Dr. Carlos Cappas Testifies at Health Equity Bill Hearing at MA State House
“96% of Massachusetts residents believe that everyone should have the opportunity to live a long, healthy life, regardless of their income, education, or race.” (MassINC Polling Group)
On September 20th, Dr. Carlos Cappas, Interim Chief Clinical Officer, testified before the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing as a member of the Health Equity Compact in favor of H.1250/S.799, “An Act to Advance Health Equity.”
This proposed legislation seeks to advance health equity in the Commonwealth by prioritizing health equity in state government, standardizing and reporting on health equity data, and improving access to and quality of care. Dr. Cappas testified in part, “this bill does not just address physical health; it would have substantial impacts on behavioral health outcomes as well. Historical siloes have impeded health systems from understanding the impact inequities have on the mental health of people of color. This should NOT be acceptable. We need intentional, shared responsibility to better address the mental health of our communities; especially that of our children.”
What’s this bill about?
As noted on the Health Equity Compact’s website, “for the 2023-2024 legislation session, the Compact filed a bill titled, “An Act to Advance Health Equity” (H.1250/S.799). This proposed legislation will advance health equity in the Commonwealth through prioritizing health equity in state government, standardizing and reporting on health equity data, and improving access to and quality of care. An Act to Advance Health Equity is sponsored by Representative Bud Williams, Representative Judith Garcia, Senator Pavel Payano, and Senator Liz Miranda.”
The proposed bill will:
- Make medications for conditions like asthma, heart disease, and diabetes more affordable
- Ensure all our community members, regardless of immigration status, have access to MassHealth/Medicaid, if otherwise eligible
- Invest in local efforts to build healthier, stronger communities
- And more!
Learn more about this bill from the Health Equity Compact.
Chief Financial Officer Ryan Sullivan, NP, Testifies About Value-Based Payment Models
On Tuesday, September 12th, Chief Financial Officer Ryan Sullivan, NP, testified before the Joint Committee on Financial Services on H.948 /S.620 “An Act requiring prospective payment system methodology for reimbursement to community health centers”. Prospective Payment System (PPS) is a method of reimbursement in which Medicare payment is made based on a predetermined, fixed amount.
Ryan was part of an in-person panel that also included Chuck Jones, CEO or Harbor Health, Brenda Rodriguez, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Strategy Officer of Lowell Community Health Center, and Kaitlin McColgan, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Public Policy at Massachusetts League of Community.
Ryan testified that, “currently, commercial payors represent slightly over 10% of the payor mix for our overall patient population. True commercial payors provide reimbursement well below the established PPS rate and range from $18.35-$157.14 depending on the billable code, the median of which is approximately $84.51 or which is about 63% below the PPS rate.”
He also stated that, “the FQHC PPS rate provided by Medicaid continues to help ensure the desired viability of centers like Lynn Community Health Center through defined rate provisions. However, unlike our government payors, commercial payors’ lower reimbursement rates create uncertain financial states, while we care for all patients who enter our doors.”
If passed, this Bill will codify PPS into state law for MassHealth and will further set PPS methodology as a floor for commercial payors in the Commonwealth.