HPC Releases 2016 Annual Health Care Cost Trends Report 

Today, the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) released its 2016 Annual Health Care Cost Trends Report (available here). This report examines health care spending in Massachusetts as well as the state's performance against the health care cost growth benchmark. To address the rising cost of health care in the Commonwealth, the HPC's report makes strong policy recommendations to the Legislature, other state agencies, the health policy community, and the HPC itself.  
The HPC set the 2015 target growth rate (or "benchmark") in per-capita Massachusetts health care spending at 3.6 percent. Overall growth in 2015 was 4.1 percent - 0.5 percentage points above the benchmark. The report finds that the main contributors to exceeding the benchmark in Massachusetts were: (1) prescription drug costs, (2) hospital spending, (3) health insurance enrollment changes, and (4) spending on long-term services and supports.
For the second year in a row, prescription drug spending remains the largest single contributor to increased health care costs, accounting for roughly one-third of per-capita growth. The HPC found that, when combined, medical and prescription drugs comprised more than 20 percent of commercial spending in Massachusetts. In the report, the HPC recommends enhancing the transparency of drug prices and spending to help reduce increases.
The HPC also found that all-cause, all-payer 30-day hospital readmissions increased to 15.8 percent for the first time in four years. This is an area with which Massachusetts has struggled compared to other states. The HPC has highlighted this area for potential cost-savings by issuing a target of lowering all-payer readmissions to 13 percent by 2019.
An Executive Summary of the report and its policy recommendations is available here
The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) is an independent state agency that develops policy to reduce health care cost growth and improve the quality of patient care. The HPC's mission is to advance a more transparent, accountable, and innovative health care system through its independent policy leadership and investment programs. The HPC's goal is better health and better care - at a lower cost - across the Commonwealth.

The agency's main responsibilities are led by HPC staff (divided into six departments) and overseen by an 11-member Board of commissioners. HPC staff and commissioners work together collaboratively to monitor the performance of the health care system, including setting the health care cost growth benchmark; creating standards for care delivery systems that are accountable to better meet patients' medical, behavioral, and social needs; analyzing the impact of health care market transactions on cost, quality, and access; and investing in community health care delivery and innovations.

To learn more, please visit  mass.gov/HPC   or follow on Twitter @Mass_HPC