A joint committee of Massachusetts lawmakers will hear testimony tomorrow on how to pay for the Commonwealth’s (nearly) universal health insurance plan.
In July, a special committee called the Health Care Payment System Commission released a 77-page report advocating for changes in how healthcare is paid for in the Bay State.
Among those recommendations was a call to switch from a fee-for-service model — in which doctors are paid per procedure by insurance companies — to a global payment system, whereby physicians are paid an annual fee per patient by insurance companies. To make the switch, the report calls for the creation of “Accountable Care Organizations,” made up of hospitals, physicians and non-clinician provides which will “manage both the provision and coordination of care for the full range of services that patients are expected to need.”
The recommendations earned significant opposition from some in the hospital community, including Ellen Zane, the chief executive of Tufts Medical Center and chairwoman of the board of the Massachusetts Hospital Assn., who told the Boston Globe that the proposal was “irresponsible” and could “kill the industry.”
The medical device industry also remains skeptical about the shift. Among its concerns: Who decides the amount of money each patient is allocated? Can providers still choose which medical devices they deem medically necessary? Will the incentives move from providing more procedures to rewarding the use of the cheapest product?
A public hearing will be held tomorrow, Oct. 8, at 1:00 p.m. in Hearing Room B1 at the State House. All those wishing to testify pro or con on the proposed measure are asked to sign up starting a noon outside of the hearing room.