The Massachusetts Crises Of Care Guidelines Need Re-Thinking

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This new study contends that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s (DPH’s) Crises Standards of Care (CSC) issued earlier this month bear the earmarks of a state bureaucratic effort. The guidelines need to be rethought under a process that includes a thorough vetting by Massachusetts citizens.

Massachusetts Consumer Healthcare Price Transparency Survey

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This public opinion survey, conducted by renowned pollster David Paleologos, Director of Suffolk University’s Research Bureau, focused on consumers’ view of healthcare price transparency. The poll showed that consumers want to know the price of care before obtaining it, and identified opportunities to improve consumers’ search for high-value, low-cost healthcare services. 

Key Questions for Legislators on the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER)

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As states continue to grapple with prescription drug costs, a new Pioneer Institute study lays out the key ethical, methodological and disease-specific questions policy makers should address before deciding whether to contract with the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) to conduct cost effectiveness reviews used to make decisions about the purchase of medicines and other medical innovations.

MassHealth Protecting Medicaid Resources for the Most Vulnerable

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This report finds that Massachusetts' enhanced eligibility verification has allowed MassHealth, the Commonwealth’s Medicaid program, to save significant resources that could be redirected to the care of truly needy Medicaid recipients.

Will New England See Lower Prices from Drug Pricing Transparency Legislation?

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This report finds that most new drug pricing transparency laws do not lower consumer out-of-pocket costs, and that expensive and onerous compliance rules would likely put upward pressure on prices. The report reviews recent New England legislative attempts to reduce costs by requiring the disclosure of wholesale drug prices and other information about industry pricing practices.

Need an MRI? In Worcester, Patients Pay Less for More

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Data from the Massachusetts Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) show wide variations in the prices agreed to between individual insurers and providers, the portion paid by insurers and the amount that is consumers’ responsibility to pay.

MA Health Insurers Have Improved Their Consumer Price Transparency Efforts, But Significant Work Remains

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This study finds some significant improvements in the online cost estimator tools created by Massachusetts’ three largest health insurers, but there is much still to be done for the carriers to maximize the opportunity price transparency represents.

Recommendations of Pioneer Institute to the Special Senate Committee on Health Care Cost Containment and Reform

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Jim Stergios, on behalf of the Pioneer Institute, provides public…

Testimony in Support of Expanded Access to Oral Health

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There is a bill before the Massachusetts Legislature seeking to expand access to dental care through the creation of a mid-level provider position, commonly known as a dental therapist.

Dialing up Telemedicine

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Massachusetts should more aggressively embrace telemedicine, which can reduce healthcare costs, increase patient satisfaction, and is more convenient for both patients and physicians.

What Massachusetts Should Do in an Uncertain Healthcare World

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Regardless of what happens in the debate over repealing and replacing the ACA in D.C., Massachusetts has to tackle health care costs intelligently. We need to do more than provide insurance; we need to increase access to care. That means thinking seriously about the role of private market insurers, insurance regulations and the regulation of medical providers.

Lowering the Healthcare Cost Growth Benchmark

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This policy brief applauds the decision by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts's Health Policy Commission to allow the benchmark for increases in the overall rate of healthcare spending to decrease this year, but urges state policy makers to remain focused on the larger culture changes that will be needed to rein in healthcare costs.

Counter Point What Massachusetts Should Do As Uncertainty Engulfs US Healthcare System

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Regardless of what takes place at a national level, Massachusetts has its own set of challenges to continue pursuing the state’s commitment to universal coverage at affordable prices. This report offers a ten-point program that the state should vigorously focus on in the days ahead.

Massachusetts Hospitals Score Poorly on Price Transparency…Again

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Eighteen months after an initial survey of prices at hospitals in Massachusetts, Pioneer Institute conducted a follow-up survey of all but one of the hospitals from the first survey to see if there had been any change in the performance of these institutions since their last assessment. Initial survey calls were conducted between September 20th and November 2nd, 2016.

Recommendations to the Transparency Subcommittee of the Special Commission on Provider Variation

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Submitted to the Special Commission on Provider Price Variation on January 31, 2017

Testimony on Healthcare Price Transparency

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Testimony emphasized the need to focus more on what would help consumers make better decisions about spending on healthcare.

Transparency in Retail Drug Prices: Easy to Obtain but Accuracy May Be Doubtful

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This paper is the fourth in a series on price transparency in the healthcare industry, and the first Pioneer report to focus on the retail price of prescription medications. Researchers called 44 retail drug stores across the state asking for the price of a 30-day supply of each drug in a common dosage. In each case the callers said they were self-pay and pressed the drug store for information about discounts.

Over A Decade, The ACA Fee On MassHealth Will Cost Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars

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In “Over a Decade, the ACA Fee on MassHealth Will Cost Hundreds of Millions of Dollars,” authors Lauren Corvese and Josh Archambault examine the potential budget impact of the Health Insurer Provider Fee (HIPF), a revenue-raising mechanism for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Combating Opioid Addiction in Massachusetts: A Hospital-Based Solution Shows Promise in Reducing Relapses and ER Costs

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Preliminary results suggest that a new program that gives opioid overdose patients at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth (BID-Plymouth) multiple opportunities to access detox programs, psychological counseling, anti-abuse drugs and other services is proving effective at reducing recidivism and returning opioid users to more productive lives.

Are Drug Prices Driving Healthcare Cost Growth?

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This report illustrates that state policy and legislative recommendations requiring pharmaceutical companies to disclose proprietary information would discourage the development of new innovative medicines, lead to higher healthcare costs over the long term, and potentially damage a big driver of Massachusetts' business economy.

Bay State Specialists and Dentists Get Mixed Reviews on Price Transparency

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Pioneer surveyed 96 specialists from across Massachusetts, split…

Mass Hospitals Weak on Price Transparency

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Pioneer Institute surveyed 22 out of approximately 66 Massachusetts acute care hospitals and 10 free-standing clinics seeking prices for one common procedure - an MRI of the left knee without contrast.  While Pioneer was ultimately able to get the information from all 10 clinics and 21 of the 22 hospitals, the process was time consuming, confusing and replete with long rounds of telephone tag.

Whistleblowers Expose the Massachusetts Connector

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State officials knew that development of a federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) website was off track for more than a year before the October 1, 2013 launch date.  Instead of raising concerns about the project, they misled the public by minimizing the shortcomings of the contractor hired to build the website, asked state workers to approve shoddy work and appear to have covered up the project’s abysmal progress in a presentation to federal officials.

Baker's Dozen A Common Sense Healthcare Agenda for the Next Governor

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Healthcare must remain a top policy priority for the next administration. It consumes nearly half of the state budget, has been a "pac-man" eating up resources for every other public policy priority, and has been an important driver of legislative discussions around tax increase proposals. The current path is unsustainable.

The Undisclosed Cost of Developing an Affordable Care Act State Exchange in Massachusetts

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The transition to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Massachusetts has been a bumpy one, to say the least. The state still lacks a functional website, and currently has almost 300,000 individuals on a newly created transitional Medicaid (MassHealth) program, with almost no program integrity provisions being observed, as little eligibility verification was run on the population upon enrollment.

Out of the Filing Cabinet and Into the Fire: How the Shift from Paper to Electronic Health Records Has Endangered Patient Privacy and Security and How to Calm the Flame

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This paper will discuss the importance of secure medical records in health information exchanges (HIEs), the general history of EHRs in the US and in Massachusetts particularly, the history of privacy rights in the medical field, and finally efforts being taken to ensure more protected and private EHRs.

A First Step Toward Retiree Healthcare Reform, But Much More is Needed

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A First Step Toward Retiree Healthcare Reform, But Much More is Needed was provided in October 2013.

Mayor, Tear Down This Wall: Why Boston’s Ban on Convenient Care Clinics Is Costing Taxpayers Millions

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As convenient care clinics (also known as walk-in clinics or limited service clinics) grow in popularity across the nation, Boston remains empty of these clinics due to mayoral opposition. Convenient care clinics, a relatively new development in the world of health care, first emerged just 12 years ago.

New ACA Medicare Payroll Tax Hits Massachusetts, $1.7 Billion Over 10 Years

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This brief is part of an occasional series from Pioneer Institute examining the direct effects of the ACA on Massachusetts. Please see the end of the paper for more examples.

First Do No Harm: The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Massachusetts’ Medical Device Industry

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This brief is one of many in a series from Pioneer Institute examining the direct effects of the PPACA on Massachusetts. The purpose of this report is to estimate the annual impact of the law’s tax on the 19 biggest medical device companies conducting business in Massachusetts.