For Immediate Release - September 21, 2017


Annual opportunity to engage health care leaders on issues central to the Commonwealth’s mission of health care cost containment and quality improvement

BOSTON – Monday, October 2, 2017 – The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission will host the 5th Annual Health Care Cost Trends Hearing on October 2 and October 3, 2017 at Suffolk University Law School. The program booklet is located here.

The hearing is a public event at which policymakers and researchers convene to discuss challenges and oppor­tunities in improving care and reducing costs in the Commonwealth. The prominent, two-day hearing features live testimony from top health care executives, industry leaders, and government officials. Massachusetts and national health care experts examine the state's performance under the Health Care Cost Growth Benchmark, the drivers of health care costs, and other health care reform efforts.

The hearing will feature remarks by Governor Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Dr. Karen Joynt Maddox, a nationally recognized health policy expert.

The hearing will also feature testimony under oath from nearly 20 health care leaders from across Massachusetts, including commercial health plans, hospitals, and other providers. This year, the four panels will focus on “looking back and looking forward” to identify strategies for a more accountable and affordable health care system in Massachusetts.

Witness Panel 1: Reducing Unnecessary Hospital Use

Monday, October 2, 2017 - 11:15 AM

This panel will focus on efforts to reduce avoidable hospital readmissions and other forms of unnecessary hospital utilization. The panel will also discuss addressing the behavioral health and social needs of patients to avoid emergency department visits and boarding. 

Dr. Christopher "Kit" Gorton, President, Public Plans, Tufts Health Plan
Ms. Eliza Lake, Chief Executive Officer, Hilltown Community Health Center
Ms. Cheryl Pascucci, Family Nurse Practitioner, Baystate Franklin Medical Center
Ms. Christine Schuster, President and CEO, Emerson Hospital
Dr. Michael Wagner, President and CEO, Tufts Medical Center

Witness Panel 2: Evaluating the Impact of Recent Provider Transactions

Monday, October 2, 2017 - 1:30 PM

This panel will examine trends in keeping community-appropriate care in the community, before and after recent hospital acquisitions and affiliations. The panel will also discuss how broader changes in the provider market are impacting care delivery as well as cost, quality, and access.

Ms. Dianne Anderson, President and CEO, Lawrence General Hospital
Dr. Howard Grant, President and CEO, Lahey Health
Mr. John Polanowicz, Executive Vice President, Steward Health Care System
Dr. Peter Slavin, President, Massachusetts General Hospital

Witness Panel 3: Promoting High-Value Care Through Payment Reform and Purchaser Innovations   

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - 10:00 AM

This panel will focus on the adoption and improvement of alternative payment models (APMs) and innovations to promote the use of high-value providers. The panel will also examine purchaser strategies to promote efficient care and innovative care delivery models.                         

Ms. Deborah Devaux, Chief Operating Officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Ms. Trish Hannon, President and CEO, New England Baptist Hospital
Dr. Roberta Herman, Executive Director, Group Insurance Commission
Dr. Steven Strongwater, President and CEO, Atrius Health

Witness Panel 4: Achieving the Health Care Cost Growth Benchmark in 2018 and Beyond

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - 11:30 AM

This panel will discuss strategies to meet the health care cost growth benchmark in 2018 and beyond by tackling issues such as the scalability of innovations in care delivery and payment, spending on pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and the future of the Massachusetts health care system.

Mr. Richard Buckley, Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs, Astra Zeneca
Dr. Rushika Fernandopulle, Co-Founder and CEO, Iora Health
Mr. Eric Schultz, President and CEO, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
Dr. Kevin Tabb, President and CEO, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

More than 40 organizations were required to submit pre-filed testimony responding to questions raised by the HPC and the Attorney General’s Office. Review requests and submissions received to date here.


Governor Charlie Baker
 Attorney General Maura Healey
State Auditor Suzanne Bump
Senate President Stanley Rosenberg 
House Speaker Robert DeLeo
Dr. Stuart Altman, Chair, Health Policy Commission
Board Members, Health Policy Commission
Executives and leaders from hospitals, provider organizations, health plans, businesses, trade associations, and consumer and patient advocacy organizations


Monday, October 2, 2017
9 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

The program booklet and two-day agenda is located here.


Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA                       


The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) is an independent state agency that develops policy to reduce health care cost growth and improve the quality of patient care. The HPC's mission is to advance a more transparent, accountable, and innovative health care system through its independent policy leadership and investment programs. The HPC’s goal is better health and better care – at a lower cost – across the Commonwealth.

Visit us at Tweet us @Mass_HPC.