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Next Monday, November 15, we’ll host our second open consultative session on Chapter 288 of the Acts of 2010 – the small business health care bill.  This time, we’ll be talking about hospital costs and how payments from individual insurance companies figure into a hospital’s bottom line.

The new information will lend transparency and reporting consistency to the ongoing efforts to mitigate health care costs.  With all hospitals on the same page, we’ll be able to compare how resource use differs across the state – from teaching to investing, advertising to charitable contributions.

And for the first time, hospitals will uniformly report the cost of medical management and patient care technology, such as discharge planners and electronic health records. These are necessary advances as we transition to global payments.

We’ll also measure the contribution to hospital profitability of each significant public and private payer at every hospital.  This kind of transparency will be crucial as we examine rising medical costs and contracting practices between payers and providers.

We’d appreciate your thoughts at our forum next Monday.  In particular, we’re interested in getting feedback on the overall approach and the uniform definitions being considered; the definitions for two additional cost categories proposed by the Division; and the methodology for calculating operating margins by payer.

Following the consultative session, the Division plans to propose its hospital cost reporting regulation in November, for adoption in January.

If you are interested in providing comments or learning more about what the Division is considering, please attend the consultative session on Monday, November 15, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. at Two Boylston Street, 5th floor, Boston, MA 02116. Written comments will also be considered and may be submitted to the Division by Friday, November 19, 2010.

Stay with us as we continue our robust, open discussion of improving accountability, coordination, and transparency in the Massachusetts health care system.

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