Delivery System/Safety Net

UPDATED! Promoting Access to Care and Coverage During a Public Health Crisis: COVID-19–Related Changes Affecting MassHealth, Health Connector, and Health Safety Net

Massachusetts, with support from the federal government, has implemented several policy and programmatic changes intended to promote continued access to health care services and health insurance coverage during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This table serves as a centralized resource that documents and describes the policy, regulatory, and administrative actions pertaining to MassHealth, Health Connector programs, and the Health Safety Net.

A Primer on the Dual Eligible Population in Massachusetts

Of the more than 1.8 million people enrolled in MassHealth, Massachusetts’ Medicaid program, one in five are dually eligible and receive health care coverage through two distinct payers – Medicare and MassHealth. This educational primer was developed to build a deeper understanding of the dual eligible population in Massachusetts. It illustrates the diversity of dual eligible individuals’ clinical and functional needs, service utilization, and spending patterns.

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Behavioral Health Urgent Care: A Vision for Massachusetts and Opportunities to Improve Access

Behavioral health urgent care services are a critical component of the broader behavioral health care delivery system. Developing and sustaining a robust set of behavioral health urgent care services across community-based settings will provide adults with more options for timely access to care and offer alternatives to emergency departments for treatment.

MassHealth: The Basics – Facts and Trends (October 2020)

This UPDATED (October 2020) edition of the MassHealth: The Basics chart pack provides new data on MassHealth enrollment and spending from the most recent state fiscal years available, as well as a high-level overview and status update on the state’s delivery system reform efforts. The 2020 chart pack features a summary of the many temporary policy and programmatic changes that MassHealth quickly implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Final Public Charge Admissibility Rule: Implications for Massachusetts

The revised federal public charge rule – which was finalized in August 2019 and took effect in Massachusetts in February 2020 – makes it harder for certain low- and moderate-income immigrants to obtain green cards or visas if they have applied for or enrolled in public benefits such as MassHealth or the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). This report describes the expected effects of the revised federal public charge rule on MassHealth and SNAP enrollment, and its downstream effects on the health of Massachusetts residents, health care providers, and the state’s economy.

Expanding Access to Behavioral Health Care in Massachusetts through Telehealth: Sustaining Progress Post-Pandemic

At the onset of the COVID-19 public health emergency, Massachusetts led the nation in rapidly deploying progressive policies to temporarily expand access to telehealth. These changes have enabled significant increases in adoption of telehealth, including telebehavioral health, for providers and consumers in a short period of time. Prior to COVID-19, utilization of telebehavioral health had not gained widespread spread traction in Massachusetts despite its potential as a means to dramatically improve access to behavioral health care services, particularly for vulnerable populations.

What to Know About ACOs: The Latest on MassHealth Accountable Care Organizations

This brief builds upon a July 2018 publication, What to Know About ACOs: An Introduction to Accountable Care Organizations, which was developed as a resource for stakeholders (i.e., providers, health care administrators, and policymakers) to help explain the key elements of MassHealth ACOs, including the three types of ACOs, who they serve, and the services they provide.

MassHealth: The Basics – Facts and Trends (July 2019)

This UPDATED (July 2019) edition of the MassHealth: The Basics chart pack provides new data on MassHealth enrollment and spending from the most recent state fiscal years available, as well as a high-level overview and status update on the state’s delivery system reform efforts. The 2019 chart pack features a summary of the program’s impacts on access to care and health outcomes and new data highlighting the role of MassHealth in supporting the low-income workforce.

Faces of MassHealth: Portrait of a Diverse Population

This collection of materials goes beyond the topline statistics often used to characterize those served by MassHealth in order to paint a richer, more meaningful picture of the more than one in four Massachusetts residents enrolled in the program. MassHealth serves our most vulnerable residents across their life spans from infants and children with special needs who gain access to comprehensive health care and support services required to reach their full potential, to the elderly and those living with disabilities who receive community based care that helps them remain in their homes.

The Proposed Public Charge Rule: An Overview and Implications in Massachusetts

This brief describes the potential impact in Massachusetts of a proposed rule, released by the Department of Homeland Security in October 2018, to change the process by which it determines whether an immigrant is inadmissible to the United States or unable to adjust status because the person is likely to become a “public charge.” The proposed Public Charge Rule would mark a significant shift from current policy by defining a “public charge” as a noncitizen who receives one or more public benefits.

How are Massachusetts Community-Based Organizations Responding to the Health Care Sector’s Entry into Social Determinants of Health?

In Massachusetts, MassHealth is implementing a number of reforms as part of its most recent Medicaid 1115 demonstration waiver extension to transform the delivery of care for most members and address the social determinants of health (SDOH). In light of the new interface between health care and social service delivery fostered by the MassHealth program redesign, it is important to understand how community-based organizations (CBOs) perceive the entry of health care organizations into their domains of social service delivery.

What to Know About ACOs: An Introduction to MassHealth Accountable Care Organizations

MassHealth introduced accountable care organizations (ACOs) for many of its members in March 2018. An ACO is a group of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers that work together with the goals of delivering better care to members, improving the population’s health, and controlling costs. This brief serves as a resource for stakeholders (i.e., providers, health care administrators, policymakers) to help explain the key elements of MassHealth ACOs.

REVISED - A Guidebook to Social Services for MassHealth ACOs

This guidebook is designed to help health care administrators and providers better understand the types of social services available in Massachusetts, the organizations that provide such services, and their key sources of funding. This resource is intended to facilitate greater coordination between these organization types, and especially with MassHealth ACOs as they seek to integrate, better coordinate with social services, improve health outcomes, and reduce health care costs.

Partnerships for Health: Lessons for Bridging Community-Based Organizations and Health Care Organizations

Given the impact that social factors have on health status and expenditures, and the shift toward value-based payment models that reward providers based on outcomes, health care organizations (HCO) and community-based organizations (CBO) across the country are increasingly working together to address patients’ social needs.

REVISED - Integrating MassHealth Long-Term Services and Supports: Considerations for ACOs and MCOs

This brief prioritizes issues for consideration as accountable care organizations (ACOs) and managed care organizations (MCOs) prepare to integrate and fully manage comprehensive long-term services and supports (LTSS) over the course of Massachusetts’ five year 1115 waiver extension. The identified priority areas were informed by lessons learned from managed LTSS programs in other states and interviews with key stakeholders in Massachusetts.

Access to Outpatient Mental Health Services in Massachusetts

This series of reports describes the results of a comprehensive mixed-methods study, Access to Outpatient Mental Health Services in Massachusetts. The study sought to quantify the wait times for outpatient mental health office visits in Massachusetts, better understand the experiences of clients seeking an appointment, and identify facilitators and barriers to accessing mental health services.

MassHealth: The Basics (September 2017)

UPDATED (September 2017) chart pack produced by the Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute (MMPI), a program of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, in partnership with the Center for Health Law and Economics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. This updated edition includes MassHealth enrollment as of May 2017 and spending from state fiscal year 2016. It is made available in PDF and PowerPoint formats to facilitate its use in presentations.