Healthcare data in Massachusetts: Interview with CHIA’s Áron Boros

November 18th, 2014 by
Áron Boros, CHIA Executive Director
Áron Boros, CHIA Executive Director

Massachusetts needs reliable, detailed, and accessible healthcare data to make health reform a success. The Center for Health Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) provides data and reports that are used by health systems, health plans, researchers and other government agencies. Popular resources include the all-payer claims database, acute hospital case mix databases, and hospital financial performance reports. This information has become increasingly valuable to the industry and policy makers as the Commonwealth grapples with cost containment.

I sat down recently with CHIA’s Executive Director, Áron Boros and asked some probing questions. The interview is a bit long, so I’ve included time markers with the questions below. I’ll post a transcript in about a week.

  1. (0:12) Who are your constituents? What activities do you undertake to fulfill your mission?
  2. (2:00) Do you see CHIA’s role as a neutral party or is it policy driven?
  3. (3:15) What role is CHIA playing in consumer engagement? Is this being done alone or is there a role for partners?
  4. (7:20) Some argue that unfettered transparency can have unintended consequences on market behavior.  Do you agree? If so, what steps have you taken to address those concerns?
  5. (9:45) Can total cost of care measures have an impact on care delivery in Massachusetts?
  6. (12:10) Are efficient or poorly reimbursed providers disadvantaged under a uniform cost benchmark? In other words, does a uniform benchmark serve to lock in the existing level of variation in payment levels?
  7. (14:38) CHIA’s methodology has been challenged by certain large players in Massachusetts. In particular, some contended they were incorrectly portrayed as being more costly than they really are. What are your thoughts?
  8. (18:12) CHIA is focused on data collection and dissemination, but in some cases it seems that data is getting harder to access. For example, MHDC used to provide raw hospital discharge data but no longer does so. And it is difficult to access detailed Massachusetts Medicaid spending data by provider or service line. Is this an area of concern for you? Are there steps you are taking to make these data more accessible?
  9. (22:08) What do you expect to change for CHIA under the Baker Administration? Or, if you can’t say, what are the issues that could be on the table?
  10. (25:40) Anything else?

Boros encourages anyone who has ideas about what CHIA should do to contact his office.

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.