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In last week’s post, I mentioned that a key component to building the most robust database of health care claims in the country is the Division’s ongoing collaborative relationship with payers, providers, employers, and consumers.  The Division has also partnered with national organizations such as the National Association of Health Data Organizations (NAHDO) and the All-Payer Claims Database (APCD) Council to ensure that our ambitious data collection efforts in Massachusetts are aligned with similar efforts in neighboring New England states and across the country.

For example, the Division developed its APCD reporting requirements using the data elements and technical specifications from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, as well as our own Massachusetts Health Care Quality and Cost Council’s.  And we are reaching further by incorporating data specifications that will meet the policy needs of our sister agencies in Massachusetts (GIC, MassHealth, etc).

Recently, the national APCD Council – with support from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) – began drafting a core set of standard data elements using technical specifications from Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Minnesota, and Tennessee.  These core data elements will be presented to existing data standards maintenance organizations such as ANSI X12N and the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs.  The goal is to “harmonize” the development of APCDs across states (by requiring a standard set of data) and facilitate administrative simplification for health care payers providing this data.

Ultimately, as other states develop their own APCDs, the Division’s collaboration with the national APCD Council will help to advance transparency, as well as a better understanding of costs, utilization, and quality of health care across Massachusetts and the country.

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As a part of our commitment to transparency and engagement in government, the Massachusetts Division of Health Care Finance and Policy uses several social media tools including Twitter, Blogs, and RSS feeds. We use these tools to keep you informed about the work we are doing and as a way to get feedback. You can follow us on Twitter, and you can learn more by visiting the Commonwealth Conversations: Mass Health Care blog.

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