INSIDE THE ISSUE
State Begins to Prepare for Next Iteration of ACO Program
The state has issued a heads up that it will soon issue a Request for Responses (RFR), seeking new entities to serve as Accountable Care Partnership Plans and Primary Care Accountable Care Organizations under the Massachusetts Accountable Care Organization (ACO) program. In 2018, MassHealth oversaw the historic implementation of 17 new ACOs charged with numerous new responsibilities related to care management and population health for MassHealth enrollees. More than 1.1 million MassHealth members, representing approximately 80% of the managed care eligible population, are now enrolled in these ACOs, achieving one of the most ambitious goals of the state’s 2012 payment and delivery reform law. Since the first year of the program, 17 ACOs have been held financially accountable for the total cost of patient care, as well as for patient quality outcomes and experience. Hospital health systems and their affiliated providers serve as the backbone for the vast majority of these MassHealth ACOs.
The state says it expects to release the RFR in March-April 2022, which will allow new Accountable Care Organizations to join the program and also allow existing entities to change the model of ACO in which they participate. Responses from bidders are expected to be due in the summer and the contract operational start date will most likely occur in the spring of 2023.
AG Schedules Forum on Black Health & Wellness
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office is convening a meeting on Black health and wellness on Monday, February 28, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The AG’s office in announcing the forum notes, “For over 400 years, healthcare disparities and systemic racism have impacted the health and wellness of the Black community. At this event, we’ll discuss how social, environmental, and economic inequities impact the Black community and contribute to racial disparities in health.” To RSVP for the meeting via Zoom or Facebook Live, please click here.
What Do You Think About Medicaid and CHIP Access?
Are the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) working effectively? The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to get the answer to that question.
Specifically, CMS is seeking information to help improve access to the programs given the wide range of barriers to accessing Medicaid- and CHIP-covered services. CMS identifies the barriers as ranging from people being unaware they are eligible for a program, to issues with applications and eligibility determinations, to provider participation and the appeals and grievance processes.
By clicking on this link, individuals and organizations will be taken to a survey requesting responses on a very wide range of topics related to healthcare access. CMS concedes that not all respondents will be able to answer all questions, but urges participation nonetheless.
The June Schwartz Center Compassion Conference
One of the bigger, most informative healthcare events each year is the Schwartz Center’s Compassion in Action Healthcare Conference, which on June 14-15, 2022, will once again be held virtually.
The gathering this year will feature 30-plus virtual sessions with speakers from all around the globe. Main themes – all especially relevant after two-years of intense pandemic pressure on healthcare workers – include psychological and physical safety and support; well-being, mental health, and sense of purpose; diversity and equity; inclusion, voice, and choice; trustworthiness and transparency; and team cohesiveness and collaboration.
Click here to learn about registration, initial speakers (more to come), and pricing.
Happy Washington’s Birthday. That’s the true name of the holiday in Massachusetts and in the 1968 federal law that moved the holiday from February 22 (George Washington’s real birthdate) to the third Monday in February. When Washington’s Birthday was uprooted along with other federal holidays in that Uniform Monday Holiday Law in ’68, some attempted to append Abe Lincoln’s February 11 birthday to the celebration. In fact, many states, but not Massachusetts, changed the name of the holiday to President’s Day, or Presidents Day, or Presidents’ Day.
The historical record does not record the first president opining much about healthcare. But he did give his take on the well-worn “when-you-got-your-health” sentiment, writing to a business associate in September 1799, just three months before his death, “Health, being amongst (if not the most) precious gift of Heaven; without which, we are but little capable of business, or enjoyment.”