Oral Testimony - Delivered at 2015 Health Care Cost Trends Hearing
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The Health Policy Commission’s (HPC) Annual Health Care Cost Trends Hearing is a public examination into the drivers of health care costs as well as the engagement of experts and witnesses to identify particular challenges and opportunities within the Commonwealth's health care system. Chapter 224 transferred the responsibility to conduct the Hearing to the HPC, in coordination with the Office of the Attorney General and Center for Health Information and Analysis. The HPC’s mission is to advance a more transparent, accountable, and innovative health care system through independent policy leadership. Our goal is better health and better care at a lower cost across the Commonwealth.
G.L. c. 6D § 8 requires the HPC to identify a number of health care providers and payers as witnesses for the Hearing. The HPC requests written (pre-filed) testimony from nearly 70 organizations and posts the responses on its website in advance of the Hearing. Additionally, the HPC calls on over 30 individuals to testify in-person at the two-day Hearing. The pre-filed and live testimony helps to inform various research and policy streams, including the HPC’s Annual Cost Trends Report.
The 2015 pre-filed testimony questions span a variety of topics, including alternative payment methodologies, readmissions, price transparency, facility fees, and provider price variation. Additionally, a main focus of the 2015 Hearing and, accordingly, the pre-filed testimony questions, is the state’s performance under the health care cost growth benchmark. The HPC asks providers and payers to detail the actions taken to ensure that the Commonwealth met the benchmark in 2014 and will continue to do so in future years. The HPC is also asking organizations to describe in writing systematic or policy changes that have encouraged or enabled them to operate more efficiently without reducing quality.
For the first time in 2015, the HPC is also asking specific providers about how costs, referral patterns, quality, and access to care may have changed following the completion of material changes to their operations or governance structure. These market-focused questions are based on statements made by providers in the Notices of Material Change they submitted to the HPC prior to undergoing the material changes.