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|Graduate Degree: Harvard School of Public Health
Undergraduate Degree: Binghamton University
Area of Interest: Health Care Finance Issues
Mentors: Renee Landers, Suffolk University Law School
Agency: Massachusetts Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector
Project Description: Melissa spent her summer working at the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority (“the Health Connector”), Massachusetts’s health care exchange, which has served as the model for state exchanges opening nationwide in response to national health reform.
Melissa is interested in the drivers of health care costs in the United States, specifically how different payment models affect the behaviors of health care providers and, ultimately, the cost of health care. With Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012, Massachusetts passed several regulations that were designed to address the high cost of health care in the Commonwealth and called upon the Health Connector, among other state agencies, to promote and implement alternative payment methodologies. Helping the agency comply with this regulation, Melissa’s project explored alternatives to fee-for-service, the predominant payment methodology in Massachusetts and nationwide. She researched payment reform experiments and independent studies measuring the efficacy of such models. She also interviewed insurance companies on the Health Connector’s shelf to learn what they’re doing to advance payment reform among provider organizations, and to get their insight about the possible pitfalls of alternative payment methodologies. Melissa presented her findings to the Policy and Communications team and proposed a course of action for how better to promote payment reform in the Commonwealth in accordance with state regulations.