We all know that health care costs are rising. I often cite a figure from Professor Len Nichols that without intervention, more than one-third of a family’s income may go towards health insurance by 2016. Additionally, we at the Division have found that as of 2004, per capita spending on health care in MA was 15 percent higher than the rest of the nation, even after adjusting for differences in non-patient revenue and wages.
I bring this up because I am confident that the All-Payer Claims Database (APCD) that the Division is developing will give the state access to timely and accurate health care claims data. In turn, this information will allow us to better understand the factors leading to rising health care costs and therefore find ways to tackle the problem.
But this is hardly my personal opinion. There are two encouraging pieces of news that I’d like to share with you.
First, we have been given Special Recognition at the “Better Government Competition” award by the Pioneer Institute – an independent, non-partisan think tank– for our efforts relative to the APCD. The recognition from a well-known organization such as the Pioneer Institute substantiates the Division’s efforts to develop a tool that can inform policies and programs that will ultimately improve the Massachusetts health care delivery system.
Secondly, we have been invited by the National Association of Health Data Organizations (NAHDO) to participate and present in an All-Payer Claims Database workshop. The workshop is designed to help build a stronger connection between data experts and policy makers with the goal of achieving increased and better utilization of existing APCDs across the country. This event not only recognizes our strong work on the APCD thus far, but it also allows us to engage in constructive conversations with national experts to move forward our vision of bringing transparency, integration, and wellness to the health care reform dialogue in Massachusetts.
I look forward to providing you with an update about these important conversations in the coming weeks.
For more information about APCD, please visit our website and be sure to see new information including an implementation timeline, administrative bulletin, and comments we received as we developed the final regulations earlier this year.
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.