By Jill Zorn |
Since our founding, Universal Health Care Foundation has been fighting for Connecticut to be an innovator that raises up the needs of everyday people when it comes to access to comprehensive, affordable health care for all.
Connecticut has made a lot of progress to improve our health care system. We were a leader in implementing the Affordable Care Act, including the successful launch and ongoing operation of our health insurance marketplace, Access Health CT. Our Medicaid program and our State Employee Health Plan have taken innovative approaches to promoting health and restraining costs. We have a State Innovation Model project, funded by a major grant from the federal government, that is bringing together public and private sector players to implement common payment and service delivery reforms.
And we have a Healthcare Cabinet, an advisory body chaired by Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, which brings together health care stakeholders to explore ways to improve health and health care for all Connecticut residents.
But, we have lacked a centralized oversight agency for coordinating our efforts, for helping both state government entities and the private health care sector row in the same direction. In fact, the Healthcare Cabinet, in a major study of cost containment models in other states, recommended that Connecticut establish such an office.
As of February 1, 2018, with the creation of the new Office of Health Strategy, that is no longer the case.
Office of Health Strategy
The new Office of Health Strategy (OHS) will drive policy strategy that, “…improves health outcomes and limits health care cost growth across all sectors, whether private or public, including hospitals, physicians and clinical services and prescription drugs”.
OHS combines existing efforts already underway in Connecticut, and combines them into an agency focused on a comprehensive approach to health system improvement. Those existing programs include:
- State Innovation Model (SIM)
- Office of Health Information Technology
- Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) (joining OHS by July)
The Executive Director of OHS is Victoria Veltri, formerly Lt. Governor Wyman’s Chief Health Policy Advisor and the state’s Healthcare Advocate. Ms. Veltri writes in her welcome message on the OHS website:
Connecticut needs clear vision to help the residents of our state secure the care they need in the complex and rapidly-changing world of health care delivery and payment. We need to make the best use of information and data from many sources so that we can find models that work and test them to make sure they support better health for our people and contain costs. And we need to break down barriers and transform the ways in which we work together so that government, health care providers, payers and consumers can drive the best ideas for Connecticut.
We agree and are proud of the role the Foundation played to create the Office of Health Strategy!
To learn more
Go HERE to read more about the Office of Health Strategy
To learn more about how Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington have focused on coordinating health policy, go HERE. Download the Healthcare Cabinet report and look at pages 19-20 and Appendix B (page 56).
To learn more about the importance of state accountability and oversight, visit this resource page of the Healthcare Value Hub.