Coverage unfair to hospitals

January 12, 2010

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THE GLOBE’S article “Executives snub hearing on rising health care costs’’ (Metro, Jan. 8) and subsequent editorial “Hospitals disrespect state by shunning cost hearings’’ (Jan. 11) were unfair and misrepresented the participation level of Massachusetts hospitals in hearings called by the state’s Division of Insurance, and dismissed our hospitals’ longstanding commitment to working collaboratively toward health care cost control.

Hospitals are in no way “snubbing’’ the hearing process, which is occurring over four days and taking in both written and in-person testimony. Many hospitals were unable to attend in person due to the short notice, scheduling conflicts, and lack of time to prepare answers to questions that were not received until New Year’s Eve when the first hearing date was Jan. 7. As an alternative, the Massachusetts Hospital Association has encouraged hospitals who can’t participate in person to submit written testimony by the Jan. 15 deadline, and many have indicated they are planning to do that.

Hospitals are very interested in participating in the process and in helping to inform the Patrick administration concerning the questions that were posed. Massachusetts hospitals, both as care providers and as major employers that bear the costs of good health benefits for their workers, have been helping to find achievable, lasting solutions to the challenges of escalating health care costs, and will continue to do so.

In addition, MHA is scheduled to testify Tuesday on behalf of all our member hospitals. The headlines, article, and editorial did a disservice to the state’s hospitals, which are committed to working in the best interest of patients and all stakeholders in the critically important areas of payment and health care reform.

Lynn Nicholas, President and CEO, Massachusetts Hospital Association, Burlington

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