As healthcare workers, we are the caregivers and life-savers who keep our hospitals and clinics operating, safe, and accessible to our communities. Right now, the cost of healthcare is creating challenges for everyone – including healthcare workers and patients. That’s why the Massachusetts legislature is debating possible reforms to the way healthcare is paid for by private insurers and by the government. As healthcare workers, we are advocating that any final payment reform legislation does the following:
- Improves the amount of money our hospitals are paid for providing care to Medicaid patients. Community and ‘safety net’ hospitals play a key role in the Massachusetts healthcare delivery system, but receive only pennies to the dollar for care provided to the state’s sickest and most vulnerable residents. To stabilize healthcare costs and access, reimbursement rates for Medicaid patients must be more competitive in order to prevent “cost-shifting” in the form of higher premiums for privately insured patients.
- Protects our community and safety net hospitals and respects their special role in delivering preventative and emergency care to the public.
- Provides training opportunities and a job security fund for workers whose jobs could be changed or altered as a result of new legislation.
- Gives healthcare workers a voice in how changes are implemented within our hospitals and clinics. To ensure quality and affordability for consumers and patients, healthcare employers and the legislature should respect and listen to the input of frontline caregivers as changes are made through new payment reform legislation and other healthcare policy initiatives. The success and implementation of these changes will depend on us, the people who make our hospitals and clinics run.