Section 20: Consumer health information website
Section 20. (a) The center, in consultation with commission, the executive office of health and human services, the department of public health and such other agencies or authorities as it deems appropriate, shall maintain a consumer health information website. The website shall contain information comparing the quality, price and cost of health care services. The website shall also provide information about provider and payer achievement of cost benchmarks and growth goals. The website may also contain general health care information as the center considers 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 center shall publicize the availability of its website.
(b) The website shall provide updated information on a regular basis, at least annually, and additional comparative quality, price and cost information shall be published as determined by the center. To the extent possible, the website shall include: (1) comparative price and cost information for the most common referral or prescribed services, as determined by the center, categorized by payer and listed by facility, provider, and provider organization or other groupings, as determined by the center ; (2) comparative quality information, as determined by the center, available by facility, provider, provider organization or any other provider grouping, as determined by the center, for each such service or category of service for which comparative price and cost information is provided; (3) general information related to each service or category of service for which comparative information is provided; (4) comparative quality information, as determined by the center, available by facility, provider, provider organization or other groupings, as determined by the center, that is not service-specific, including information related to patient safety and satisfaction; (5) data concerning healthcare-associated infections and serious reportable events reported under section 51H of chapter 111; (6) definitions of common health insurance and medical terms, including, but not limited to, those determined under sections 2715(g) (2) and (3) of the Public Health Service Act, so that consumers may compare health coverage and understand the terms of their coverage; (7) a list of health care provider types, including but not limited to primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and what types of services they are authorized to perform in the commonwealth under applicable state and federal scope of practice laws; (8) factors consumers should consider when choosing an insurance product or provider group, including, but not limited to, provider network, premium, cost-sharing, covered services, and tiering; (9) patient decision aids, which are interactive, written or audio-visual tools that provide a balanced presentation of the condition and treatment or screening options, benefits and harms, with attention to the patient's preferences and values, and which may facilitate conversations between patients and their health care providers about preference-sensitive conditions or diseases such as chronic back pain, early stage of breast and prostate cancers, hip osteoarthritis, and cataracts; provided, however, that decision aids shall be made available on, but not be limited to, long-term care and supports and palliative care; (10) a list of provider services that are physically and programmatically accessible for people with disabilities; and (11) descriptions of standard quality measures, as determined by the center.
(c) The center shall 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 center, 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 center shall give priority to those measures that are already available in the public domain. As part of the reporting plan, the center shall determine for each service the comparative information to be included on the consumer health information website.
(d) In designing and maintaining the website, the center may conduct research regarding ease of use of the website by health care consumers, consult with organizations that represent health care consumers, and conduct focus groups that represent a cross section of health care consumers in the commonwealth, including low income consumers and consumers with limited literacy. The website shall comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.