Friday, September 22, 2017

Webinar; CT Health Link -- new CT Health Information Exchange

Next Thursday, September 28th from 10:00 to 11:30am the Complex Care Committee of the Medicaid Council (MAPOC) will host a webinar demonstrating a new statewide Health Information Exchange. The ability for all providers treating each patient to access the information they need to provide the best care is critical. The CT State Medical Society, with KaMMCO Health Solutions, has built a health information exchange, CT Health Link, to serve exactly this purpose for Connecticut. CT Health Link offers a suite of HIT tools to help health professionals across the state connect, analyze, engage and transform health care in our state. Join us to hear about this new tool and how it can especially benefit consumers with complex health needs.

Join WebEx meeting  
Meeting number: 596 303 372  
 

Join by phone 
Call-in toll-free number: 1-(866) 578-5693 (US) 
Conference Code: 785 357 2699  



Thursday, September 21, 2017

Census data finds CT uninsured rate dropping and a few other things

New data from the US Census finds that the number of CT uninsured was down last year to 172,000, a drop of almost half from 2013. The gains are largely due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expansions of Medicaid and insurance subsidies. The data also highlight the opposite impact of the recession. While employer-sponsored coverage has been dropping, it fell at three times the rate annually during the recession years of 2008 to 2013 than since the ACA expansion. Medicaid also grew at about the same rate annually during the recession, that cost CT 119,000 jobs, than since the Medicaid expansion. Click here for the brief

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Independent advocates seek answers about Medicaid experiment

The Medicaid Study Group, a collaboration of CT independent consumer advocates, sent a list of critical questions about PCMH+ to DSS yesterday. PCMH+ is Medicaid’s controversial new payment experiment affecting over 100,000 people and scheduled for a massive expansion next year. Advocates have submitted questions in writing because we have not been able to ask questions of DSS at Medicaid Council meetings.  The questions address concerns with the lack of program evaluation, care management, funding, quality improvement, consumer engagement, communications and transparency. The department’s responses are here.

Monday, September 11, 2017

State CHIP program that covers 17,331 CT children at risk without federal action

MACPAC estimates that, without federal extension of funding for the CHIP program, CT will run out of funds in February. Our state CHIP program, also called HUSKY Part B, provided subsidized coverage 17,133 children as of August 1st. Created by Congress in 1997, the CHIP program has provided coverage to 3.67 million children across the US living in families with incomes just over the Medicaid limit. CT receives an 88% federal match for both HUSKY B children and HUSKY A children (Medicaid) living in families with incomes over 138% of the federal poverty level. This match provides CT with over $70 million in reimbursement yearly for children’s health coverage. All states will run out of funds by July of next year. At Friday’s Medicaid Council meeting, DSS stated that without a federal extension, they will have to close down the program in mid-December to cover obligations when current funds run out. Created by Like Medicaid, CHIP is jointly funded by states and the federal government, but is administered by states. Current CHIP funding expires on September 30th of this year. The program has bipartisan Congressional support but advocates are concerned that legislation to extend CHIP could serve as a vehicle to cut Medicaid or repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

CT News Junkie Op-Ed: Is overtreatment really a thing?

There is a growing consensus in health policy circles that overtreatment is the source of all problems in our health care system. Like most common beliefs, there is some truth to it. For example, clinical research is clear that stents inserted into the arteries of people not having a heart attack do nothing to prevent heart attacks or extend life, even a little bit. But hundreds of thousands of Americans get stents inserted every year anyway. Talking to people about overtreatment, I find two opposite reactions. Read more

September CT Health Reform Dashboard – little changing, and that’s not good

CT’s September Health Reform Dashboard update is about the same as last month. Medicaid policy development and implementation is still mired in mistrust, rushing ahead without data, quality problems, and a lack of transparency while state officials refuse to answer questions. Thankfully physicians and others are taking the reins and building a badly needed health information exchange, because state government has been unable to get it done. The state budget remains dreary and while ACA repeal and replace efforts are cooling off, serious risks remain. In good news, the Health Care Cabinet workgroups continue digging into our work to control drug costs in CT. Growing mistrust remains at the core of problems in CT.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

From the Book Club: An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back

This latest addition to the CT Health Policy Project Book Club should be required reading for everyone. I’ve been a health policy analyst for over twenty years and I learned something new on every page. I couldn’t read it in one shot – I kept throwing it down in disgust. The author is a former ER physician, former NY Times reporter, and now editor of Kaiser Health News. She lays out the problems with our broken health care system -- sector by sector. But she doesn’t leave us there. The second half of the book is full of very specific actions for consumers to protect themselves, with resources, and realistic, meaningful policy changes that can start healing our broken health system. For more reading, visit the CT Health Policy Project Book Club.