Policy & Law

Massachusetts Health Reform Bill Tackles Cost Control and More

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The Massachusetts legislature is voting today on “An Act improving the quality of health care and reducing costs through increased transparency, efficiency and innovation” reported out of conference committee at the eleventh hour, last night.  The headlines include:

1.    The health care cost growth rate may not exceed growth of the “gross state product” (GSP) for five years, and must be between the GSP and .5% below the GSP for the next five.

The Massachusetts legislature is voting today on “An Act improving the quality of health care and reducing costs through increased transparency, efficiency and innovation” reported out of conference committee at the eleventh hour, last night.  The headlines include:

1.    The health care cost growth rate may not exceed growth of the “gross state product” (GSP) for five years, and must be between the GSP and .5% below the GSP for the next five.

2.    Certification programs for Patient Centered Medical Homes and Accountable Care Organizations.

3.    Transparency and accoutnability for cost and quality.

4.    Investment in wellness and in community hospitals.

5.    Med-mal reform including a 6-month coooling off period and inadmissibility of medical apologies in court proceedings.

The full text of the bill, and a summary, are set forth below.

A return to central health planning?  Not quite, but certainly more heavily regulated than things are at the moment.  Is that a bad thing?  Well, consider how the free-market approach has been working out: overall, we’ve seen a high-cost, low-quality experience (relatively speaking) that could use some help.  Is this the panacea we need?  Too soon to tell. But we surely cannot stick with the status quo.

MA Health Care Reform Bill – Summary

 

MA Health Care Reform Bill S 2400 7 30 2012

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DAVID HARLOW is Principal of The Harlow Group LLC, a health care law and consulting firm based in the Hub of the Universe, Boston, MA. His thirty years’ experience in the public and private sectors affords him a unique perspective on legal, policy and business issues facing the health care community. David is adept at assisting clients in developing new paradigms for their business organizations, relationships and processes so as to maximize the realization of organizational goals in a highly regulated environment, in realms ranging from health data privacy and security to digital health strategy to physician-hospital relationships to the avoidance of fraud and abuse. He's been called "an expert on HIPAA and other health-related law issues [who] knows more than virtually anyone on those topics.” (Forbes.com.) His award-winning blog, HealthBlawg, is highly regarded in both the legal and health policy blogging worlds. David is a charter member of the external Advisory Board of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network and has served as the Public Policy Chair of the Society for Participatory Medicine, on the Health Law Section Council of the Massachusetts Bar Association and on the Advisory Board of FierceHealthIT. He speaks regularly before health care and legal industry groups on business, policy and legal matters. You should follow him on Twitter.
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