On August 6, 2012, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the health care cost containment legislation. This second part of Massachusetts’ health care reform emphasizes the transition of a health care system that pays providers based on volume to one that provides incentives for better coordination of care by avoiding costly hospital re-admissions, keeping patients healthy through preventive and wellness services and ensuring that patients receive only the care they need and want. The first phase of Massachusetts’ landmark health care reform legislation, passed in 2006, ensured that every resident in the state would be able to obtain health care coverage. Massachusetts has been quite successful in that endeavor with 98% of residents being covered.
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Tagged ACO, Benjamin Moulton, health care, health care reform, health policy, Massachusetts, palliative care, patient-centered care, PCMH, preference-sensitive care, shared decision making
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Health technology assessment (HTA) involves values and judgements, but there have been few attempts to seek the views of members of the public or to ensure that they have access to the results. Patients and citizens can make an important contribution to HTA by determining priorities for assessment, designing and conducting assessments and appraisals, receiving and using the findings, and engaging in debates about policy priorities and rationing. Those responsible for HTA should make greater efforts to involve the public and ensure that the findings are accessible to patients for use when making treatment choices.
Occasionally, all citizens have to make important health decisions that affect health outcomes. Strategies to support patient education and engagement should therefore be a fundamental plank of health policy. Also, patients can play an important role in understanding the causes of illness, protecting their health and taking appropriate action, choosing appropriate treatments for acute episodes of ill health, and managing chronic illness. These roles must be recognized and supported.