Hospital leaders express concerns about Massachusetts healthcare cost-cutting bill

Some Massachusetts hospital leaders are expressing concerns about proposed healthcare legislation that would address surprise medical bills, limit when hospitals can charge a facility fee at a hospital outpatient department and require hospitals and insurers to increase spending on behavioral health and primary care, according to The Boston Globe.

Gov. Charlie Baker introduced the legislation Oct. 18 with the goal of improving patient outcomes, increasing care access and reducing healthcare costs, including out-of-pocket costs. The legislation includes additional funding for community hospitals and health centers.

But Dianne J. Anderson, RN, president and CEO of Lawrence (Mass.) General Hospital, told the Globe the proposed legislation "does not address the real core issues of appropriately reimbursing hospitals and providers."

"It's probably not enough to be a sustainable fix," she added. "We really do need the actual rate adjustments."

Michael Apkon, MD, PhD, president and CEO of Boston-based Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children, also expressed concerns, saying he would like to see the "uneven playing field for providers to compete against each other … addressed more directly."

The governor reportedly defended the legislation.

According to the Globe, he told the state's health policy commission: "While many would argue that the fundamental problems with our healthcare system are rooted in some provider organizations being paid too much, and some being paid too little, we would argue the problem is more fundamental than that."

The newspaper reported that Mr. Baker has also told members of the media that the state must "acknowledge that the nature of illness has changed."

Read more about the proposed legislation here.


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