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Archive for January 2015

New to the Book Club — How Not to Be Wrong

The title of the latest addition to the CT Health Policy Project Book Club, How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking, sold this book but the content delivered on the promise. It was entertaining and funny – not what you expect from a book about math. The author dives into fascinating questions…

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CT exchange members more likely to get financial assistance and slightly older than other states

The latest federal ACA enrollment report finds that AccessHealthCT, CT’s health insurance exchange, received 76,460 total applications between Nov. 15th and Jan. 16th. 162,921 state residents were found eligible for Medicaid. Of the 142,287 applicants eligible for exchange coverage, 77% are also eligible for financial assistance – higher than the 70% average across all state-based…

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Budget Update: more interim budget cuts, calls for long term fix, Medicaid deficit due to temporary issues

In response to a growing budget shortfall for this year, last week the Governor ordered $31.5 million in budget rescissions. This is the Governor’s second round of cuts for this fiscal year. Health-related cuts included $8.4 m from DDS, $1.3 m from DMHAS, $602,435 from school-based health clinics, $71,515 from Healthy Start, and $1.3m from…

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FDA Advisory Committee recommends new orphan anti-infective drug

Yesterday’s FDA Anti-Infective Drug Advisory Committee meeting considered evidence about the safety and effectiveness of ISA, a new drug to treat a rare fungal infection threatening the lives of people with severe illnesses. The condition affects a few thousand Americans each year suffering from weakened immune systems due to conditions such as HIV, stem cell…

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Medicaid deficit rises to $120 million, but causes are unclear

The Governor announced yesterday that new cuts to the state budget will be necessary due to the rising state deficit. A large part of that deficit is in the Medicaid program, but the causes are unclear. Per person costs in the program are stable, even declining slightly since the switch away from financial risk-bearing organizations…

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Medicaid update – impressive quality dashboard demo

At Friday’s Medicaid Council meeting, DSS demonstrated their upcoming HUSKY Health Data Dashboard. When it goes live the dashboard will give visitors drill-down access to a wealth of quality and access data across the program including outcomes, member and provider experience, provider enrollment, spending and utilization, as well as special projects. All Medicaid services will…

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Rhode Island’s exchange trusted consumers and it worked

Exchanges across the country had to decide last year whether to require current members to return this year and choose a health plan or automatically re-enroll them in their old plan if they don’t choose to switch. A federal study found that 70% of consumers would save money if they switched. But there was general…

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Surgical hospital coming to CT, promises to serve Medicaid

The Hospital for Special Surgery has received approval to open a large outpatient center in Stamford, according to Crain’s New York Business. The New York hospital has a reputation for very high quality and serving wealthy patients. But as a condition of DPH approval, HSS has agreed that 10% of their CT patients will be…

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Only half of fully-insured US Medicaid providers available

A new HHS-OIG surveyfound that only 49% of providers listed as participating by full-risk Medicaid managed care plans were available for routine, non-urgent appointments. When CT had full-risk MCOs running our Medicaid program, a secret shopper survey found that shoppers could only schedule appointments with 25% of listed providers. But things have improved significantly in…

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