Summer 2018
HPC in the News
The Opioid Diaries (TIME, March 1, 2018)

Mass. commission outlines health care savings of $4.7B  (Worcester Telegram, March 29, 2018)
 

North Shore Medical Partnership Seeks Earlier End-Of-Life Conversations (WBUR, May 30, 2018)

Job Opportunities
The HPC is currently accepting applications for:
  • Policy Associate, Accountable Care
  • Policy Associate, Market Performance
  • Senior Program Associate, Strategic Investment
  • HPC Internship Program
Click here for more information. 
Listening Session on Shifting of Drug Distribution Channels 
In May, the HPC held a  public listening session  regarding the practice of shifting drug distribution channels, commonly referred to as
"white bagging" and "brown bagging." The listening session focused on the prevalence of the practices in Massachusetts, how many drugs have shifted distribution channels, and the impact on patient experience and cost for payers and providers. Written testimony can be found  here  and oral testimony can be found  here .
2018 Public Meeting Calendar
A printable version of our full 2018 public meeting calendar is available for download  here . All Board, Committee, and Advisory Council Meetings are held at the HPC's offices (50 Milk Street, 8th Floor) unless otherwise noted.
Keep in Touch
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Welcome! 
It has been a busy few months here at the HPC. Since March, we have released a number of informative and groundbreaking research publications, held a well-attended special event focused on social determinants of health, and set the health care cost growth benchmark for 2019.
 
Looking ahead to this summer, the HPC will hold a Board meeting on July 18, 2018, release a new issue of the DataPoints online research briefs series, and continue our ongoing program and policy work.
 
Thank you for your continued engagement in all that we do and for helping to make our work possible.
 
Did you miss a public meeting? The HPC records all public sessions and broadcasts them live on our YouTube Channel, where you can view recordings of past meetings.   

Regards,
David Seltz
Executive Director
Recap: Committee Meetings
Market Oversight and Transparency (MOAT) and Care Delivery Transformation (CDT)
The HPC's two policy committees met on Wednesday, June 13 for the second time. Video of the two meetings is available on the HPC's YouTube Channel. Full slide presentations can be found here

At the MOAT meeting, Committee members viewed a demonstration of interactive graphics from the latest edition of the HPC's DataPoints series examining variation in imaging spending  (more information on DataPoints is available below) . Staff also presented on the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court's
Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual decision on self-insured data in the All-Payer Claims Database (APCD) and on initial findings from the HPC's low value care research. The meeting closed with a presentation from Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) Executive Director Ray Campbell, who presented an overview of CHIA's CompareCare and " Big Transparency " initiatives. 

The CDT meeting began with a summary of the HPC's May 17 event on partnerships to address social determinants of health (a comprehensive summary of the event is below). Staff also announced the HPC's new partnership to support digital health efforts with MassChallenge, and provided strategic recommendations on the PCMH PRIME program. Committee members then received a summary of public comment for the proposed regulation on RBPO/ACO patient appeals. The meeting closed with an update on the quality alignment task force and a preview of The CHART Playbook, a forthcoming publication from the HPC. 
Recap: HPC Special Event
Partnering to Address the Social Determinants of Health:
What Works?
In May, the HPC hosted a sold out special event, "Partnering to Address the Social Determinants of Health: What Works?" that explored how partnerships between health care providers and community stakeholders work to address health-related social needs. The  event  featured nationally-recognized experts including Dr. Alice Chen, Chief Medical Officer for the San Francisco Health Network, who provided inspiring insights on addressing social determinants in San Francisco's public health system. Additionally, Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel spoke about DPH's vital role in addressing social determinants of health, including access to and translation of important data, workforce development, and providing regulatory guidance and technical assistance.
The event's first panel included HPC investment program awardees and certified Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). Panelists shared practical approaches for partnering to address social determinants of health as they implement their promising HPC-funded initiatives.  The second panel, featuring House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey S├ínchez, focused on fiscal and regulatory policies that will help support and sustain these partnerships. 

A recording of the entire event is available  here
HPC Votes on the 2019 Health Care Cost Growth Benchmark for the Commonwealth
Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012 established the health care cost growth benchmark , a statewide target for the rate of growth of total health care expenditures (THCE). The HPC Board sets the benchmark for the following calendar year annually between January 15 (when the potential gross state product [PGSP] is established) and April 15. CHIA  reports annually  on the Commonwealth's performance against the benchmark. 
 
In April, the Board voted unanimously to establish the 2019 health care cost growth benchmark at 3.1%, declining to modify it to a higher growth rate. The 2019 benchmark is set, by statute, at PGSP minus 0.5%, or 3.1%, and modification is subject to a public hearing process and engagement with the Legislature. Testimony from the March 28 Benchmark Hearing is available here . A video of the hearing can be found  here .
HPC Recent Publications
Cost Trends Report, Chartpack, Opportunities for Savings in Health Care, ACO Brief
This Spring, the HPC released several exciting new publications, including the 2017 Health Care Cost Trends Report and accompanying Chartpack.  In the Cost Trends Report, the HPC makes ten recommendations to advance Massachusetts health care reforms and improve health care in the Commonwealth. These recommendations require action by health insurers, providers, employers, policymakers, and other state agencies, and lay the foundation for the continued development of an integrated, patient-centered health care system that promotes value.

In addition, the HPC also released a new report: Opportunities for Savings in Health Care 2018A companion to the policy recommendations in the Cost Trends Report, this publication presents results from costs-savings modeling for seven scenarios, focusing on care that is unnecessary or has unnecessarily high costs. Potential savings from meeting the targets total $4.76 billion, approximately 2.1 percent of total health care expenditures (THCE), if THCE continues to grow at a baseline trend of 3.55% every year.  
In April, the HPC published the first in a series of written reports regarding the HPC's Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Certification program. This first brief provided background information on the program and the landscape of certified Massachusetts ACOs. It is available for download  here . Stay tuned for the next ACO brief to be published later this summer.

HPC DataPoints Continues to Gain State and National Attention with Two New Issues
In addition to its recent publications, the HPC's DataPoints series has continued to gain state and nationwide attention with two new issues. In March, the HPC released a DataPoints issue focused on the 14 largest provider organizations in Massachusetts, finding significant variation in both the characteristics of the patients they serve and the total cost of care for these patients. 
In May, the HPC released another DataPoints issue examining variation in imaging spending in Massachusetts and in the U.S. for Medicare patients. The first-of-its-kind research focused on Medicare spending in Massachusetts for top imaging procedures and provides new insights into a critical, but potentially overused, aspect of patient care. The research found significant variation among states with regard to spending and utilization of these services, with Massachusetts ranking fourth highest in spending for imaging services (14% higher than the U.S. average), and twelfth highest in utilization.
The eighth DataPoints issue will be released in July 2018.
The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC), established in 2012, is an independent state agency charged with monitoring health care spending growth in Massachusetts and providing data-driven policy recommendations regarding health care delivery and payment system reform.The HPC's mission is to advance a more transparent, accountable, and innovative health care system through its independent policy leadership and investment programs. 
 
Visit us at Mass.gov/HPCTweet us @Mass_HPC.