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Yesterday the SustiNet Board heard from eHealthConnecticut , a CT nonprofit created four years ago to develop a secure statewide health information exchange. The Board includes broad representation across the health care spectrum including physicians, hospitals, clinics, pharmacists, employers, insurers, academics, quality organizations, state agencies, policymakers and consumer advocates including the CT Health Policy Project. Scott Cleary described eHealthCT’s three main projects to date. The CT Health Quality Cooperative allows physicians to compare their performance on a variety of quality measures to their colleagues across the state and nation. CHQC is one of only a handful of similar quality comparison projects in the US. eHealthCT is also working on a pilot health information exchange set to go live next February for Medicaid clients. (Editorial comment: How great is it that we are starting health information exchange in CT with the Medicaid population – usually the last to benefit from innovation.) eHealthCT has also submitted CT’s application for federal stimulus funds to create a health information technology regional training center to assist providers adopting electronic medical records. The SustiNet Board also began approving members of the advisory committees, but is continuing to accept names. The next meeting of the Board will be with committees on Nov. 23rd. As much of the work is now happening in the committees and task forces, the full Board will not meet again until January. You can sign up for alerts on SustiNet meetings and publications online.

At the Health Care Workforce Task Force meeting yesterday afternoon, the group finalized a list of groups we will reach out to for input and recommendations. The next meetings of the task force will be early next year with these groups. There was interest in mapping providers across the state geographically, tracking not only numbers of providers but patient access to care, particularly for Medicaid and HUSKY, including the public health workforce in our deliberations, how technology can help improve training, and measures to address skyrocketing prescription drug costs. The task force agreed to ask for a joint meeting with the Allied Health Workforce Policy Board which has been working for several years to identify and address areas of need. Chancellor Mark Herzog provided the task force with a compilation of the allied health and nursing programs at each of CT’s community colleges. Decisions about what programs to offer is driven by community demand, market forces, and constraints on state funding. Nursing is the most expensive program to offer.
Ellen Andrews