Saturday, September 12, 2009

Can this be true?

A story by Liz Kowalcyzk in today's Boston Globe has to cause some raised eyebrows. It is about a plan by the state's Quality and Cost Council to reduce health care costs over the coming decade, a very significant public policy goal. Here's the quote in question:

The state removed the draft recommendations from its website after the Globe inquired about them.

I understand that this is a draft report that might change before it is formally issued. But what could it contain that is so sensitive that the Council would want to avoid public review and comment? When bills go through the legislature, we all get to see early drafts. When environmental impact statements are under preparation by state agencies, we get to see drafts.

Why, in a field in which transparency is becoming a watchword, would the Council not want to have the advantage of a final stage of public comments on its draft document? In contrast, see this earlier (12/10/08) press release by the same Council: "Members of the Massachusetts Health Care Quality and Cost Council (HCQCC) gathered with members of the Legislature, health care advocates and consumers today for the launch of an interactive website designed to promote transparency in the health care industry."

5 comments:

e-Patient Dave said...

Agreed, agreed. I hope it's not true - can someone find the URL?

Anonymous said...

Maybe they just want to take another look at them to ensure they are tightly written before releasing them for public comment?
I don't really get why the state has 2 separate panels looking at the same thing (the HCQand CC plus this special commission on the health care payment system), but governments will be governments.

nonlocal

Ian McCarty said...

Hmmm....maybe Massachusetts residents were going to be asked to "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the Quality and Cost Council."

Anonymous said...

Nonlocal,

Once that report went to the QCC meeting, it was public.

Anonymous said...

It is illogical...the draft was presented at an open meeting (as it needed to be, by law) and is a public document. This is contrary to how the Council has functioned and raises questions about what has changed. Council efforts will not be successful if they are viewed as secretive, "insider-only" deliberations. Very strange and counter-productive.