House Releases Health Care Payment Reform Legislation

Nurses Hall in the State House was crowded with attendees eager to hear highlights of a long awaited bill on health care payment reform.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo and the Health Care Financing Committee’s House Chair Representative Steve Walsh announced their proposal that will be followed soon by a Senate version that will transition the state away from fee-for-service payments.

During his speech, Chairman Walsh said that the bill would save the state $160 billion over fifteen years and would bring full health IT interoperability to Massachusetts within five years. Accountable Care Organizations are not mandated, but are among options that providers can shift into from the current fee-for-service model. Chairman Walsh, in fact, mentioned four payment options that providers can choose: bundled, episodic, global and the patient centered medical home. He added that if there is an innovative model that does not include fee for service payments, a provider or provider group is welcome to bring that to the table as a proposal. Chairman Walsh also mentioned home health during his State House speech in reference to workforce development and although home care was not specifically mentioned in that section of the bill, it appears there would be an opportunity in the form of pilot projects and future policy recommendations.

At a quick glance, here are some other notable sections concerning home care:

  • Section 60: the Home Care Alliance is mentioned by name as having one representative on a special committee that will make recommendations on behavioral health services (page 67).
  • Section 105: Insurance coverage of physician assistant care is established “for purposes of health maintenance, diagnosis and treatment,” which includes “home care setting” as a covered benefit (page 128).
  • Section 109: The bill creates a new medical malpractice section that puts “home health agency” in the definition of a facility (page 133).

News outlets are beginning to release articles on the bill, including this story on

The Home Care Alliance will provide updates and more information as the bill continues to be examined.

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Training for the CDC’s World Health Organization Growth Chart is Now Available

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created an online training course for health care providers and others who measure and assess growth of infants and young children. The course is using the World Health Organization (WHO) Growth Charts to Assess Growth with Children less than 2 Years of Age in the U.S.  The recommendation for children less than 2 years of age is based in part on the recognition that breastfeeding is the recommended standard for infant feeding.  In the WHO charts, the growth of the healthy breastfed infant is intended to be the standard against which the growth of all other infants is compared. This online training takes 45 minutes to complete; there are self-assessment questions in each section.

The World Health Organization released a new international growth standard for infants and young children ages birth to 5 years of age. The standard shows how infants and children should grow.  The CDC now recommends that health care providers use:

  •    The WHO growth standard charts  for children aged birth to less than two years regardless of type of feeding, to monitor growth in the U.S.
  •    The CDC growth reference charts  for children aged two to twenty years to monitor growth in the U.S.

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