Payment Reform In Massachusetts Moves Forward

This month, researchers from the RAND Corporation presented a policy brief, Controlling Health Care Spending in Massachusetts, to the state’s Health Care Quality And Cost Council (HCQCC).  Massachusetts’  Division of Health Care Finance and Policy commissioned RAND to develop a menu of potential cost containment strategies. The report provides analysis of 12 possible interventions that the researchers conclude have the most promise to cut spending in Massachusetts. More than 75 broad approaches were initially considered.

Five of the top six approaches in the RAND report deal with health care payment and are consistent with the recommendation by the state’s Special Commission on the Health Care Payment Reform to move away from a predominantly fee-for-service system. Included are a recommendation and several scenarios around implementing bundled payments as a way to incentivize  better coordinated care. The model looks at bundled payments for certain hospital conditions for adults aged 18- 64. Also included in the model are major changes in payments to Academic Medical Centers, expanded Health Information Technology, and reduction of resource use at end of life.

The HCQCC is expected to begin looking at various timelines for implementing these recommendations in September.

CMS Releases Case Mix Analysis

CMS recently posted to its website a Final Report prepared by Abt Associates titled “Analysis of 2006 – 2007 Home Health Case-Mix Change.” The report is dated August 20, 2009.

According to the Report, the average case-mix score of Medicare home health patients increased by 15.03 percent between 2000 and 2007, of which 13.56 percent is atributable to “case mix creep,” according to Abt’s analysis.

NY Times: Daschle Advises on Reform, Supports Home Health

A New York Times article from August 22 highlights how former Senator and Health Secretary nominee Tom Daschle is still sought after for advice on health reform.

The story mentions Daschle’s support of the home health industry as a cost-effective service where funding should be increased and not cut.

Click here to read the NY Times article, which also briefly notes Daschle’s advice to NAHC (National Association for Home Care & Hospice) on how home health should be part of the solution of health reform.

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CORI Information Q and A: September 2nd

For Home Care Alliance members with questions or concerns regarding CORI processing delays, the state’s Executive Office of Health an Human Services will be holding a conference call with a question and answer session from 3:00 – 4:30pm on Wednesday, September 2.

To register for the session, email “” and a response will ensue with instructions on how to join the call. EOHHS posted a flier with more information on the session, which can be viewed by clicking here. The flier also has a link to the Health and Human Services website where CORI policies and other useful documents are posted.

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Alliance, MassAging Send Letter to Health IT Council

The Home Care Alliance of MA and MassAging sent a joint letter to the Health IT Council and State Senator Richard Moore in an effort to ensure that the benefits of a “health information exchange extend to patients receiving home health and other long-term care services.”

The letter, which can be viewed by clicking here, notes that patients in home health and long-term care settings tend to have multiple health issues and frequently transition between providers.  The letter states that for this reason, among others, home health and long term care patients would benefit greatly from an electronic health information exchange.

To learn more about the state’s efforts on electronic medical records and other e-health initiatives, visit the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s website by clicking here.

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Boston Globe Op-Ed: Latest Myth on Health Reform

The Boston Globe published an Op-Ed on what columnist Renee Loth writes is the latest myth of health care reform. Loth explains that the latest target for critics is shaping up to be an idea that reform will force taxpayers to subsidize abortion.

Loth writes:

The bills filed in various congressional committees are officially neutral on the question, neither requiring nor forbidding private insurance plans to offer abortion services. Isn’t that what the noisy critics of a “government takeover’’ of health care supposedly want: A free-market system that lets the consumer decide?

To read the full Op-Ed, click here.

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A Guide to Comparing Three Health Care Bills

With so many pieces of legislation to keep track of and so many interests giving their thoughts and opinions on each, health care reform can get very confusing.

The Boston Globe has constructed a helpful table that helps people compare three health care reform proposals from the House Energy & Commerce Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Senate Health Committee.

Click here to view this table, which is available on the Boston Globe’s website,

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