Health Reform: Ready or Not, Here it Comes!
Today’s post was written by Monette Goodrich, Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs.
Health reform presents every state with a great opportunity to not only increase access to health insurance coverage, but also help to contain costs and, more importantly, improve health outcomes. This purpose of health reform aligns nicely with the Connecticut Health Foundation’s (CT Health) mission (to improve the health status of the people of Connecticut, especially the un- and under-served) and funding priority areas — children’s mental health, oral health, racial & ethnic health disparities. So, it makes sense that President & CEO Patricia Baker and I will be closely monitoring health reform implementation efforts on both the state and federal levels.
While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a federal law, health reform implementation has been left up to individual states. The state of Connecticut, via legislation passed earlier this year, has established the Office of Health Reform & Innovation within the Lt. Governor’s office, the Health Insurance Exchange Board, and the SustiNet Health Care Cabinet to transform the promise of federal requirements, regulations and laws into a reality.
Office of Health Reform & Innovation
Headed by Special Advisor to the Governor on Health Reform Jeannette DeJesús, the role of the Office of Health Reform & Innovation is to coordinate and implement the state’s responsibilities under state and federal healthcare reform. The three priorities of health reform for Connecticut include:
- Promoting health by improving health outcomes, eliminating health disparities, prioritizing prevention, managing chronic illness, coordinating care and engaging people in their own health
- Improving access by improving health insurance affordability, developing a stronger provider network, assuring health benefits meet consumer needs, improving the patient experience, fostering competition and ensuring that the right services are done at the right time
- Reducing costs by understanding health care cost drivers, improving health and access and rewarding quality care
Website visitors – www.healthreform.ct.gov can sign up for email updates on the Cabinet, Exchange and other activities of the Office.
Health Insurance Exchange Board
The 14-member Health Insurance Exchange Board must create health insurance exchanges for both small business and individuals by Jan. 1, 2014, with open enrollment beginning in the fall of 2013. The four major work areas of the Board include:
- Administrative operations and information technology (IT) infrastructure development
- Eligibility and enrollment determination
- Health plan certification requirements
- Consumer outreach
As part of the administrative infrastructure, the Board appointed two subcommittees during its first meeting this week. One subcommittee will conduct a national search for an executive director of Connecticut’s health insurance exchange. Another will develop a request for proposal (RFP) for legal services to establish the exchange as a quasi-governmental body.
The SustiNet Health Care Cabinet
The 28-member SustiNet Health Care Cabinet is charged with advising the governor and the Office of Health Reform & Innovation on the development of a statewide, integrated health care system. Cabinet members will work in smaller subcommittees to produce recommendations in six key areas:
- Health care delivery system and payment reform
- Business plan development
- Health technology
- Connecticut Initiative
- Statewide multi-payer data
- Consumer advisory
Specific “deliverables” for all six work groups are currently being developed.
Based on her experience at CT Health, Oxford Health Plans, March of Dimes and Planned Parenthood (in both Connecticut and Wisconsin), Gov. Dannel Malloy selected our own Pat Baker and board member Tory Westbrook, M.D., to serve on the Cabinet. In its first meeting earlier this week, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who serves as chair of the Cabinet, also asked Pat to serve as vice chair, where she will provide leadership in managing the deliverables of the six work groups.
An active practice advance practice registered nurse (APRN) and health information technology industry representative have not been named. If you have any suggestions, please forward them to CT Health and we’ll make sure they get to the appropriate nominating authority.
We also welcome any suggestions or ideas you have for the Cabinet. Questions about health reform? If I can’t answer your questions, I’ll track down someone who can.