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’s best healthcare secret — CID’s Consumer Report Card

It may not attract the same enthusiasm as other holidays this time of year, but if you’re shopping for health insurance during this Open Enrollment season, you need this resource. As a health policy researcher, there are few better sources of information on how insurers are performing. The Consumer Report Card on Health Insurance Carriers…

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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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Study finds Americans living in liberal states, like CT, live longer but we can do better

Recently, working-age Americans’ mortality has reversed its historic declines, largely due to lack of progress on heart disease, and rising deaths due to alcohol, suicide, and drug poisoning. A new study finds that from 1999 to 2019, mortality for adults ages 25-64 was lower in states with liberal policies, like Connecticut, and worse in conservative…

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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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Number of uninsured CT residents continues down despite COVID

Download the report The latest numbers from the US Census on US health coverage last year find that there were 184,000 uninsured Connecticut residents (5.2%) in 2021, down 23,000 from 2019 (at 5.9%). Both years were far below 2013, before implementation of the Affordable Care Act, when 333,000 or 9.4% of state residents were uninsured.…

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Primary care spending boost and capitation didn’t work in private plans either

The big idea circulating in some CT health policy circles to control the costs of healthcare is to boost primary care with tons of money and capitate provider payments. Primary care is regular health care for prevention, like check-ups, and common health problems. A new study finds that the idea failed in private insurance, as…

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Book Club: Making Numbers Count

If your job is to communicate policy and make sense of it, you need Making Numbers Count – The Art and Science of Communicating Numbers by Chip Health and Karla Starr. Numbers are the bedrock of policy (or they should be) but they are scary to 99.9% of people – including the people you need…

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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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