For Immediate Release:
January 25, 2022
Health Care For All Responds to Health Policy Commission’s MGB Expansion Analysis and New PIP Requirement
BOSTON – Health Care For All is responding to two major developments that were announced at Tuesday’s Health Policy Commission (HPC) Board Meeting. The HPC released an analysis finding that Mass General Brigham’s (MGB) proposed expansion could increase health care consumer costs and exacerbate health inequities. The HPC also announced that, for the first time, it will require a health care provider system – Mass General Brigham – with excessive spending growth to implement a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP).
Health Care For All’s Executive Director Amy Rosenthal issued the following statement:
“The Health Policy Commission’s analysis of the proposed Mass General Brigham expansion supports what Health Care For All has been consistently stating – the outpatient site expansions will increase health care costs in Massachusetts. When costs to the health care system increase dramatically, individuals and families across the state too often end up paying the price in higher premiums.
“The HPC findings show the proposed ambulatory expansions are projected to result in $9.3 million to $27.9 million per year in increased commercial health care spending. Much of the cost would come from additional inpatient hospital referrals to MGB that increase its market share. MGB is already one of the most expensive hospital systems in the state.
“The HPC analysis also supports Health Care For All’s concern that the expansion could exacerbate health inequities in the region by threatening the financial stability of lower-cost, safety net providers that treat a greater proportion of MassHealth patients. According to the HPC, these providers stand to lose $14.6 million to $58.6 million annually as a result of the ambulatory expansion proposal.
“We urge the Department of Public Health to carefully consider the concerns raised by Health Care For All, the HPC and the Attorney General in their decision, and that they ultimately disapprove the DON ambulatory expansion request.
“Additionally, Health Care For All commends the HPC for taking the important step of requiring Mass General Brigham to implement a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) to rein in excessive cost growth for its Partners Community Physician Organization. This is a critical test of whether our health care cost benchmark process can be an effective check on rising costs. This is only the first time an improvement plan has been required since the framework was put in place in 2015, despite overall health care and consumer costs like premiums and out-of-pocket costs growing well over the benchmark in many years.
“HCFA calls on MGB to submit swiftly an improvement plan that would meaningfully reduce costs. We also urge the legislature to update the PIP process to ensure the HPC has the right tools to monitor system costs. HPC’s authority must be expanded to review proposed hospital expansions, oversee increasing pharmaceutical costs and hold health insurers accountable for high consumer costs as well. These changes will help protect Massachusetts families from bearing the burden of rapidly rising health care costs.”
Last week, Health Care For All’s Executive Director Amy Rosenthal published an op-ed in Commonwealth Magazine with Tim Murray, the president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, outlining the cost and equity concerns associated with the proposed MGB expansion.