YNHH answers latest questions about controversial primary care proposal

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Monday Yale-New Haven Health System and their community health center partners answered the latest set of questions from the state Office of Health Strategy (formerly OHCA) to their controversial plan to move primary care services for 28,000 low-income New Haven residents out of the current neighborhood sites to Log Wharf. Under the proposal, patients’ care would transfer to New Haven’s two community health centers for payment purposes, but care would still be provided by YNHH clinical and administrative staff in a facility owned by YNHH. Concerns have been raised about significantly higher costs to the state, as community health center reimbursement rates are much higher than rates paid to community providers and that uninsured low income patients will now have to pay significantly more for their care which will likely deter access to preventive and maintenance treatments. Advocates and community representatives have also raised concerns about lower quality of care at community health centers, access to abortion services, transportation, access to pharmacy, potential liability for the community health centers which may results in cuts to services across the region, an increase in the number of patients providers will have to see each day, and the lack of a plan to evaluate the impact of the proposal on patients affected and access to care for all New Haven community members. The project has been delayed until late summer 2020 for flood planning issues, but the state still has questions about how patients will get transportation to the distant site. YNHH answered that, based on their survey, about 7,000 patients now walk or use public transportation to the current neighborhood clinics. YNHH proposes that they use buses or Veyo, Medicaid’s troubled transportation vender, to access care at the new site. For people with disabilities, YNHH proposes utilizing the Greater New Haven and Milford Transit District resources, or New Haven area nonprofits for rides. YNHH has also talked with Uber Assist, a ride-sharing service not currently available in Connecticut.