Skip to Content
June 18, 2024 Clouds | 90°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 16T: Health planning council; advisory committee; identification and distribution of health care resources; determination of need; report

Section 16T. (a) There shall be a health planning council within the executive office of health and human services, consisting of the secretary of health and human services or a designee who shall serve as chair, the commissioner of public health or a designee, the director of the office of Medicaid or a designee, the commissioner of mental health or a designee, the secretary of elder affairs or a designee, the executive director of the center for health information and analysis or a designee, the executive director of the health policy commission or a designee and 3 members appointed by the governor, of whom shall be a health economist; 1 of whom shall have experience in health policy and planning and 1 of whom shall have experience in health care market planning and service line analysis.

The council shall assemble an advisory committee of not more than 15 members who shall reflect a broad distribution of diverse perspectives on the health care system, including health care providers and provider organizations, third-party payers, both public and private, consumer representatives and labor organizations representing health care workers. Not fewer than 2 members of the advisory committee shall have expertise in rural health matters and rural health needs in the commonwealth. The advisory committee shall review drafts and provide recommendations to the council during the development of the plan.

The executive office of health and human services, with the council, shall conduct at least 5 public hearings, in geographically diverse areas, on the plan as proposed and shall give interested persons an opportunity to submit their views orally and in writing. In addition, the executive office may create and maintain a website to allow members of the public to submit comments electronically and review comments submitted by others. The state health plan shall identify needs of the commonwealth in health care services, providers, programs and facilities; the resources available to meet those needs; and the priorities for addressing those needs.

(b) The state health plan developed by the council shall include the location, distribution and nature of all health care resources in the commonwealth and shall establish and maintain on a current basis an inventory of all such resources together with all other reasonably pertinent information concerning such resources. For purposes of this section, a health care resource shall include any resource, whether personal or institutional in nature and whether owned or operated by any person, the commonwealth or political subdivision thereof, the principal purpose of which is to provide, or facilitate the provision of, services for the prevention, detection, diagnosis or treatment of those physical and mental conditions experienced by humans which usually are the result of, or result in, disease, injury, deformity or pain.

The plan shall identify certain categories of health care resources, including acute care units; non-acute care units; specialty care units, including, but not limited to, burn, coronary care, cancer care, neonatal care, post-obstetric and post operative recovery care, pulmonary care, renal dialysis and surgical, including trauma and intensive care units; skilled nursing facilities; assisted living facilities; long-term care facilities; home health, behavioral health and mental health services; treatment and prevention services for alcohol and other drug abuse; emergency care; ambulatory care services; primary care resources; pharmacy and pharmacological services; family planning services; obstetrics and gynecology services; allied health services including, but not limited to, optometric care, chiropractic services, dental care and midwifery services; federally qualified health centers and free clinics; numbers of technologies or equipment defined as innovative services or new technologies by the department under section 25C of chapter 111; and health screening and early intervention services.

The plan shall also make recommendations for the appropriate supply and distribution of resources, programs, capacities, technologies and services identified in the second paragraph of this subsection on a state-wide or regional basis based on an assessment of need for the next 5 years and options for implementing such recommendations. The recommendations shall reflect at least the following goals: to maintain and improve the quality of health care services; to support the state's efforts to meet the health care cost growth benchmark established under section 9 of chapter 6D; to support innovative health care delivery and alternative payment models as identified by the commission; to reduce unnecessary duplication; to support universal access to reduce health disparities; to support efforts to integrate mental health, behavioral and substance use disorder services with overall medical care; to reflect the latest trends in utilization and support the best standards of care; and to rationally distribute health care resources across geographic regions of state based on the needs of the population on a statewide basis, as well as, the needs of particular geographic areas of the state.

(c) The department shall issue guidelines, rules or regulations consistent with the state health plan for making determinations of need. If the commissioner determines that statutory changes are necessary to implement the plan, the commissioner shall submit legislative language to the joint committee on public health and the joint committee on health care financing.

(d) The department may require health care resources to provide information for the purposes of this section and may prescribe by regulation uniform reporting requirements. In prescribing such regulations the department shall strive to make any reports required under this section of mutual benefit to those providing, as well as, those using such information and shall avoid placing any burdens on such providers which are not reasonably necessary to accomplish this section. Agencies of the commonwealth which collect cost or other data concerning health care resources shall cooperate with the department in coordinating such data with information collected under this section.

The inventory compiled under subsection (b) and all related information shall be maintained in a form usable by the general public in a designated office of the department, shall constitute a public record and shall be coordinated with information collected by the department under other laws, federal census information and other vital statistics from reliable sources; provided, however, that any item of information which is confidential or privileged in nature or under any other law shall not be regarded as a public record under this section.

(e) The department shall publish analyses, reports and interpretations of information collected under this section to promote awareness of the distribution and nature of health care resources in the commonwealth.

(f) In the performance of its duties, the department, subject to appropriation, may enter into such contracts with agencies of the federal government, the commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof and public or private bodies, as it considers necessary; provided, however, that no information received under such a contract shall be published or relied upon for any purpose by the department unless the department has determined such information to be reasonably accurate by statistical sampling or other suitable techniques for measuring the reliability of information-gathering processes.