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.

Author: Pat Kelleher

Pat Kelleher is Executive Director of the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts.

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