Post Content

David_morales Posted by: David Morales, Commissioner, Division of Health Care Finance and Policy

Yesterday, we held the first Health Care Finance and Policy (HCFP) Symposium informed by the release of three new DHCFP reports about preventable/avoidable emergency department (ED) use, potentially preventable hospitalizations, and primary care supply and access in Massachusetts. 

Some very important facts from the DHCFP reports drove a lively discussion regarding better health care coordination and integration, such as: 

  • There is an estimated $1.2 billion in opportunity costs given that nearly 1/2 of outpatient ED visits and 13% of adult inpatient hospitalizations were considered preventable/avoidable in fiscal year 2008. 
  • Preventable hospitalizations declined slightly from 2004 to 2008; however, emergency department visits steadily increased over the same period. 
  • Patient demographic and socioeconomic factors and access to primary care play a role in preventable hospitalizations and avoidable ED use, i.e. type of insurance, race/ethnicity, age, location, access to primary care, income level, and education.
  • While Massachusetts ranks high on primary care physician to population ratio, some residents live in health professional shortage areas and surveys indicate some residents experience difficulty accessing primary care. 

In response to these findings, the panelists discussed opportunities and challenges in primary care practice sustainability, patient-centered care and education, community-based health care settings, payment reform, medical homes, transparency on health care costs and quality, and incentives for providing quality health care and greater coordination. 

Certain panelists noted that the savings from reductions in avoidable ED use and preventable hospitalizations should be reinvested in lowering health care premiums and/or in advancing patient-centered primary care, particularly for populations that were identified as being at particular risk. 

And though we may not have left yesterday's symposium with answers to all of our questions, I know for certain that we all left with new and tangible ideas for mitigating health care costs and improving care coordination in our delivery system. That, in my opinion, is an important step forward. 

So, if you want to learn more about health care cost and quality, I urge you to stay tuned for the announcement of our next HCFP Symposium in early fall. In the meantime, please visit www.mass.gov/dhcfp to download the presentation of key findings or the reports discussed during yesterday's HCFP Symposium

For updates on upcoming events, please send an email to dhcfp.newsletter@state.ma.us the word "Subscribe" in the Subject Line.


Written By:

Recent Posts

Weekly Flu Report, February 17, 2017 posted on Feb 17

Rates of flu-like illness have risen over the past seven days, according to the latest weekly flu report. If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, it’s not too late – there’s still plenty of flu vaccine available. Call your health care provider or local board   …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, February 17, 2017

Love Your Heart This Valentine’s Day! posted on Feb 14

Love Your Heart This Valentine’s Day!

By Eliza Mellion, M.S. This Valentine’s Day, don’t forget that—thanks to the American Heart Association—February is American Heart Month! It can be hard to resist the chocolates, candy hearts, and pink-frosted cupcakes that this holiday brings.  While it’s fun to shower our loved ones with   …Continue Reading Love Your Heart This Valentine’s Day!

Weekly Flu Report, February 10, 2017 posted on Feb 10

Rates of flu-like illness continued to increase over the past seven days, according to the latest weekly flu report. The good news is that there is still time to protect yourself this flu season by getting a flu shot. There is plenty of vaccine available –   …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, February 10, 2017