Health Policy Commission mulls ‘bad scenario’

Mass General Brigham has until March 13 to file performance improvement plan

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

WITH THE DEADLINE looming for Mass General Brigham to file a plan to rein in its costs, a member of the Health Policy Commission raised concerns on Wednesday about a “bad scenario” he wants to avoid.

The Health Policy Commission on on January 25 ordered Mass General Brigham to develop a performance improvement plan to bring its costs in line with the state’s cost-growth benchmark, and the hospital system has until March 13 to comply. It’s the first time the commission has ordered a hospital system to come up with a performance improvement plan. At a meeting on Wednesday, the commission discussed what could happen depending on how Mass General Brigham responds.

Mass General Brigham can file an improvement plan proposal or request an extension or waiver. If it requests a waiver, the commission’s board will vote to approve or deny it. No further action would be required if a waiver is granted, and if it is denied, Mass General Brigham would have to either submit a performance improvement plan or request an extension.

If Mass General Brigham files its proposed performance improvement plan, it would go to the commission for a vote. If the plan is approved, the system will need to begin implementing its steps. If it is denied, Mass General Brigham will have up to 30 days to come back with a new proposal.

During a commission meeting on Wednesday, commissioner David Cutler flagged a potential “bad scenario” he said he wanted to avoid, raising the possibility that both parties could end up frustrated in a back-and-forth over plans.

“How is it that we avoid getting stuck in that infinite loop, where they say, ‘Our plan is X’ and we say, ‘Yeah, but we’ve already said why we don’t believe that X is a plan,'” he asked.

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David Seltz, the executive director of the Health Policy Commission,  said regulations regulations allow for consultation and collaboration with the commission before the plan is filed.

“We stand ready to engage in that process, and that may be the path where we’re able to articulate what our process is, what the factors are that the board will be considering, such that they can file a plan that will have a higher likelihood of approval,” Seltz said.