Tag Archives: affordability

PBS NewsHour on Cutting Health Costs in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is making news again as it leads the nation in passing a law to limit health care spending to that of the state’s economic growth, currently at 3.6 percent. As the state’s largest health care provider, we at Partners HealthCare are meeting the challenge of slowing health care cost growth by rethinking the way we care for our patients.

Last night PBS NewsHour economic correspondent Paul Solman reported on some of the ways health care providers and insurers in Massachusetts have adapted to meet the cost-cutting goals set by the Commonwealth. As Solman noted, insurance premiums climbed 10 percent from 2009 to 2011, but spending more money on care does not necessarily improve health outcomes.

That’s why Partners is committed to making care more affordable and improving the quality of care that patients receive. We’ve already experienced early success through our transformation of primary care practices into patient-centered medical homes.

Read more...

Tags: affordability, coordinated care

Boston Globe Cites Progress on Health Costs

Today’s Boston Globe reports on the two-day cost trend hearings, which began yesterday. They are being held by the state’s newly formed Health Policy Commission. Partners HealthCare President and CEO Gary Gottlieb, MD and other health care experts are sharing their firsthand experiences regarding the progress that has been made in reducing costs and improving quality.

The hearings have offered an opportunity to create a dialogue about a new state law that limits the rate of growth for health care costs to about 3.6 percent this year, the same rate at which the overall Massachusetts economy is expected to grow.

Dr. Gottlieb discussed many of the initiatives underway at Partners to achieve these goals.

Read more...

Tags: affordability

Putting Affordable, Better Care Within Our Reach

How can a health care organization improve patient care while simultaneously lowering costs? At Partners HealthCare, that is our focus and our goal. That’s why we signed up to become one of the nation’s Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations.

The solutions are far from simple, as our vice president of population health management, Timothy Ferris, MD, wrote for the Harvard Business Review Blog Network recently, but they are attainable.

Read more...

Tags: affordability, redesigning care

Transparency on Our Finances

In an effort to be transparent about hospital finance, we offer some context, and some of the reasons why it’s important for hospitals to maintain financial stability.

Occasionally, as part of the ongoing health care cost dialogue, the issue of hospital assets is raised and the question is asked – why do hospitals need “reserves”? A state report in 2010 showed that many hospitals and health systems across the state had some level of investment assets.

One point to consider – hospitals, unlike insurance companies, do not have reserves. Hospitals maintain investment assets. In fact, the state report referenced above stated, “While relatively clear standards for insurer surplus have been developed[…]hospitals do not generally designate assets as ‘reserves’ except for certain liquid assets set aside to meet debt service requirements.”

On the other hand, insurance companies, like Neighborhood Health Plan (NHP), which recently joined the Partners family, are required by regulators to maintain a certain level of reserves/surplus

Read more...

Tags: affordability

A Community Focus on Health Care Costs

Gary Gottlieb. Image courtesy of GBIO

Gary Gottlieb, M.D. speaks to the crowd at a discussion organized by Greater Boston Interfaith Organization. (Image courtesy of GBIO)

Gary Gottlieb, M.D., President and CEO of Partners HealthCare, last night joined with health care and community leaders from throughout Massachusetts to engage in a dialogue on health care costs — and how to control them.

Read more...

Tags: affordability, industry interactions

Can the U.S. Lower the Cost of Health Care?

This week some of the nation’s most respected health care organizations released a video discussing how the health care industry can help lower the cost of care. David Blumenthal, MD, president of the Commonwealth Fund (and formerly employed by Partners HealthCare), lays out his vision for solving the nation’s health care problem in the video, produced by The Alliance for Health Reform and supported by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“We spend 18% of our GDP on health care and get no more value than countries that spend 7, 8, 10, 12% of their GDP on health care,” Blumenthal notes in the video. But with its immense size and complexity, how can the U.S. health care system actually cut costs?

Blumenthal suggests there are three options for lowering costs: decrease the number of people eligible for health insurance, raise premium costs for consumers and decrease coverage, or make the health system work better.

Read more...

Tags: affordability, redesigning care

Bringing Healthy Meals and Summer Fun to Massachusetts Children

Lynn Summer Food Service Program Group Photo
At Partners HealthCare, keeping patients healthy is just as important as treating them when they’re ill. During the summer, we partner with Project Bread and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) to do just that – and make prevention more fun, in the process.

Once again we are working with Project Bread to bring healthy lunches to children who are at risk of going hungry during the summer months. Matt Fishman, Vice President for Community Health, Partners Healthcare, said:

This important program helps to keep children well nourished and active during the summer months. It embodies prevention: one of our highest priorities in our partnerships to improve the health of communities we serve.

In fact, we’ve grown our commitment to the SFSP to provide healthy meals to more than 8,688 children in seven communities, including Boston, Lynn, Chelsea, Salem, Revere, Haverhill and Lawrence.

Read more...

Tags: affordability, community

The Numbers Are In – and Health Care Costs Are Slowing

As one of just 32 participants selected to take part in the U.S. government’s Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) initiative, Partners HealthCare has decreased the rate of growth among health care costs for approximately 52,000 Medicare patients, leading to $14.4 million in savings that are shared between Partners and the federal government. New federal data show a 2.4 percent slowdown in the rate of cost growth for Medicare patients in our program, compared with national figures.

The Pioneer ACO initiative, sponsored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Center, strives to offer Medicare patients higher quality, coordinated care at a lower cost. In addition to significantly lowering costs, we also performed well in nearly every measurement of quality the government tracked, and maintained low mortality rates.

Read more...

Tags: affordability, redesigning care

The Economics of Cardiovascular Disease

When it comes to preventive medicine, keeping patients healthy and ensuring that care is affordable go hand in hand. At Partners HealthCare we’re always looking for ways to improve the health of our communities, especially through education and prevention.

One area of growing concern is heart health: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for Americans. February is American Heart Month, and Dr. Michael R. Jaff, DO, chair of the MGH Institute for Heart, Vascular and Stroke Care, recently addressed the rising cost of treatment for cardiovascular disease. The following Q&A is reprinted from the February 1st issue of MGH Hotline.

Read more...

Tags: affordability, uniform high quality

New York Times: Health Care Costs Experience ‘Sharp’ Slowdown in Growth

As President Obama noted in his State of the Union Address, “the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs.” This is borne out in a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The New York Times reports that the CBO shows the nation is experiencing a prolonged and persistent slowdown in the growth of health care costs. In fact, between 2009 and 2011, total health spending grew at the slowest pace since the government started keeping records more than 50 years ago. Recent data suggests that the encouraging trend continued in 2012.

What is behind the slowdown in health care costs? While there is no single answer, experts point to the structural changes that the health care industry has undergone. CBO chief Douglas W. Elmendorf attributes a ‘significant’ part of the cost slowdown to this type of change and reorganization.

At Partners HealthCare we are leading the way forward on change.

Read more...

Tags: affordability, industry interactions

For more information about Partners HealthCare,
our members and services, visit Partners.org