A Healthy Blog

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

Health Care Quality

Conversations About End-of-Life Care

Having discussions about care that someone would or would not want in the final stages of his or her life is difficult and emotional for all involved, including the individual, loved ones, health care providers, and others. But it is something that needs to be done, ideally before someone is at the point of not being able to express his or her wishes. A one-hour free webinar today hosted by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement will feature discussions about how people can broach these conversations. The webinar is titled “Have you had “The Conversation”? Helping Loved Ones Discuss End-... Read more »

Some More Good Stuff From MMPI

Kate Nordahl and the Mass Medicaid Policy Institute keep churning out more good stuff. Next up are two timely papers: Read more »

Quality and Cost Council Meets Wednesday

The Health Care Quality and Cost Council is meeting January 18, 1-3 pm, at 1 Ashburton Place, 21st floor, Boston. Meetings are open to the public. Agenda (pdf) items include follow-up from last month’s QCC annual meeting, including looking at enhancements to MyHealthCareOptions and improving quality measures. The Expert Panel on Performance Measurement will give a recommendation to the Council regarding public reporting of hospital readmissions.-Deb Wachenheim Read more »

Opening Doctors’ Notes to Patients

Tuesday’s NY Times reported on a research project called Open Notes, spearheaded by providers and researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which looks at the impact of encouraging patients to view their outpatient medical records (doctors’ notes and all). Providers and patients in three locations (Boston, rural Pennsylvania, and Seattle) were asked to participate in a one-year study, starting in the summer of 2010, during which patients would have electronic access to their full medical records and would be encouraged to view them. Before Open Notes began, the researchers looked... Read more »

Serious Reportable Events Report On-Line

The MA Department of Public Health has issued its most recent reports on the occurrence of Serious Reportable Events (SREs) in Massachusetts hospitals. Health Care For All and the Consumer Health Quality Council advocated for the law requiring public reports on SREs and Healthcare-Associated Infections (due to come out soon). We commend DPH, and particularly the dedicated staff at the Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality, for its hard work compiling the data and publishing the reports, especially considering the budget cuts the department has endured the past few years. Read more »

Public Hearings on Duals Initiative - First Hearing Friday, in Worcester

We want to remind everyone of the listening sessions on the state's proposal to provide integrated care for disabled adults who receive both Medicare and Medicaid. The first session is this Friday, Dec. 16, 1 pm at the Worcester Public Library. You can distribute this flyer (pdf), prepared by Disability Advocates Advancing our Healthcare Rights. The flyer invites people to raise a number of issues critical to the DAAHR coalition: Read more »

Must Reading: Berwick's Reply

In a talk at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement annual forum this week, Don Berwick encapsulated his wisdom of how health care change can happen, his rage at the politics and cynicism that accompanied his work at CMS, and his optimism for a more humane and efficient health care system. I'd strongly urge everyone to read the entire speech. It's so hard to pick out the highlights, but here are some excerpts: Read more »

State Releases Draft Duals Proposal

The process for improving care for disabled adults in Massachusetts took a step forward yesterday, as EOHHS and the Office of Medicaid released their proposal to the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Entitled “State Demonstration to Integrate Care for Dual Eligible Individuals” it seeks to fully integrate the delivery and financing of Medicare and Medicaid services for dual eligible disabled adults who are between the ages of 21 to 64. Detailed information is on the state's duals website: mass.gov/masshealth/duals. Some key points in the proposal are: Read more »

Quality and Cost Council Annual Meeting

The MA Health Care Quality and Cost Council is holding its annual meeting on Friday, December 16, 8:30-12:00 (program starts at 9:00) in Shrewsbury. Click here for more information and to register. The featured speaker is Jeff Selberg, Executive Vice President and COO at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. The meeting’s focus will be on “value based purchasing in health care.” The meeting is open to all members of the public.-Deb Wachenheim Read more »

Thank You Dr. Berwick

Notes of gratitude for the service of Don Berwick are pouring out in the health care world. Dr. Berwick, former head of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services until last Friday, is a long-time friend of Health Care For All and helped advise our Consumer Health Quality Council. John McDonough's appreciation, Why Berwick Matters, provides a good overview of his singular role in promoting a patient-centered health care system. Dr. Berwick is one of the foremost experts on patient safety and quality improvement in health care... Read more »


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