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

Health Care Quality

T-Minus 2 Weeks For Payment Reform

A week ago we reminded our readers that just three weeks remained in the legislative session, with the comprehensive health delivery system reform and cost control bill hanging out in the conference committee. Well now there's just 2 weeks left. So we were dismayed yesterday to read in a Boston Globe editorial that “a conference committee is reportedly making little headway on resolving critical differences and arriving at compromise legislation.” Read more »

T-Minus 3 Weeks: All Eyes On Payment Reform Conference Committee. Here's Some Of Our Priorities.

Today marks three weeks until the final day of formal legislative sessions, July 31 of even-numbered years. On July 31, 2010, the legislature enacted a major health care bill. On July 31, 2008, the legislature enacted a major health reform bill (actually, that wasn't passed until a few minutes after midnight on August 1). See the pattern? Read more »

Some More Good Ideas In The House Payment Reform Amendment Pile

The House begins its debate on H. 4127, its revised payment reform proposal, on Tuesday afternoon. The Reps will go through the 275 amendments filed on the bill (see them all here). In our last post, we highlighted some amendments filed with the support of the Campaign For Better Care. We've looked through the whole list, and singled some other important amendments we urge House members to support. There's a lot of good ones in the pile, but here are some of them we picked out, in amendment number order: Read more »

MHQP and Consumer Reports Partner on Public Report

Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP) and Consumer Reports have teamed up in releasing issue MHQP’s latest report on patient experience in adult and pediatric primary care practices across the Commonwealth. Go to the MHQP website to see the two versions of the reports - one in Consumer Reports and one on the MHQP website. You can also download the Consumer Reports article, which will be included in magazines as an insert. The Consumer Reports article goes through every question in the survey and then lists all practices with ratings. MHQP also has its version of the same report,... Read more »

Senate Begins Payment Reform Debate - Some More Amendments To Watch

This afternoon the Senate begins its debate on comprehensive health payment and delivery system reform. Over the weekend, we blogged on a dozen amendments supported by Health Care For All and the Campaign For Better Care. There's lots of other interesting amendments among the 265 filed to the bill. Here are some we picked out, roughly in order of amendment number. Read more »

Substance Abuse Growing Among Older Adults

New data document a growing trend of substance abuse among older adults, for whom the most commonly reported trigger is depression or anxiety. Nearly half of respondents in a survey expressed preference toward prescription drugs and alcohol over other substances. Still, the number of older adults reporting recent illegal drug use nearly doubled in the five-year span from 2002 to 2007, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, which also reported a 77 percent increase in the use of nonmedical pharmaceuticals between 2002 and 2009, an average growth of 11 percent per... Read more »

Nominations Open for Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award

The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the relationship between patients and caregivers, is seeking nominations for its 2012 Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award. The award recognizes caregivers and teams of caregivers who demonstrate extraordinary compassion for patients and families. Nominees must be paid caregivers who work in a New England healthcare organization and have direct patient contact. Nominations may be made by patients or family members or by healthcare professionals who work with the nominee. The winner... Read more »

MHQP Releases New Quality Report

Mass Health Quality Partners today released its latest report on clinical quality of care provided by primary care medical groups (both adult and pediatric) across Massachusetts. Read more »

Quality and Cost Council Meets Wednesday

The Massachusetts Health Care Quality and Cost Council will hold its monthly meeting this Wednesday, March 21, 1:30-3:00pm, at the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, 2 Boylston Street, 5th floor, Daley Room. Meetings are open to the public. Agenda items include: proposed data updates to the My Health Care Options website, update on the All Payer Claims Database, an update from the Statewide Quality Advisory Committee, and updates on the Ad Hoc Committee for the QCC Scorecard.-Deb Wachenheim Read more »

Patient Safety Week 2012: Collect, Inspect, Connect, Correct: Some Simple Steps for Safety’s Sake

<today's guest blog for Patient Safety Awareness Week is by Lisa Fenichel, MPH, a healthcare advocate and educator. Lisa sits on the Massachusetts Health Information Technology Council and is a member of the Washington, DC-based Consumer Partnership for eHealth. She can be reached at kratfen@verizon.net. Inspired by the elegant simplicity and undeniable utility of Dr. Atul Gawande’s checklist for improving surgical safety, I decided that I should focus this blog for Patient Safety Week on something similarly concrete, useful, and achievable.  Something that patients themselves can do... Read more »

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