ConneCT consumer portal looks good

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Today’s Medicaid Council focused on ConneCT, DSS’s new consumer portal and document management system. The demonstration by Deloitte was impressive. Unlike the insurance exchange portal, also developed by Deloitte, the DSS system is consumer-friendly, understandable, intuitive, quick, and will integrate medical assistance with other state assistance programs. The DSS portal took less than 5 minutes and only a few questions to get to an answer. In contrast, the exchange portal requires 50 minutes and 34 pages to get to a tentative statement of eligibility for benefits. The DSS portal pages were clear, included useful graphics, easy to read and available in Spanish. Deloitte also demonstrated a ne DSS phone system that allows the same access to information for clients without internet access. DSS workers will also be moving to a paperless system that will reduce processing delays, coordinate with better clients, lower costs and protect privacy. Parts of the DSS system are already online – 3,000 DSS clients have already signed up for a personal account to track their benefits and paperwork. Online applications, redeterminations and change reporting are expected in August. We also heard from the Allied Health Workforce Policy Board about upcoming health care workforce shortages. CT is the seventh oldest state in the nation, affecting both demand for care and the age of our health care workers. The worst shortage is for registered nurses with the need growing 19% by 2020. Changes in the health care system will also require current workers to train in new skills. The Board’s recommendations include creating regional partnerships to support pipelines, creating a virtual CT Healthcare Workforce Center, investing in incumbent workers, expanding learning opportunities that link education and work, and partnerships to prepare the future health care workforce. DSS also described their plans, developed in collaboration with the Council’s Women’s Health Committee, to create an Obstetrics P4P program to reduce pre-term births and newborn intensive care stays. The state plans to spend $1.2 million on the P4P program to better connect pregnant women with care coordination earlier in their pregnancies. Newborn intensive care stays cost the state almost $30 million/year. DSS also announced that they are not taking new applications into the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) to ensure that the federal grant lasts until Jan.1st when health plans can no longer discriminate against people based on health status. DSS also described progress on the dual eligible care coordination application to CMS now due April 22nd.