Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick paid a special visit to yesterday, May 19. The governor took a 45-minute tour of the hospital and during his time there met with hospital administrators, doctors, nurses and members of the hospital staff. He also stopped to speak with a few patients to wish them and chat for a few minutes.
Gov. Patrick was accompanied on his visit by Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. JudyAnn Bigby. The two were greeted by a group of doctors and administrators and welcomed by Lahey Clinic President and CEO Dr. Howard Grant.
A release from the governor's office said the purpose of the visit was, in part, to discuss Deval's proposed bill on medical cost control “An Act Improving the Quality of Health Care and Controlling Costs by Reforming Health Systems and Payments.” The bill, according to a release from the governor's office, would establish a structure and process to facilitate significant reforms to the Commonwealth’s health care payment and service delivery systems over the next three years.
According to the release, the legislation encourages the growth of “integrated care organizations,” (ICOs) comprised of groups of providers that work together to achieve improved health outcomes for patients at lower costs; provides benchmarks, standards and guidance for the transition to integrated care and global payments; and allows the Division of Insurance (DOI) to consider more criteria when making the decision to either approve or reject rate increase requests from both carriers and providers.
"While Massachusetts has shown national leadership in expanding access to health care, costs that are higher than the national average threaten the extraordinary progress we have made in ensuring access," the release states. "The rate of increase in health care costs has outpaced growth in the economy and threatens the financial health of individuals and businesses. Left unchecked, per capita health care spending in Massachusetts would continue to outpace the annual rise in the GDP, and by 2020 total health care spending would reach $123 billion."
Though there were few remarks made on the tour, Gov. Patrick did spend a couple minutes speaking to Burlington Patch about his visit to Lahey Clinic and why he feels the proposed cost reform is necessary and what he hopes will result. Click the video on the right to hear the governor's remarks.