I spend a lot of time talking about the Massachusetts health care delivery system, mostly to researchers, legislators, employers, advocates, and the like, but rarely do I have the opportunity to speak directly with consumers.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure to do so at a Health Care for All (HCFA) Consumer Health Quality meeting. This Council is comprised of volunteers that have been personally impacted by medical errors or quality deficiencies. I applaud their commitment to injecting the consumer voice and perspective into key health care policy discussions and legislative debates.
I was asked to present to the Council on the Division's work and how consumers can play a role in transforming the health care delivery system. It was a great opportunity to share some of the key findings of our Health Care Cost Trends 2010 Final Report and highlight our policy recommendations as they relate to consumers.
We engaged in a very important discussion about issues like cost, quality, wellness, and transparency. The latter topic was a strong area of interest for the attendees, as it is also for the Division. I mentioned the agency's current work on developing the all-payer claims database (APCD). While the APCD is not the solution to mitigating health care costs, we strongly believe that by offering full access to the true price of our own medical utilization – doctor visits, hospitalizations, diagnostic tests and the like – we can lift the veil that currently masks the full price tag we all pay toward health care. Accurate, detailed, transparent data should be the driver of decision-making for policymakers, employers, and consumers.
Indeed, as one of the Council members noted, consumers must have access to user-friendly data that helps identify the highest quality care at the best possible value, rather than relying on anecdotal advice from family and friends. It is also essential that we, as consumers, better understand that our personal health habits and our health service utlization patterns are directly tied to the increasing cost of medical care as well as the cost of health insurance premiums.
We need more meetings and conversations like yesterday's to take place all across Massachusetts, where we are able to directly engage consumers and employers about rising health care costs. We must also continue developing the appropriate tools and resources for consumers so that they can become more prudent purchasers of health care.
Happy Valentine’s Day…Made Even Happier! posted on Feb 11
I used to think that Halloween through New Year’s was the hardest time of the year to stick to my goal of eating healthfully, considering leftover candy from trick or treating, Thanksgiving dinner, holiday parties and gatherings—the list goes on and on. By the time …Continue Reading Happy Valentine’s Day…Made Even Happier!
Highlights from the February 10th Public Health Council Meeting posted on Feb 10
This month’s Public Health Council meeting featured a series of presentations and discussions on proposed amendments to regulations, followed by informational updates on select Department initiatives. First the Council received updates from the Department on the status of proposed amendments to regulations related to: Safety Requirement for …Continue Reading Highlights from the February 10th Public Health Council Meeting
Weekly Flu Report, February 5, 2016 posted on Feb 5
The latest weekly flu report shows that flu rates rose again in Massachusetts during the past 7 days. It’s absolutely not too late to get a flu shot if you haven’t already. As a matter of fact, we can expect flu to continue to circulate in …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, February 5, 2016