Report, with its findings and recommendations, set to be released today.
Boston, MA—Over the last six months, a Special Commission on Provider Price Variation tackled some of the most challenging issues in healthcare. The Commission, made up of 23 members including co-chairs Representative Jeffrey Sánchez (D-Boston) and Senator James Welch (D-West Springfield), met 9 times beginning in September 2016 and discussed how to meaningfully address provider price variation and rising healthcare costs through increased transparency, strengthening market forces, and a potential role for the state.
Given the short time frame and complexity of the issues at hand, three subcommittees, chaired by Connie Englert of TrueNorth Transit Group, Deborah Devaux of Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Kate Walsh of Boston Medical Center, were created to allow Commission members to continue conversations between meetings and draft initial recommendations in their respective topic areas for discussion by the full Commission. Additionally, the Commission invited nationally-recognized industry experts to each meeting to present on their areas of specialty.
"From the beginning, my goal was for all stakeholders to come together and discuss action-oriented ideas that address the challenges ahead in our healthcare market," said Sánchez. "After months of dialogue, I am pleased that we were able to find several major areas of consensus. The results of this work move us another step closer to tackling healthcare costs in the Commonwealth."
Commission members came to agreement on the importance of provider sustainability to ensure patient access to affordable, quality care across the Commonwealth. Members also agreed that higher payments are justified for high-quality providers and providers that care for sicker or high-cost patients. In addition, there was broad agreement that patients need more accessible, actionable, and understandable information, both when they choose their plans and when they access care.
“The past six months have been a deep dive into a complex issue, and this report would not have been possible without the full engagement and efforts of the Commission members. The recommendations and information provided in the report will no doubt be a guide as we continue to navigate healthcare cost containment policy to ensure the viability of the industry here in Massachusetts,” said Welch. “I look forward to the challenges and work that lies ahead of us, particularly given the uncertainty surrounding healthcare delivery and coverage on the federal level.”
The Commission report is scheduled to be released today, Wednesday, March 15, 2017.
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