Over half the recommended budget proposals for state budget savings from the Commission on Enhancing Agency Outcomes focus on health care spending. The savings center on prescription spending in Medicaid and moving nursing home residents to assisted living. The Commission is Co-Chaired by Sen. Gayle Slossberg and Rep. James Spallone. Ellen Andrews

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An online survey by the CT State Medical Society found that 78% of the 360 state physicians who responded would restrict access to care for Medicare and TRICARE patients if rates are cut. Nineteen percent of respondents would stop taking any Medicare or TRICARE patients at all, 31% would limit the number of new patients…

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A study found that one third of people who were told they needed heart bypass surgery did not need it. Tens of thousands of Americans have back surgery for pain when there is no evidence to support it; studies have found that pain management and therapy are more effective. The 70 million CT scans performed…

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Two years ago, the state increased payment rates to providers in the Medicaid fee-for-service program and required that the HUSKY HMOs pay providers at least fee-for-service rates within the managed care program. The change in HMO contracts to require higher rates was included in the program’s federal waiver and capitation rates paid to plans were…

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Two calls just this morning came from consumers covered by Medicaid being charged by hospitals. One was a mother on HUSKY Part A charged $281 by a hospital for services she already received. But the first call was from a man on Medicaid who was told by the hospital that they would not schedule the…

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Stan Dorn of the Urban Institute outlined the estimated costs of six SustiNet coverage options at yesterday’s Board meeting. Under any of the options Connecticut’s uninsured rate drops by more than half, the state budget deficit is improved, small businesses save (mainly by reducing the number of workers they cover), SustiNet grows into a significant,…

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Consumer advocates demonstrated their concerns at a CT Insurance Dept. public hearing about Anthem’s request to raise premiums 20% or more. The consumers outlined the enormous economic burden this places on state residents and businesses while unemployment remains high and Anthem’s parent company made millions in profits last quarter. Policymakers questioned Anthem’s documentation to justify…

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Unfortunately, CMS did not approve CT’s application to include Medicare in our patient-centered medical home plans for state employees and Medicaid. If it helps, we are in good company – Massachusetts and Maryland, states with sophisticated reform efforts – also did not get approved. But the good news is that the partners are all interested…

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CT’s pilot Medicaid health information exchange (HIE) project is up and securely sharing patient information successfully. Affirmative consent is collected from patients and registered with the HIE. The system can accommodate, among other things, secure email, eReferrals, lab data exchange, radiology image viewing and should conform with meaningful use criteria. The project has taken years…

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Yesterday’s NY Times Week in Review included a compelling graphic comparison of the federal budget deficit and options to fill it. The page long piece uses blocks to illustrate the size of the hole and how much or how little each option contributes to the solution. The options include spending cuts and revenue enhancements (taxes);…

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