Mass General Brigham seeks more time to submit a plan to lower costs

Faced with a March 21 deadline, Boston-based Mass General Brigham is requesting more time to submit its plan to lower costs, according to the Boston Business Journal

The health system was ordered by Massachusetts officials in January to develop a performance improvement plan to reduce costs after the state's healthcare watchdog determined it pushed healthcare spending above acceptable levels throughout the last few years.

Specifically, the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission found that Mass General Brigham had substantially higher-than-average commercial spending from 2014-19. The health system had $293 million in total spending across those years, which was more than any other provider. The commission said this high level of spending that stems from the system's expensive care has hurt the state's ability to control healthcare costs and meet the state's affordability benchmarks.

Mass General Brigham had 45 days to file a proposed performance improvement plan with cost-reducing steps, savings goals, process and outcome metrics, and a timeline or request a deadline extension. The health system decided to request the extension saying it is a "complicated endeavor."

"HPC has requested that this PIP address not only the total medical expense associated with Mass General Brigham, but also the total health care expenditures on a statewide basis," Jennifer Street, a spokesperson for Mass General Brigham, told the Business Journal. "While we are prepared to take on the challenge, it is a complicated endeavor that will require additional data from the HPC. Once we've been able to do appropriate data analysis, we will work to achieve viable, meaningful solutions, some of which may be beyond our control."

A failure to comply with the performance improvement plan comes with a $500,000 fine, according to the commission's website

This was the first time the commission has required a health system to submit a plan to lower costs since it started reviewing market transactions six years ago. 

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