Tuesday, October 01, 2013

MA Health Policy Commission posts a report

The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission presented this slide deck at the annual Cost Trends Hearings.  It is a good descriptor of some key performance indicators of the state's health care system.  Here's the key summary page (as I read the report):

In case you can't read it, the summary is that the state spent 36% more than the US per capita average in 2009; that the demographic indicators show an older, wealthier, universally insured population that has lower risk factors and disease prevalence than the average.  The population uses inpatient and outpatient services more than the national average. On the price front, there is significant variation within the state.  Finally, there is an assertion that quality is at or above the US for many measures.

Recent growth in per capita expenses are less than the national average.  For 2009-2012, MA expenses grew at 1.9% compared to a national figure of 3.1%.  For 2000-2009, MA grew at a higher rate than the national average, 6.8% versus 5.7%.

The report does not reach conclusions about the cause for the slowdown.  It asks the following questions:

How can we maintain the progress of the last few years?
Where can we go further on utilization and price?
Where are opportunities for plans, providers, employers, consumers, and the state to play a role?

That no answers are given to the questions raised is not unexpected.  I doubt whether there would be a consensus even within the HPC as to the answers, much less across the public.  Those advocating a wide range of public policy and private directions for the future can all find support for their positions in this document.

In short, the report provides a good touchstone and reference report for the future.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have no idea how many people are being paid to produce that report but it didn't reveal a single thing I didn't already know and didn't provide a single suggestion on how to control costs in the future. Totally useless in my opinion. They say we have made progress over the last few years? More money and power to Partners and Children's while many of the other hospital systems (Steward and NEMC) are facing massive financial pressures. The growth in Partners servicing so many more Mass. patients will almost guarantee no bend in our health cost trend. The fact that this report did not even touch on a monopoly driving up healthcare costs and their continued growth to this day is shocking. Wait until Steward or NEMC goes under and everyone will be shrugging their shoulders asking how did this happen? Then all of that care ends up over at Partners at even higher costs. This is not going to end well in terms of reducing healthcare costs.