Interim Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Carlos Cappas, was featured in the New England Psychologist’s article, "Research highlights health care inequity in Massachusetts".
The article discusses the findings of a study on health care inequity in Massachusetts, with a focus on communities of color. The study, commissioned by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation and the Health Equity Compact, reveals that health inequities among Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian populations in Massachusetts cost $5.9 billion annually. This economic burden includes avoidable health care spending, lost labor productivity due to poor health, and the cost of premature death.
If no action is taken, the annual economic burden is projected to nearly double to $11.2 billion in the next 30 years. The report emphasizes the need for addressing health disparities, with a call to action to transition from awareness to solutions. It’s noted that even the White population in Massachusetts, due to its size, significantly contributes to the total economic burden of health inequities.
Mortality rates for people of color, along with their financial impact, are highlighted, emphasizing the urgency of addressing these issues. The article also points out the broader national context of health care disparities, with statistics indicating disparities in mental health services among different racial and ethnic groups.
As Dr. Cappas notes, “[This study] confirms that when we withhold insurance accessibility, we only increase our economic strain down the line. When patients don’t have access to mental health support when they need it, we see more severe consequences later—and therefore more expensive solutions.” To tackle these inequities in Massachusetts, the Health Equity Compact has proposed a bill called “An Act to Advance Health Equity,” aiming to expand MassHealth coverage, establish an Executive Office of Equity, define health equity zones, and standardize health equity data collection. A hearing on this bill took place in late September at the Massachusetts State House.