Health Care Cabinet Explores How to Ensure Health Care is Affordable 

By Rosana Garcia 

Yesterday, the Health Care Cabinet dug deep into health care pricing as part of their new charge—recommending cost containment models for the state.

As part of SB 811 (now Public Act 15-146), the legislature required the Health Care Cabinet to conduct a study, and ultimately generate recommendations, on cost containment models for Connecticut.

Bailit Health was the selected consultant to conduct the study.  Most of the Health Care Cabinet’s meetings in 2016 will focus on digging deep into this topic.  Bailit Health will be reporting throughout the year and seeking feedback from the Cabinet.  The Cabinet will also be hearing from different experts on various related topics.

Yesterday’s meeting (see agenda) was robust and full of critical information for the Cabinet.

The meeting opened with a public comment period.  Maritza Bond of Eastern Area Health Education Center (AHEC) discussed the community impact of the erosion of services at Windham Hospital after being acquired by Hartford Health Care.  Dr. Fred Hyde, a long-time health industry consultant, warned that you can’t “unscramble the egg” of hospital consolidation, and said to look to the past as a cautionary tale for moving forward.

Ella Wood, of UNITE HERE, discussed their recent paper, The Impact of Yale-New Haven Health System’s Expansion, which raises concerns about Yale-New Haven Health System’s proposed affiliation with Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London.  Lisa D’Abrosca, the president of the nurse’s union at L+M Hospital, raised her concerns that this merger was more of a “hostile takeover” and that it was important to put “patients before profit.”

Zack Cooper, a professor at Yale, presented on his recent paper, The Price Ain’t Right? Hospital Prices and Health Spending on the Private Insured.  The CT Mirror’s Arielle Levin Becker takes a closer look at his presentation in today’s article, Expert: Transparency, savvy patients, competition key in tackling health care prices.  Also, check out his presentation, which is a much more condensed version of his paper and specifically addresses Connecticut’s hospital prices.

To wrap up this interesting meeting, the consultants presented on Vermont’s health care reform.  Vermont has aggressively addressed health reform, including access, delivery and payment reform, and quality improvement.  Bailit Health pointed out that leadership invested in health reform, a collaborative culture, and strong regulatory power have been three keys to success in Vermont.  It also helps that Vermont has a robust data collection and management system.

Vermont’s successes include the Blueprint for Health, a patient-centered medical home program that has seen impressive returns on investment, and the Green Mountain Care Board’s hospital budget reviews that have helped to rein in spending.

While it is too soon to tell which of these ideas the Health Care Cabinet may recommend to the legislature, there is still much more to learn about other states and from other experts.  The final report is expected to be completed by December.

We will be keeping a close eye on all the potential ideas and examine the final report when it is complete.

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2 Responses to Health Care Cabinet Explores How to Ensure Health Care is Affordable 

  1. Pingback: Health Care in the 2016 Legislative Session | Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut

  2. Pingback: Tough Decisions Ahead for Addressing Health Care Cost and Quality in Connecticut | Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut

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