- Massachusetts Health Policy Commission
Media Contact for HPC HOLDS VIRTUAL POLICY COMMITTEE MEETINGS; PRESENTS NATIONAL DATA ON THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM AND NEW FINDINGS ON OUT-OF-NETWORK BILLING, NURSE PRACTITIONER WORKFORCE IN MA
Matthew Kitsos, Press Secretary
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) today discussed important implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the health care system in Massachusetts. The HPC also released a new data chartpack on out-of-network billing in Massachusetts and a policy brief examining the nurse practitioner workforce at back-to-back meetings of the Market Oversight and Transparency (MOAT) and Care Delivery Transformation (CDT) committees conducted remotely. A recording of the meeting can be found on the HPC’s YouTube page.
At the MOAT meeting, Executive Director David Seltz outlined the agency’s new data collection and reporting timeline for 2020 and 2021 and its implications for the HPC’s annual review of health care spending growth. Commissioners also reviewed and discussed national data on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health care system, including key dynamics and effects on spending and utilization, potential impacts on market participants, and opportunities for the HPC to support and inform policy efforts during and after the crisis. Finally, staff presented data from a new chartpack on the extent and implications of out-of-network billing in Massachusetts, featuring the most up-to-date data available (2017). This analysis, available on the HPC website, builds upon and updates previous HPC work to include more insurers and care settings. The Baker-Polito Administration acted to protect patients from potential “surprise bills” for COVID-19-related care by prohibiting balance billing for patients who are treated by providers outside of their insurance network and setting payment rates for out-of-network providers.
At the CDT meeting, commissioners reviewed results from a new policy brief examining the nurse practitioner (NP) workforce in Massachusetts. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Baker-Polito Administration temporarily waived supervision requirements for NPs, which 28 states have already eliminated. Aiming to help inform the discussion around scope of practice requirements in the Commonwealth and other aspects of care provided by advanced-practice registered nurses, this policy brief provides a first-in-the-nation analysis of the involvement of NPs in the care of commercially-insured residents. Commissioners also received an update on the new Moving Massachusetts Upstream (MassUP) investment program, a new $2 million funding opportunity for provider organizations and community partners, and the top-line results from the evaluation of the HPC's Telemedicine Pilot Program, a pathway of the Health Care Innovation and Investment (HCII) program.
The HPC is grateful for those working on the front lines to stem the tide of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The agency remains open as a remote workplace. All public inquiries can be sent via email to HPC-Info@mass.gov, or phone to (617) 979-1400. The Office of Patient Protection can be reached at HPC-OPP@mass.gov, or by phone (800) 436-7757. Please visit the HPC's website (www.mass.gov/hpc) and Twitter account (@Mass_HPC) for further updates.
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.