CT Sees Little Change in Health System Performance 

By Max Friedman 

CaptureNew scores are out — giving us a better look at how Connecticut is performing in health care compared to other states.

In Commonwealth Fund’s annual scorecard, Connecticut held steady in the rankings of state health system performance. The state rose one slot in 2015 to fifth, and tied with Rhode Island and New Hampshire, which was just below Massachusetts.

Some other highlights:

  • CT remained in the top 10 in all major categories except for measures on “Avoidable Hospital Use & Cost,” where the Nutmeg State fell to 28 from 26 in the 2014 report.
  • The state improved on eight out of 36 trending indicators, worsened on four, and was flat on the remaining 24.

Looking at the report on Connecticut, it’s clear that the state has work to do when it comes to health care access and affordability for vulnerable populations, notably low-income and minority groups.

  • When looking at state performance for low-income populations, Connecticut ranked sixth overall.
  • The rate of adults with poor health-related quality of life worsened between 2013 and 2014.
  • The state ranks 32nd in Hispanic adults who went without care because of cost in the past year.
  • While it ranks first in measures of Hispanic children having recommended vaccines, the overall vaccination rate fell from 78 percent in 2013 to 73 percent in 2014, with a national rank of 18.

And even on measures where the state is on top, there is still more work to do. The report highlights that less than half of older adults in Connecticut received all the recommended preventative care, such as cancer screenings and flu shots, in the appropriate time frame.

The data is broken down further by Hospital Referral Regions (HRR), which are Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport.

Of those three:

  • Hartford area is ranked 18th overall out of 306 nationally.
  • Bridgeport is 31st and New Haven is 44th.
  • All three CT regions rank in the top 20 on access indicators, but range from 127 to 210 in the rankings on avoidable hospital use and cost measures, with Bridgeport and New Haven placing in the bottom 50 percent in the rankings.

This data is provided in the context of what other states are doing, and estimates the impact of improvements if Connecticut matched the best performing states.

For example, if the state matched the highest performing state (Massachusetts), 139,000 more adults would have a regular source of care to ensure that care is coordinated and accessible when needed. Over 87,000 more Connecticut children would have a medical home to ensure that they had coordinated and accessible care if we matched Vermont’s performance.

Much of this data is a few years old, so it will be interesting to watch what happens as the effects of Medicaid expansion, subsidized private insurance, and other provisions of the Affordable Care Act show up in the numbers.

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