Monday, March 10, 2014
Join us this Wednesday March 12th, 5pm at Harkness Auditorium, 333 Cedar Street, in New Haven for a panel on the changing health care landscape. Panelists include Ben Barnes, OPM Secretary, Lisa D’Abrosca, AFT Local 5049 at L&M Hospital, Paul Taheri, Yale Medical Group, Joseph Neff, Raleigh News & Observer, and George Jepsen, CT Attorney General. Rev. Tracy Johnson Russell, Vicar at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in New Haven, will moderate. The forum is co-sponsored by Local 34 and 35 Unite Here, Universal Health Care Fndn of CT, CT AFL-CIO, and the CT Health Policy Project.
Friday, March 7, 2014
Final results from a study confirm that, contrary to predictions, CT’s 2011 paid sick leave law did not cause an undue burden on businesses or the state’s economy. Confirming preliminary results, the study found that the law has brought important relief to tens of thousands of workers, predominantly in health/education/social services, hospitality and retail establishments, and especially part-time and nonunion workers. Few affected businesses reported abuses of the law – on average workers used less than half the sick days available to them, and one in three workers didn’t use any sick days in the last year. Many employers reported improved morale and reductions in the spread of illness. 77% of affected employers surveyed now support the law. One employer who had actively opposed the legislation commented that the new law “doesn’t even hit the radar screen.”
Thursday, March 6, 2014
I don’t believe CEPAC has addressed as sensitive an issue as supplemental screening for dense breast tissue. We heard very moving public testimony from survivors and advocates at the December meeting. About half of women have dense breast tissue and face the questions of determining their risks, whether to have supplemental screening, and if so, what screening to get. An important product of these meetings is the final action guide for patients, clinicians, payers and policymakers – now available for this issue. The action guide ensures that the science doesn’t just sit on a shelf but is translated into real tools to make better decisions. The consumer guide with 5 Questions for Women with Dense Breast Tissue to Ask their Doctor is available in English and Spanish.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
In the first survey since the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions became effective, state health thoughtleaders’ perception of our state’s progress hasn’t changed much. CT again earned a C+ on health reform, and interestingly a somewhat lower C grade for effort in the latest survey. Among issue areas, CT continues to earn better marks for Medicaid, patient-centered medical homes and the health insurance exchange. The lowest marks are for health information technology, engaging consumers in policymaking, and payment reform/quality improvement. Thoughtleaders’ suggestions to improve progress are to engage consumers, smarter policymaking and leadership, and to improve communication and public education. The survey is part of the CT Health Reform Dashboard.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Monday, March 3, 2014
In the latest Gallup Well-Being Index CT dropped to 31st among states in 2013; we were in pretty good shape at 16th the year before. The Index includes typical measures such as rates of obesity, smoking, depression and eating produce, but also includes questions about other, less well measured but critical well-being indicators such as having safe places to exercise and learning new and interesting things daily. CT scores behind VT, MA, NH and ME in New England, but ahead of RI. By domain, CT’s best performance is in Healthy Behaviors (9th); our worst domain is Work Environment (49th). CT’s drop of 15 ranks from 2012 to 2013 was the second worst among states.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
SIM is recruiting consumers, advocates and providers for workgroups to implement the administration’s health reform plan. SIM has been criticized for excluding critical stakeholders, especially consumers and advocates, in developing the original reform plan that is to cover at least 80% of all state residents in five years with a controversial payment model. Advocates are concerned that consumers will not receive independent support to ensure their interests are protected as a minority in workgroups with sophisticated insurance and other health care industry representatives. Advocates are also concerned that qualifications for consumers and advocates require agreement to support the already finalized SIM plan that included little stakeholder input and to further support the, as-yet-undecided recommendations of the workgroups. In a meeting called by SIM staff, advocates recommended that consumers make up a majority of workgroup members and that consumers choose their representatives (rather than the administration or their appointees). Neither recommendation was adopted or even discussed by the SIM steering committee. Despite this, it is critical that independent consumers and advocates apply for appointment. Independent consumer advocates are working on developing outside, independent resources to support those members with unbiased, full information on health policy options and effective advocacy. Applications are being accepted until March 19th.