HCN News & Notes

House Passes Kocot Health Care Legislation

BOSTON —  The state House of Representatives passed legislation that seeks to ensure residents across the Commonwealth have access to high-quality health care as the marketplace continues to experience volatility while, at the same time, laying the groundwork for continuous improvement to the Commonwealth’s nationally-leading health care infrastructure.

The Peter V. Kocot Act builds off the cost-containment goals of Chapter 224, Chapter 58, and the Special Commission on Provider Price Variation (PPV Commission) by appropriately recognizing the vital role that community hospitals and community health centers play, both as health care providers and economic drivers. These entities, which traditionally care for underserved populations and those in Gateway Cities and rural areas, will receive both long-term support and a one-time, three-year investment through the Community Hospital Reinvestment Trust Fund (CHRTF). Details of the assessment include:

  • $90 million contribution from hospitals which have less than 60 percent Medicaid patients and more than $750 million in net assets;
  • Up to $247.5 million from health insurers.

In addition to the assessment, the PVK Act raises professional license fees for various medical providers (these fees have not been raised since 2013) and assesses ambulatory surgery centers (ASC) and Urgent Care Centers (UCC) for the first time. This ongoing revenue source will continue to fund CHRTF in perpetuity.

“I had two priorities I was working towards in our healthcare legislation,” said state Rep. Aaron Vega (D-Holyoke), commenting on the legislation. “One was support for our community hospitals, like the Holyoke Medical Center, that are not always granted a level playing field with larger hospitals though they serve our most vulnerable populations. The other was the reauthorization and funding of the Prevention Wellness Trust Fund.  I am very pleased with the outcomes of both these priorities. I know my friend Peter Kocot would be proud that this Act bears his name.”

The PVK Act also reauthorizes the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF), created in Chapter 224, under the HPC with new reporting requirements. Funded through a transfer of funds from CHIA and new recreational marijuana revenue, the PWTF will focus its efforts on increasing access to community-based prevention services, reducing the impact of health condition drivers, and developing a stronger evidence base for effective prevention programming. A portion of the PWTF grants will go to regional grants to ensure that prevention dollars are dispersed throughout the Commonwealth.

“The Peter V. Kocot Act will bolster our community hospitals and community health centers during a unique time of change in the health care marketplace while maintaining our world renowned medical facilities,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “This carefully balanced plan seeks to preserve and enhance our healthcare environment in a way that reflects the work and legacy of its namesake, Chairman Peter V. Kocot.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.


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