarching responsibilities of the subcommittee: Read more »

Budget FY 2014, Round 1: House 1

Governor Patrick released his Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposal today, which continues this administration’s strong commitment to ensuring access to affordable, quality health care for everyone in Massachusetts. Budgets have both a revenue side and a spending side. This budget uses both to improve the health of the Commonwealth and reduce health spending growth. Read more »

Health Policy Commission Begins to Begin

The Health Policy Commission convened for the third time yesterday (1/16/13), in a packed room atop 1 Ashburton. The Commission is still mainly in the getting-up-and-running-stage, and discussion focused mostly on the Board’s responsibility to regulate the maximum cost growth level for health care costs in the Commonwealth. Executive Director David Seltz is still the sole staffer, alone in an office suit, and he only figured out his phone number a day earlier. But their Twitter account is up, at @Mass_HPC. The place will be jumping soon. Materials from the meeting are here, and our full... Read more »

Wellness Plan Tax Break Advances

The Public Health Council at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health today voted in favor of an emergency regulation to enact a tax credit incentive for small businesses which create wellness plans for their employees. In encouraging preventative health measures within the workplace, the initiative promises savings to premiums, overall savings in costs, as well as “softer” savings in areas such as motivation and productivity. Read more »

HCFA Looks Ahead to 2013

Happy New Year from all of HCFA (see our staff picture above)! The year 2013 will be a critical year for health care in Massachusetts. State government will be making numerous decisions that will directly impact the availability, cost and quality of the care that everyone depends on. Health Care For All will be there, making the sure the voices of consumers and patients are heard on Beacon Hill, and throughout the state. Among the key issues we anticipate focusing on for 2013 are: Read more »

HPC Meets: Reality Hits The Fan; and 11 Upvotes for @Seltzy

Yesterday the Health Policy Commission (HPC) held its second meeting. While its initial meeting was all about the promise of health care cost control and quality improvement, at this meeting the enormity of the work ahead for them became apparent. Chapter 224, the health delivery system reform and cost containment law, heaped loads of responsibility on this new entity. With just one staffer (David Seltz, unanimously approved as Executive Director) and early deadlines, the work begins in earnest. Materials from the meeting may be viewed here, and our detailed report is just a click away. Read more »

LA Times Looks At Global Payments in MA

Outsiders can often see you with better perspective than people close to you. At least smart outsiders who know what they're talking about. That's often the feeling I get when I read coverage of Massachusetts health developments from out-of-state sources. Today's exhibit is a well done article in the LA Times by Noam Levey. The online headline is "A shift in how healthcare is paid for," with this kicker: In Massachusetts, thousands of physicians receive more pay if their patients stay healthy and avoid costly medical care. It could become a national template. The story has good detail and... Read more »

Thanks, Secretary Bigby (and Congratulations, Glen)

Tonight news broke that Governor Patrick's Secretary of Health and Human Service, Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, is leaving the Patrick administration. Dr. Bigby signed up the very first day (here's our post from December, 2006), and we thank her profoundly for her service. Read more »

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