Delivery System/Safety Net

October 27, 2020

Behavioral health urgent care services are a critical component of the broader behavioral health care delivery system. Developing and sustaining a robust set of behavioral health urgent care services across community-based settings will provide adults with more options for timely access to care and offer alternatives to emergency departments for treatment.

October 14, 2020

This UPDATED (October 2020) edition of the MassHealth: The Basics chart pack provides new data on MassHealth enrollment and spending from the most recent state fiscal years available, as well as a high-level overview and status update on the state’s delivery system reform efforts. The 2020 chart pack features a summary of the many temporary policy and programmatic changes that MassHealth quickly implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

September 29, 2020

The revised federal public charge rule – which was finalized in August 2019 and took effect in Massachusetts in February 2020 – makes it harder for certain low- and moderate-income immigrants to obtain green cards or visas if they have applied for or enrolled in public benefits such as MassHealth or the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). This report describes the expected effects of the revised federal public charge rule on MassHealth and SNAP enrollment, and its downstream effects on the health of Massachusetts residents, health care providers, and the state’s economy.

August 31, 2020

Massachusetts, with support from the federal government, has implemented several policy and programmatic changes intended to promote continued access to health care services and health insurance coverage during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This table serves as a centralized resource that documents and describes the policy, regulatory, and administrative actions pertaining to MassHealth, Health Connector programs, and the Health Safety Net.

July 14, 2020

At the onset of the COVID-19 public health emergency, Massachusetts led the nation in rapidly deploying progressive policies to temporarily expand access to telehealth. These changes have enabled significant increases in adoption of telehealth, including telebehavioral health, for providers and consumers in a short period of time. Prior to COVID-19, utilization of telebehavioral health had not gained widespread spread traction in Massachusetts despite its potential as a means to dramatically improve access to behavioral health care services, particularly for vulnerable populations.

September 24, 2019

This brief builds upon a July 2018 publication, What to Know About ACOs: An Introduction to Accountable Care Organizations, which was developed as a resource for stakeholders (i.e., providers, health care administrators, and policymakers) to help explain the key elements of MassHealth ACOs, including the three types of ACOs, who they serve, and the services they provide.

July 31, 2019

This UPDATED (July 2019) edition of the MassHealth: The Basics chart pack provides new data on MassHealth enrollment and spending from the most recent state fiscal years available, as well as a high-level overview and status update on the state’s delivery system reform efforts. The 2019 chart pack features a summary of the program’s impacts on access to care and health outcomes and new data highlighting the role of MassHealth in supporting the low-income workforce.

May 21, 2019

This collection of materials goes beyond the topline statistics often used to characterize those served by MassHealth in order to paint a richer, more meaningful picture of the more than one in four Massachusetts residents enrolled in the program. MassHealth serves our most vulnerable residents across their life spans from infants and children with special needs who gain access to comprehensive health care and support services required to reach their full potential, to the elderly and those living with disabilities who receive community based care that helps them remain in their homes.

December 4, 2018

This brief describes the potential impact in Massachusetts of a proposed rule, released by the Department of Homeland Security in October 2018, to change the process by which it determines whether an immigrant is inadmissible to the United States or unable to adjust status because the person is likely to become a “public charge.” The proposed Public Charge Rule would mark a significant shift from current policy by defining a “public charge” as a noncitizen who receives one or more public benefits.

November 30, 2018

In Massachusetts, MassHealth is implementing a number of reforms as part of its most recent Medicaid 1115 demonstration waiver extension to transform the delivery of care for most members and address the social determinants of health (SDOH). In light of the new interface between health care and social service delivery fostered by the MassHealth program redesign, it is important to understand how community-based organizations (CBOs) perceive the entry of health care organizations into their domains of social service delivery.

July 26, 2018

MassHealth introduced accountable care organizations (ACOs) for many of its members in March 2018. An ACO is a group of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers that work together with the goals of delivering better care to members, improving the population’s health, and controlling costs. This brief serves as a resource for stakeholders (i.e., providers, health care administrators, policymakers) to help explain the key elements of MassHealth ACOs.

June 26, 2018

This guidebook is designed to help health care administrators and providers better understand the types of social services available in Massachusetts, the organizations that provide such services, and their key sources of funding. This resource is intended to facilitate greater coordination between these organization types, and especially with MassHealth ACOs as they seek to integrate, better coordinate with social services, improve health outcomes, and reduce health care costs.

January 31, 2018

Given the impact that social factors have on health status and expenditures, and the shift toward value-based payment models that reward providers based on outcomes, health care organizations (HCO) and community-based organizations (CBO) across the country are increasingly working together to address patients’ social needs.

November 21, 2017

This brief prioritizes issues for consideration as accountable care organizations (ACOs) and managed care organizations (MCOs) prepare to integrate and fully manage comprehensive long-term services and supports (LTSS) over the course of Massachusetts’ five year 1115 waiver extension. The identified priority areas were informed by lessons learned from managed LTSS programs in other states and interviews with key stakeholders in Massachusetts.

October 31, 2017

This series of reports describes the results of a comprehensive mixed-methods study, Access to Outpatient Mental Health Services in Massachusetts. The study sought to quantify the wait times for outpatient mental health office visits in Massachusetts, better understand the experiences of clients seeking an appointment, and identify facilitators and barriers to accessing mental health services.

September 21, 2017

UPDATED (September 2017) chart pack produced by the Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute (MMPI), a program of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, in partnership with the Center for Health Law and Economics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. This updated edition includes MassHealth enrollment as of May 2017 and spending from state fiscal year 2016. It is made available in PDF and PowerPoint formats to facilitate its use in presentations.

July 12, 2017

This primer is designed to increase understanding of the behavioral health care system in Massachusetts and the issues affecting access to care for individuals with mental health and substance use disorders. It is intended to serve as a foundation for future work focused on behavioral health system solutions.

June 27, 2017

This chart pack provides an overview of the Senate-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, highlighting some of its key provisions, particularly as they relate to Medicaid. Developed by Manatt Health, this chart pack was commissioned by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation for the Massachusetts Coalition for Coverage and Care.

June 22, 2017

This report describes the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in Massachusetts and its role as part of MassHealth. Though there is no expiration date for CHIP in federal law, Congress has authorized funding of the program through September 30, 2017. Without Congressional action, a majority of states, including Massachusetts, will exhaust their current federal CHIP allocation by March 2018. This report discusses the importance of CHIP and the broader health policy debate, including reauthorization, now taking place in Washington.

January 5, 2017

This issue brief describes the key elements of the most recent MassHealth 1115 waiver extension, including the shift to a delivery system centered on Accountable Care Organizations and Community Partners, a Delivery System Reform Incentive Program, the redesigned Safety Net Care Pool, and the expansion of services for treatment of substance use disorders. It concludes with a discussion of implications of the new system for major stakeholder groups.