CT healthcare quality just average, and not improving

The latest federal National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is not flattering for Connecticut. Across 159 measures of quality, Connecticut was above the US average on 39, below average on 38, and average for the remaining 82. In worse news, we aren’t getting any better. Compared with…

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CT gets a C+ for maternal and child health

The new 2022 March of Dimes Report Card gives Connecticut just average marks on how well we care for new moms and babies. Preterm births happen before 37 weeks of gestation; 40 weeks is typical. While that’s not good, it’s better than the US grade of D+ at 10.5% preterm births. Massachusetts and New Jersey…

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CT hospitals’ charity care varied widely last year, a bit more than US

Last year, uncompensated care at Connecticut’s 27 acute care hospitals averaged 1.8% of total expenses, according to the state’s latest report. However, that rate varied from 4.2% at Norwalk Hospital to 0.5% at CT Children’s. Uncompensated care is services provided that hospitals are not paid for. It includes charity care, which hospitals forgive from the…

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CT hospital readmission penalties higher than US, again

Even with an eased formula due to COVID, all but one acute care Connecticut hospital will be penalized by Medicare next year for higher-than-expected readmission rates. Next year, Connecticut hospitals will be docked by 0.456% on their Medicare payments, higher than the US average of 0.428%. Average Connecticut hospital readmission penalties have been higher than…

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CTNJ Analysis: Yale-New Haven Health announces layoffs while planning to buy 3 hospitals, and why it matters

It’s puzzling. Yale-New Haven Health System recently announced 72 layoffs and eliminated 155 positions among their managers, but they scored large profits last year and they have enough money to buy three more Connecticut hospitals. If approved by the state, the acquisitions will make Yale the largest health system in the state. We should all…

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DSS responds to advocates’ questions about HUSKY maternity bundles

More than one in three Connecticut births are covered by the HUSKY program, including some pregnancies at risk for poor birth outcomes. DSS has an ambitious plan to change the way providers are paid for those births. The goals are to improve equity, lower C-section rates, poor maternal outcomes, lower opioid-related pregnancy conditions, and reduce…

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Study finds CT low value care is costly

About two percent of commercially insured Americans, including Medicare Advantage, received low value care costing $3.7 billion between 2009 and 2019, according to a new study. The researchers compared states on utilization of low value services and prices for that care. Connecticut has a lot of room for improvement compared to other states. Low value…

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Best kept secret: You now have free access to all your medical records

As of last Thursday, under new federal rules, healthcare organizations must give patients timely access to all their medical records in digital format without cost. This reverses the usual practice that only gave patients costly access to just some of their data, while data brokers profited by selling deidentified data and analysis to drug companies,…

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Op-Ed: Governor’s Healthcare Record Misses Opportunities

Last week, the Governor and his administration held a press conference nominally to promote their efforts to lower healthcare costs, but mostly for damage control. There’s been understandable criticism of the state insurance department’s decision to trim the unjustified insurer rate increase requests for next year from 20% to 13%. Insurers have been very profitable…

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OP-ED: Be careful in making changes when the glass is half full

There is good news on Connecticut health spending – and we can use it. Analysis of new data has found, not surprisingly, that Connecticut residents spend a lot on healthcare. But the good news is that our average annual rate of growth, at 1.8%, was the ninth lowest among states from 2013 to 2019. We…

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