A close reading of the Outside Sections in the Senate Ways and Means budget provides a few more nuggets:
Possible Pension Shenanigans: Pioneer is well-versed on the gaming of the state pension system, so our finely tuned antennae go up whenever suspicious language involving the pension fund goes into legislation. The specificity of the following clause makes us extremely curious:
including individuals formerly in the service of the division of employment security whose compensation for that service was paid in full from a grant from the federal government, and for the cost of medical examinations in connection therewith,
We are hopeful that an enterprising journalist can determine the precise identity of the individual named above.
$20 Million Set-Aside for Hospital Pay for Performance: Outside Section 40 contains a clause that allows $20m of MassHealth funds to be paid out on the basis of quality standards and benchmarks. Its up to MassHealth to determine the benchmarks, but some guidance is provided. Now, $20 million in the context of the $7b MassHealth program is not much, but its an interesting first step. The applicable language:
In fiscal year 2008, not more than $20,000,000 of the amounts to be made available to acute hospitals under this section shall be contingent on hospital adherence to quality standards and achievement of performance benchmarks, … such performance benchmarks may be determined by the secretary of the executive office of health and human services… and may include measures to be reported by hospitals to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for Reporting Hospital Quality Data for Annual Payment Update, to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations for core measures…