Wednesday, July 1, 2015

CT health reform progress dips again

Unfortunately CT’s progress toward health reform dropped again to 27.5% this month, undermining last month’s gain. News that the state’s uninsured rate may not have dropped much, sharp increases in insurance premiums, SIM’s ethics, transparency and underservice council issues and budget cuts, especially HUSKY parents, all contributed to the decline. Bright spots include restoration of most Medicaid provider cuts, passage of SB-811, and Medicaid’s strong stakeholder engagement in reform planning. The CT health reform progress meter is part of the CT Health Reform Dashboard.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Budget implementer makes significant changes

Early this morning the House passed HB-1502 – the 686-page bill that describes how the state FY 2016-2018 budget passed four weeks ago is to be implemented. But the bill also makes numerous substantive changes to the original budget. In addition to tax reductions for large businesses, the bill includes the implementer language to cut coverage for 23,700 HUSKY parents, preserves funding to community health centers for future Medicaid shared savings changes, more funding for nursing home employees heavily weighted toward unionized workers, allows DSS to pay nursing homes based on patient acuity, delays some mental health coverage changes, removes property tax exemptions for new off-campus properties bought by Yale-New Haven and Hartford Hospital health systems, allows limited provider lists and cost-based hospital rates for workers compensation care, concussion notices for athletes, an ambulatory surgery center tax, expands coverage for autism treatment, changes how hospital Medicaid rates are structured, changes to Medicaid case management services, reforms Medicaid provider auditing, allows UConn grad students to join the Partnership Plan for health coverage, insurance coverage for certain off-label use of prescription drugs, expands reporting of impaired health care professionals, makes changes to the medical marijuana program, and creates new Men’s Health license plates.


The bill also includes a study by DSS and DPH due next June of community-based health care service capacity and high-utilizers of emergency dept.s.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Early numbers show CT uninsured rate dropped only 2.1% last year

A new CDC survey of early uninsured numbers by state, finds that CT’s uninsured rate fell from 9.1% in 2013 to 7.0% last year, the first year of coverage expansions under the Affordable Care Act. The US rate dropped to 11.5% from 14.4% in 2013. For some reason, CT’s drop was more consistent with states that did not expand Medicaid (2.1% average drop) rather than the 5.1% average drop in uninsured rate among expansion states like CT. The rate of public coverage in CT grew modestly from 33.3% to 35.9%, while private insurance coverage was essentially unchanged (64.0 % in 2013, 64.1% last year).  The uninsured rates measure the percent of people who report being uninsured at the time of the interview; the survey is conducted continuously over the year. The numbers were released prior to final data editing and weighting.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Webinar online – Caring for high-need patients – Lessons for CT

Evidence is growing that we cannot fix our health care system without addressing the needs of the small number of patients with very complex and costly health problems. Connecticut can learn from other programs across the US as we build reforms for our state and our Medicaid program.  On this week’s webinar we heard from Clemons Hong, MD, MPH; in addition to coordinating complex care management programs on the ground, Dr. Hong has written extensively about lessons learned across the country. Dr. Hong outlined how to identify and engage high-need patients, find opportunities for improvement and how to intervene effectively. The webinar includes policy and implementation best practices from similar programs across the US. Click here for slides, video and links to articles from the webinar.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Where We Live – Hospital CEO pay: How much is too much?

Last year, CT’s hospital CEOs averaged over $1million in compensation. Yesterday’s Where We Live focused on those salaries and the disconnect with quality of care. The lowest paid CEO in CT – at New Milford Hospital – runs the only CT hospital not penalized this year by Medicare for having too many patients return within 30 days. CT hospitals ranked second worst in the US on readmissions, and are falling behind across quality metrics. But CEO pay rose 17% on average last year. The rest of us averaged 3.1% increases. Hear the conversation online.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Webinar: Caring for High-Need, High-Cost Patients – Lessons for Connecticut

Join us Monday, June 22nd at 2pm for a webinar on best practices in complex care management for the most fragile and costly patients. Evidence is growing that we cannot fix our health care system without addressing the needs of the small number of patients with very complex and costly health problems. Luckily CT can learn from other programs across the US as we build reforms for our state and our Medicaid program.  On the webinar we’ll hear from Clemons Hong, MD, MPH, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. In addition to coordinating complex care management programs on the ground, Dr. Hong has written extensively about lessons learned across the country. Click here to register for the webinar.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

CT News Junkie reports on SIM ethics debate

Today’s CTNJ is reporting on the SIM ethics debate. The article points out that the weak conflict of interest policy proposed by SIM staff and adopted by the steering committee admits “Members of the advisory bodies may participate in program design and development decisions, even if they or their organizations may potentially reap a benefit.” At their next meeting, the committee plans to reconsider adopting the state Code of Ethics that governs all similar councils that are not appointed by the Lieutenant Governor.

A letter was sent yesterday to SIM committee members clarifying misstatements about Connecticut’s Code of Ethics.