Department of Public Health

Directs the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy (DHCFP) to analyze the impact of existing mandated insurance benefits on public health and overall health care costs and issue a report to the legislature at least once every 4 years. DHCFP must consult with the Department of Public Health and UMass Medical School to ensure that all mandated benefits continue to meet clinical standards of care. DHCFP may file legislation to amend or repeal existing mandates.
Requires every health care provider to track and report quality information at least annually according to Department of Public Health regulations.
The Bureau of Managed Care within the Division of Insurance (DOI) is directed to require, as a condition of accreditation, that carriers adopt uniform standards and methodologies for credentialing health care providers. Also, any carrier that contracts with a third party administrator must ensure that the third party complies with the standards.

By way of background, the Bureau of Managed Care within DOI determines standards and procedures for accreditation of health insurance carriers. The Bureau must consult with the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, the Department of Public Health, the Group Insurance Commission, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and each health insurance carrier to develop the standards.
Adds to the information insurers must provide to consumers to include the location, specialty, and methods of compensation or reimbursement for each provider in a plan’s network, a provider’s price relativity, health status adjusted total medical expense, and quality performance based on measures from the Standard Quality Measure Set standards developed by the Department of Public Health. The information specific to each provider in a carrier’s network must be provided on a health insurance carrier’s website, to at least one plan member per subscriber household, and to each prospective insured upon request.
Directs the Health Connector, in coordination with the Department of Public Health, to create a small group wellness pilot program to encourage small businesses to implement employee wellness incentive programs. The Health Connector shall provide funding and technical assistance to eligible qualified small businesses for program implementation. Funding for the subsidy program is limited and subject to state appropriation, so the Health Connector may cap enrollment in the program if funds are insufficient to meet the costs of enrolling new employers.

The Health Connector must establish regulations necessary to implement this program and annually report to the legislature on the enrollment and impact of small group wellness incentive programs.
Creates Community Hospital and Community Health Center Capital Reserve Funds for the benefit of nonprofit community hospitals and nonprofit community health centers licensed by the Department of Public Health. These funds are to be used solely for the payment of the principal of Health and Education Facilities Authority (HEFA) bonds. Fund beneficiaries include only facilities where the ratio of the number of physician residents-in-training to the number of inpatient beds does not exceed 0.25. The Office of Health and Human Services and the Office of Administration and Finance may require that fund beneficiaries submit financial records to verify eligibility and agree to certain terms of lending, including reimbursement to the fund in the event a facility defaults on repayment of a loan.

Section 188 of chapter 240 of the acts of 2010 subsequently dissolved HEFA and merged its functions into MassDevelopment.
Instructs the Department of Public Health to organize a statewide advisory committee to develop and recommend a standard set of quality measurements for health care providers by January 1, 2011. The governor must appoint 6 representatives of health facility and provider organizations to join 10 state officials on the advisory committee.

In developing the Standard Quality Measure Set for 2010, the committee may only consider adopting state and federal quality and safety measures already in existence. In 2011, the committee may consider amending the Set to include nationally recognized quality measures that are not yet developed. At a minimum, the Set must include measures specified in this section.

The advisory committee must annually recommend to DPH updates to the Standard Quality Measure Set by each November 1st.
Directs relevant policymaking agencies to consider the special needs of children and pediatric patients when developing and utilizing data standards, quality measurement systems, wellness initiatives, or making comparisons of costs and prices. Policymakers may require that comparative data and reports related to pediatric patients and providers be segregated from adult patients and providers.
Directs the Department of Public Health to conduct a study on the impact of expanding the availability of primary care health care services in community hospitals, including the number and types of procedures primary care providers perform, related changes in revenue, recruitment and retention of primary care providers, and changes in types of compensation for services. DPH must issue a report to the legislature by April 1, 2011 summarizing its findings and making recommendations to strengthen community hospitals.