MHAC Offers Comments on AGO Community Benefits Guidelines

Following a series of public meetings and listening sessions held across the state, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) will be working towards revised Community Benefits Guidelines for non profit acute care hospitals and health maintenance organizations with input from the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative.

The AGO last revised Community Benefits Guidelines in 2009 and is nearing the end of a process to align with Department of Public Health priorities and their revised Determination of Need regulations, among other changes in the public health landscape. The AGO staff and Advisory Task Force has also bee reviewing other federal and state guidelines in an effort to streamline the process for hospitals and HMOs that must report on their Community Benefits expenditures.

In its comments, the Healthy Aging Collaborative (MHAC) highlighted its work with Age- and Dementia Friendly Communities while encouraging support of those efforts by the AGO. Since Age- and Dementia Friendly communities tend to focus on improving social determinants of health for older adults and people of all ages within a city, town or region, MHAC emphasized the following research presented to the AGO’s Task Force.

Dr. Soma Stout and Dr. Don Berwick from the institute for Healthcare Improvement highlighted these themes in their presentation to the AGO Community Benefits Task Force at their September 5th meeting. Their data attributed 10 percent responsibility to “health care” in terms of what determines population health. Their research found that “more than 85 % of aggregate community benefit spending was related to access to patient care services (the 10% contributor)” while “only 15% of community benefits [are] targeted toward or aligned with the social, behavioral, and environmental determinants of health – which is the 60% driver of impact.”

Read more on MHAC’s Comments to the AGO’s Community Benefits revisions here.

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