Today I want to give you an update on the Division’s work related to Chapter 288 – the bill Governor Patrick signed into law this past August to provide relief to small businesses from escalating premiums. When the bill was passed, I blogged about the Division’s role in implementing parts of the new law. The three broad efforts include: promoting transparency, integrating health care, and improving quality.
In terms of promoting transparency, the new legislation requires us to define, collect, and publicly report data on total medical expenses (TME), relative prices, and hospital inpatient and outpatient costs. TME and relative prices will help us to better understand the variation in the cost of care and prices paid to different provider groups by geographic locations across Massachusetts. Moreover, establishing uniform reporting on hospital inpatient and outpatient costs will help policy makers identify the differing financial structures among disproportionate share hospitals, teaching hospitals, and academic research centers.
At the Division, we are working very closely with stakeholders to develop regulations that will shed more light on our health care delivery system. To that end, we’ve convened a technical advisory group comprised of insurers and providers to assist us in the process. The Division will soon propose the adoption of new regulations regarding total medical expenses, relative prices, and hospital inpatient and outpatient cost reporting.
Long-term, these regulations will help us better promote integration and coordination of care and reduce the cost of care delivered to the residents of the Commonwealth. Additionally, data collection and public reporting will help to further explore the relationship between the cost and quality of services and, hopefully, encourage and assist employers and consumers alike to become more prudent purchasers of health care services.
The Division will hold a consultative session in a few weeks and plans to propose the regulations in November. I invite you to attend the session, provide comments, and stay tuned for further developments as the Division continues to advance full transparency in the Massachusetts health care delivery system.
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.