Health Planning Council Begins to Tackle State Health Resource Planning

| Posted On Sep 12, 2013 | By:

Last year’s payment reform bill, “An Act Improving the Quality of Health Care and Reducing Costs Through Increased Transparency, Efficiency and Innovation” (Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012), was established to take a long-needed look at healthcare resources throughout the state of Massachusetts in the hopes of better rationalizing our healthcare system.

As part of Chapter 224, the Health Planning Council was created within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. We are honored that Mary Ann O’Connor, President and CEO of VNA Care Network & Hospice, was recently appointed to the Council’s Advisory Committee. Her expertise will be instrumental in providing input and a unique perspective on hospice and home care in the state.

The Council is charged with submitting a state health plan to the governor and the Legislature by January 1, 2014. The plan will identify the needs of the Commonwealth in healthcare services, providers, programs, and facilities; the resources available to meet those needs; and the priorities for addressing those needs. The goal is to align the supply, location, and capacity of healthcare services with the demand for those services in a cost effective manner.

The Health Planning Council may have the ability to shape the healthcare industry over the long term by identifying areas where there is an over concentration of services or providers. As the process develops, they will need to consider the impact of expected market changes such as hospital consolidations, the growth of Accountable Care Organizations as well as the utilization and cost effectiveness of new medical technology.

The goals of the state health planning process, as described in the statute, are to:

The Council will play a critical role in providing industry and state policymakers with the data needed to determine whether services being requested by hospitals, clinics and others are necessary. A regionalized approach to certain high-cost specialized medical care may be the missing link to the cost containment puzzle, and the Council’s work will be critical to this decision making process.

More information about the work of the Health Planning Council can be found by clicking here.

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