Create an Office of Health Strategy – The Time Has Come

By Rosana Garcia


At Bradley Airport, planes from different places around the world arrive at one destination.

Health care in the state is similar – many different players, initiatives and programs are heading to one destination – to provide health care for Connecticut residents.

Every airport needs air traffic control to coordinate, plan and oversee the many planes in the air.

Our state needs a central hub of coordination, planning and oversight – that can ensure that all of the many moving parts arrive at the destination of better care and better health for our residents.

Senate Bill 795 (SB 795) does just that – it creates an Office of Health Strategy (OHS) that brings together health and health care programs, initiatives, agencies and functions for improved oversight, planning and coordination.

The Office of Health Strategy:

  • is designed to be revenue neutral, and use existing funds of state agencies to create more efficiency, synergy and positive impact – this isn’t about spending more money on something new, but about bringing together existing resources to get the best from our health care system
  • allows agencies and organizations to learn from each other – to build on successes and address challenges together
  • builds the foundation of health care data and information that can help inform policy making decisions and to make sure we are achieving positive outcomes – which Connecticut has been struggling to do for several years
  • allows the state to respond to potential changes at the federal level

Back in 2015, the Foundation called upon the state legislature to pass an omnibus bill on health care, specifically because we had “no state entity officially responsible for facilitating health systems planning and design – we’re uncoordinated and siloed in our approaches.”  Creating OHS would be a big step forward to address this challenge.

The proposal to create OHS comes from the 2016 Health Care Cost Containment Study (which came from Public Act 15-146, a health care bill that addressed many issues in our system).

One major lesson from last year’s study (we’ve written previously about it, and all the materials from that study are available) was that states that are finding success with improving their health care systems have a central hub of coordination.  This includes states like Vermont, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington.

Connecticut is long overdue for this coordination.  We have a lot of good work going on – but if we’re going to arrive at the same destination, we need that air traffic control – that Office of Health Strategy.

SB 795 also makes improvements to Connecticut’s Certificate of Need program and the functions of the Office of Health Care Access, which are critical to support the Office of Health Strategy.  We will fill you in on those proposals in a blog next week.

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