State Hosts Hearing on Health Care Cost Trends From COVID-19

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BOSTON — The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) will host the 2020 Annual Health Care Cost Trends Hearing on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020.

The hearing, a public event at which policymakers and health care stakeholders convene to discuss challenges and oppor­tunities in improving health care in the Commonwealth, will be available live on the HPC’s YouTube channel. The virtual event will focus on examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health care system and residents of the Commonwealth and discussing considerations for the future. More information on the hearing, including a registration link, program booklet, and full agenda, can be found here.

The hearing will feature pre-recorded remarks from Governor Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey, which will be posted on the HPC’s website after the hearing.
 
Dr. David R. Williams, a social scientist focused on social influences of health, will be the keynote speaker. He is the Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health, Chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a Professor of African and African American Studies and Sociology at Harvard University.
 
The hearing will feature a video presentation highlighting the voices of those throughout the Commonwealth who have been most impacted by the pandemic. The video will be posted on the HPC’s website after the hearing. 
 
The hearing will include two hour-long panels featuring health care leaders and clinicians with a range of perspectives and experiences on the impact of COVD-19.
 
Discussion Panel 1 - 10:15 AM
  • Dr. Damian Archer, Chief Medical Officer, North Shore Community Health Center
  • Dr. Thea James, Vice President of Mission & Associate Chief Medical Officer, Boston Medical Center
  • Dr. Steven Strongwater, President and CEO, Atrius Health
  • Ms. Deborah Wilson, President & CEO, Lawrence General Hospital
Discussion Panel 2 - 11:15 AM
  • Dr. Madeline Aviles-Hernandez, Outpatient Services Director, Gándara Center
  • Mr. Andrew Dreyfuss, President and CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
  • Dr. Shari Nethersole, Executive Director of Community Health, Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Dr. Thomas Sequist, Chief Patient Experience and Equity Officer, Mass General Brigham

 

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State Announces Final Order on Eversource Gas Rates

BOSTON — The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has issued a final Order in a rate case for NSTAR Gas Company, doing business as Eversource Energy, that will lead to investments in clean energy technologies, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and improvements in infrastructure safety and service reliability, while significantly reducing the total rate increase request of Eversource. 
 
The action by the DPU follows a year-long investigation that included four public hearings across Eversource Energy's service territory, 12 days of virtual evidentiary hearings, and a review of approximately 1,800 exhibits. The Order applies only to customers who are provided gas service in NSTAR's territory in 51 towns in Eastern and Central Massachusetts and does not impact customers in the former Columbia Gas of Massachusetts gas service territory.
 
The DPU's Order reduced Eversource's base revenue request by approximately $12.2 million – decreasing Eversource's original requested increase of $34,970,916 by 35 percent. Today's decision marks the first time that Eversource's gas base distribution rates have changed since 2016.
 
"Today's Order will ensure Massachusetts continues to lead the way by investing and providing affordable, clean, and reliable energy solutions to ratepayers," DPU Chairman Matthew Nelson said. "Building on the Department's investigation into the future of natural gas in the Commonwealth's energy portfolio, the Order will also result in new clean energy options for residents to help Massachusetts achieve its aggressive emissions reduction goals."
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