[ Text of section effective until November 4, 2012. Repealed by 2012, 224, Sec. 7.]
Section 16K. (a) There shall be established a health care quality and cost council, which shall be an independent public entity not subject to the supervision and control of any other executive office, department, commission, board, bureau, agency or political subdivision of the commonwealth. The council shall promote public transparency of the quality and cost of health care in the commonwealth, and shall seek to support the long-term sustainability of health care reform in the commonwealth by developing recommendations for containing health care costs, while facilitating access to information on health care quality improvement efforts. The council shall disseminate health care quality and cost data to consumers, health care providers and insurers through a consumer health information website under subsections (e) and (g); establish cost containment goals under subsection (h); and coordinate ongoing quality improvement initiatives under subsection (i).
(b) The council shall consist of 19 members and shall be comprised of: (1) 9 ex-officio members, including the secretary of health and human services, the secretary of administration and finance, the state auditor, the inspector general, the attorney general, the commissioner of insurance, the commissioner of health care finance and policy, the commissioner of public health and the executive director of the group insurance commission, or their designees; and (2) 10 representatives of nongovernmental organizations to be appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a representative of a health care quality improvement organization recognized by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement recommended by the organization's board of directors, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Association of Health Underwriters, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a expert in health care policy from a foundation or academic institution, 1 of whom shall be a representative of a non-governmental purchaser of health insurance, 1 of whom shall be an organization representing the interests of small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, 1 of whom shall be an organization representing the interests of large businesses with 50 or more employees and 1 of whom shall be a clinician licensed to practice in the commonwealth. At least 2 members of the council shall be clinicians licensed to practice in the commonwealth. Members of the council shall vote annually to elect a chair and an executive committee, which shall consist of 4 council members and the chair. The executive committee shall meet as required to fulfill the mission of the council. Members of the council shall be appointed for terms of 3 years and shall serve until the term is completed or until a successor is appointed. Members shall be eligible to be reappointed and shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses reasonably incurred in the performance of their duties which may include reimbursement for reasonable travel and living expenses while engaged in council business. All council members shall be subject to chapter 268A; provided, however, that the council may purchase from, sell to, borrow from, contract with or otherwise deal with any organization in which any council member is in anyway interested or involved; provided further that such interest or involvement shall be disclosed in advance to the council and recorded in the minutes of the proceedings of the council; and provided further, that no council member having such interest or involvement may participate in any decision relating to such organization.
(c) All meetings of the council shall comply with chapter 30A. The council may, subject to chapter 30B and subject to appropriation, procure equipment, office space, goods and services.
The executive office of health and human services may provide staff and administrative support as requested by the council; provided, however, that all work completed by the executive office of health and human services shall be subject to approval by the council. The council shall appoint an executive director to oversee the operation and maintenance of the website, ensure compliance with the requirements of this section, and coordinate work completed by the executive office of health and human services and may, subject to appropriation, employ such additional staff or consultants as it deems necessary.
The council shall promulgate rules and regulations and may adopt by-laws necessary for the administration and enforcement of this section.
(d) The council shall disseminate the data it collects under this section to consumers, health care providers and insurers through: (i) a publicly-accessible consumer health information website; (ii) reports on performance provided to health care providers; and (iii) any other analysis and reporting the council deems appropriate.
When collecting data, the council shall, to the extent possible, utilize existing public and private data sources and agency processes for data collection, analysis and technical assistance. The council may enter into an interagency service agreement with the division of health care finance and policy for data collection analysis and technical assistance.
The council may, subject to chapter 30B, contract with an independent health care organization for data collection, analysis or technical assistance related to its duties; provided, however, that the organization has a history of demonstrating the skill and expertise necessary to: (i) collect, analyze and aggregate data related to quality and cost across the health care system; (ii) identify quality improvement areas through data analysis; (iii) work with Medicare, MassHealth, and other insurers' data; (iv) collaborate in the design and implementation of quality improvement and clinical performance measures; (v) establish and maintain security measures necessary to maintain confidentiality and preserve the integrity of the data; and (vii) identify and, when necessary, develop appropriate measures of quality and cost for public reporting of quality and cost information.
Insurers and health care providers shall submit data to the council, to an independent health care organization with which the council has contracted, or to the division of health care finance and policy, as required by the council's regulations. The council, through its rules and regulations, may determine what type of data may reasonably be required and the format in which it shall be provided.
The council may request that third-party administrators submit data to the council, to an independent health care organization with which the council has contracted, or to the division of health care finance and policy. The council, through its rules and regulations, may determine the format in which the data shall be provided. The council shall publicly post a list of third-party administrators that refuse to submit requested data.
If any insurer or health care provider fails to submit required data to the council on a timely basis, the council shall provide written notice to the insurer or health care provider. An insurer or health care provider that fails, without just cause, to provide the required information within 2 weeks following receipt of the written notice may be required to pay a penalty of $1,000 for each week of delay; provided, however, that the maximum annual penalty under this section shall be $50,000.
(e) The council shall, in consultation with the advisory committee established by section 16L, establish and maintain a consumer health information website. The website shall contain information comparing the quality and cost of health care services and may also contain general health care information as the council deems appropriate. The website shall be designed to assist consumers in making informed decisions regarding their medical care and informed choices among health care providers. Information shall be presented in a format that is understandable to the average consumer. The council shall take appropriate action to publicize the availability of its website.
The council shall, in consultation with its advisory committee, develop and adopt, on an annual basis, a reporting plan specifying the quality and cost measures to be included on the consumer health information website and the security measures used to maintain confidentiality and preserve the integrity of the data. In developing the reporting plan, the council, to the extent possible, shall collaborate with other organizations or state or federal agencies that develop, collect and publicly report health care quality and cost measures and the council shall give priority to those measures that are already available in the public domain. As part of the reporting plan, the council shall determine for each service the comparative information to be included on the consumer health information website, including whether to: (i) list services separately or as part of a group of related services; or (ii) combine the cost information for each facility and its affiliated clinicians and physician practices or to list facility and professional costs separately.
The council shall, after due consideration and public hearing, adopt or reject the reporting plan or any revisions. If the council rejects the reporting plan or any revisions, the council shall state its reasons for the rejection. The reporting plan and any revisions adopted by the council shall be promulgated by the council. The council shall submit the reporting plan and any periodic revisions to the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means and the chairs of the joint committee on health care financing and the clerks of the house and senate.
The website shall provide updated information on a regular basis, at least annually, and additional comparative quality and cost information shall be published as determined by the council, in consultation with the advisory committee. To the extent possible, the website shall include: (i) comparative quality information by facility, clinician or physician group practice for each service or category of service for which comparative cost information is provided; (ii) general information related to each service or category of service for which comparative information is provided; (iii) comparative quality information by facility, clinician or physician practice that is not service-specific, including information related to patient safety and satisfaction; and (iv) data concerning healthcare-acquired infections and serious reportable events reported under section 51H of chapter 111.
(f) The council, through its rules and regulations, shall provide access to data it collects pursuant to this section under conditions that: (i) protect patient privacy; (ii) prevent collusion or anti-competitive conduct; and (iii) prevent the release of data that could reasonably be expected to increase the cost of health care. The council may limit access to data based on its proposed use, the credentials of the requesting party, the type of data requested or other criteria required to make a determination regarding the appropriate release of the data. The council shall also limit the requesting party's use and release of any data to which that party has been given access by the council. The council shall provide the division of health care finance and policy with a database of health care claims data submitted pursuant to this section under an interagency service agreement for the purpose of conducting data analysis and preparing reports to assist in the formulation of health care policy and the provision and purchase of health care services.
Data collected by the council under this section shall not be a public record under clause twenty-sixth of section 7 of chapter 4 or under chapter 66, except as specifically otherwise provided by the council.
The council shall, through interagency service agreements, allow the use of its data by other state agencies, including division of health care finance and policy, for review and evaluation of mandated health benefit proposals as required by section 38C of chapter 3.
(g) The council, in consultation with its advisory committee, shall disseminate to health care providers their individualized de-identified data, including comparisons with other health care providers on the quality, cost and other data to be published on the consumer health information website.
(h) The council, in consultation with its advisory committee, shall develop annual health care cost containment goals. The goals shall be designed to promote affordable, high-quality, safe, effective, timely, efficient, equitable and patient centered health care. The council shall also establish goals that are intended to reduce health care disparities in racial, ethnic and disabled communities. In establishing cost containment goals, the council shall utilize claims data collected from carriers under this section, and information gathered as part of the division of health care finance and policy's public hearings on health care costs under section 6 1/2 of chapter 118G. For each goal, the council shall identify: (i) the parties that will be impacted;(ii) the agencies, departments, boards or councils of the commonwealth responsible for overseeing and implementing the goals; (iii) the steps needed to achieve the goals;(iv) the projected costs associated with implementing the goals; (v) and the potential cost savings, both short and long-term, attributable to the goals. The council may recommend legislation or regulatory changes to achieve these goals. The council shall publish a report on the progress towards achieving the costs containment goals.
(i) The council, in consultation with its advisory committee, shall coordinate and compile data on quality improvement programs conducted by state agencies and public and private health care organizations. The council shall consider programs designed to: (i) improve patient safety in all settings of care; (ii) reduce preventable hospital readmissions; (iii) prevent the occurrence of and improve the treatment and coordination of care for chronic diseases; and (iv) reduce variations in care. The council shall make such information available on the council's consumer health information website. The council may recommend legislation or regulatory changes as needed to further implement quality improvement initiatives.
[ There is no subsection (j).]
(k) The council shall conduct annual public hearings at which health care providers, insurers, relevant state agencies, and public and private health care organizations shall report their progress towards achieving the quality improvement and cost containment goals, adopting the standard performance measures and meeting the quality performance benchmarks. The council shall provide health care providers, insurers, state agencies and the general court with the following, at least 60 days prior to the public hearings: (i) recommended action required by each entity to achieve the specified quality and cost containment goals; and (ii) recommendations for adoption of each standard performance measure, quality performance benchmark and health information technology adoption goal established by the council.
(l) The council shall file a report, not less than annually, with the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means and the chairs of the joint committee on health care financing and the clerks of the house and senate on its progress in achieving the goals of improving quality and containing or reducing health care costs data provided pursuant to chapter 111N. The report shall include, at a minimum, a review of the progress towards achieving the quality improvement and cost containment goals, adoption of standard performance measures, meeting the quality performance benchmarks, and achieving the health information technology adoption goals.
The council shall provide its advisory committee with reasonable opportunity to review and comment on all reports before their public release.
Reports of the council shall be published on the consumer health information website.