Next steps for Massachusetts

From today’s Boston Globe:

Payments to hospitals and other health care providers would be slashed and low-income patients served by Medicaid would have to pay higher copayments under the spending plan Governor Deval Patrick proposed yesterday for the next budget year.

But the biggest savings in the $10 billion program that serves 1.2 million residents would come from revising and rebidding Medicaid contracts to encourage health care providers to work together to drive down costs. […]

But Patrick said the revamping of Medicaid contracts was not part of the more sweeping legislative proposal he expects to unveil this spring that would transform the way all hospitals and doctors are paid, by giving them a predetermined, per-patient annual fee that would cover all of a patient’s care.

But greater coordination of care through new contracts could help lay the groundwork for this new “global payment’’ system. […]

The Massachusetts Hospital Association released a statement that described the $150 million in rate cuts for hospitals and other providers as a “troubling’’ trend. “This cost shift helps the state budget, but it is devastating to hospital budgets and is a contributing factor to rising commercial insurance premiums,’’ the association said.

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