Health Care

Health Policy Commission to analyze nurse question

Health Policy Commission to analyze nurse question

With voters confused, agency will assess costs, benefits of ballot measure

UNDER PRESSURE TO EXAMINE a nurse staffing ballot question, the state Health Policy Commission on Monday announced that it plans to present findings on cost impacts of mandated staffing ratios on hospitals and non-hospital settings that employ registered nurses as well as “the Commonwealth as a whole.” A commission official disclosed Monday that the panel(...)

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Strengthen, don’t scrap, the ACA

Strengthen, don’t scrap, the ACA

Fixing, improving, and expanding the law is best approach

MASSACHUSETTS IS A LEADER in health care and caring for our most vulnerable citizens. But even as we drive groundbreaking research and unprecedented care, nonstop efforts to undermine our health care system threaten every one of us and heighten our anxieties. Our health care system served as the foundation for the Affordable Care Act. Since(...)

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HPC urged to weigh in on nurse ballot question

HPC urged to weigh in on nurse ballot question

Health plans: Commission should estimate cost of staffing initiative

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE CITING COMPETING CLAIMS from both sides of a nurse staffing ballot question, health insurers on Wednesday asked a state agency to produce in the next month an independent analysis of the costs associated with Question 1. In a letter to Health Policy Commission executive director David Seltz, the Massachusetts Association of(...)

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Baker, Gonzalez should oppose health care duopoly

Baker, Gonzalez should oppose health care duopoly

Beth Israel-Lahey mega merger will raise, not lower, costs

“I WILL NOT be the governor who allows Massachusetts to become a health care duopoly.” That’s a bipartisan pledge that Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and his Democratic challenger, Jay Gonzalez, should make regarding the future of health care in our Commonwealth. This pledge concerns the 13-hospital mega merger between Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and(...)

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E-scripts for opioids save lives

E-scripts for opioids save lives

Technology exists for officials to pass laws to stem the crisis

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER recently signed into law a bill to mitigate the state-level effects of the ongoing opioid crisis. Like other such legislative efforts at both the federal and state levels, this important legislation requires healthcare providers and pharmacies to switch to electronic prescribing of controlled substances. This most recent legislative success reflects just how(...)

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Slow growth in MA health care spending

Slow growth in MA health care spending

Partners says nurse ballot question would boost its costs $140m

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE HEALTH CARE SPENDING in Massachusetts rose 1.6 percent to $61.1 billion in 2017, increasing at the slowest rate tracked since the passage of a 2012 health care cost control law. The Center for Health Information and Analysis, in its annual report on the performance of the state’s health care system, logged a $1.3(...)

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We need CBO-like scoring of state health care bills

We need CBO-like scoring of state health care bills

Beacon Hill should tap expertise of Health Policy Commission

WHEN I WAS A MEMBER of the Massachusetts House of Representatives back in the 1990s, I learned about the concept of continuous quality improvement, or CQI, as a way to improve any process – including medical care – using a rigorous data driven approach. CQI seemed good to me and a natural fit in my(...)

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A missed healthcare opportunity

A missed healthcare opportunity

Legislature's failure to pass reform endangers survival of smaller hospitals and facilities

MASSACHUSETTS MISSED AN opportunity to address some of the most crucial healthcare challenges facing the state when the Legislature failed to reach agreement on a sweeping reform bill this session. It’s disappointing, particularly because the reforms thoughtfully formulated over the past several months are vital to many of our local communities, hospitals, workers, and patients.(...)

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State sees huge growth of urgent care centers and retail clinics

State sees huge growth of urgent care centers and retail clinics

Trend could help tamp down health care costs

RETAIL MEDICAL CLINICS and emergency care centers are growing at breakneck speed in Massachusetts, a trend that suggests strong demand for the lower-cost alternatives to standard outpatient and hospital emergency services. The number of urgent care centers increased eight-fold from 18 centers in 2010 to 145 at the end of 2017, according to a report(...)

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5 takeaways from the Beth Israel-Lahey merger review

5 takeaways from the Beth Israel-Lahey merger review

Cost increases and lack of concern at Health Policy Commission are surprises

THE MASSACHUSETTS HEALTH POLICY COMMISSION’S preliminary review of the proposed BI-Lahey et al merger and the comments of the commissioners on that review surprised me a bit. Here are my five takes on those surprises: 1. The commission staff and the agency’s economic consultant, with their “willingness-to-pay” analysis, say that if the merger goes forward(...)

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