Michael Honigberg

2010 Public Policy Summer Fellow

May 1, 2010

Graduate Degree: Harvard Medical School
Undergraduate Degree:Princeton University
Area of Interest:Health Care Policy
Mentor: Phyllis Rappaport, Chair, Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Charitable Foundation
Supervisor:Amy Smalarz, Director of Performance Measurement
Project Description:This summer, Michael worked at the Massachusetts Division of Health Care Finance and Policy in the Health Systems Policy group. There, he developed and delivered a comprehensive briefing on health care quality measurement and reporting for the Commissioner and later delivered it to the entire Division. This research will be used heavily by the agency in future research, analysis, and public discussion on health care quality and cost. The Commissioner, in particular, will draw on this work in his position on the state Health Care Quality and Cost Council and also when he begins his chairmanship of a forthcoming state committee on quality measurement. Additionally, he researched and wrote a white paper on accountable care organizations (ACOs), a new model of organizing and paying for health care, recommended for implementation in Massachusetts by the 2009 Special Commission on Health Care Payment. Under the ACO model, groups of providers accept responsibility for the cost and quality of care delivered to a specific population of patients cared for by the group’s clinicians. Providers in ACOs will receive bonuses for controlling costs (a portion of savings below an established spending target) while meeting quality targets. ACOs are one possible tool in the state’s arsenal of strategies for combating high and growing health care costs.

Michael says that the Rappaport Public Policy Fellowship was an ideal way to spend my summer. He learned an enormous amount about state and national health policy and its political context, met and observed key actors in state health policy at work, and contributed tangibly to my host agency (the Massachusetts Division of Health Care Finance and Policy). In addition, the fellowship provided fantastic opportunities to connect with leaders in health and health policy and to learn about Boston and other areas of policy and civic life. "I'll draw on some of the relationships and connections I formed this summer for many years to come. This experience has solidified my desire to pursue advanced study in policy to supplement my medical degree and to make policy a core component of my medical career."