By, Arielle Levin Becker 

[This is a significantly edited version, the complete article can be found at ctmirror.com]

With the potential for major changes in federal health care policy looming, hospital leaders are watching closely, worried especially that cuts to Medicaid could bring a big financial hit and that a repeal of Obamacare could raise the number of uninsured Connecticut residents.

marna borgstrom

Borgstrom: “I worry that we’re going to go back to growing the number of people who just come in and don’t have any insurance.

 
barnes

Barnes: “Hospitals think that we’ve been underfunding them for the last few years anyways.”

“With all of the uncertainty that is coming out of Washington now, we’re obviously very concerned,” said Dr. Rocco Orlando, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Hartford HealthCare, the parent company of Hartford, Backus and Windham hospitals, The Hospital of Central Connecticut, and MidState Medical Center.

In contingency planning, Hartford HealthCare’s worst-case scenario involves Medicaid: the possibility that the federal government will shift from its open-ended funding approach to giving the state a lump-sum of money – and reduce funding by 25 percent.

Hospital leaders also worry about the effects of repealing Obamacare – a top agenda item for President-elect Donald J. Trump and Congressional Republicans.

marijuana clearHARTFORD: St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center’s medical marijuana research program has been approved by the state. The hospital say’s its research goal is “to compare the effectiveness of medical marijuana versus oxycodone in patients with post traumatic acute, subacute and chronic pain from multiple rib fractures.”

Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan A. Harris released a statement saying, “Our medical marijuana program has already given nearly 15,000 patients relief from severe debilitating conditions, and these research programs will provide medical professionals the information they need to help their patients make good health care decisions.” 

healthstatesConnecticut companies may want to move down South to save on electricity and wage costs, but according to the 2016 report by the United Health Foundation, communities with low incomes and poor public support have the most unhealthy citizens.

According to the survey, the unhealthiest states in the country all are in the southeast US.

For the 27th year in a row, UHF has ranked America’s states, incorporating data on factors including smoking, obesity, cardiovascular disease, air pollution, poverty and health outcomes.

medical errorState Measure Errors In Connecticut Hospitals

HARTFORD: Good news from the Connecticut Department of Public Health, errors or what they call “adverse events” in hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers were down in 2015.

There were however 465 such adverse events and according to the data mostly occur [85%] within four medical treatment areas. (1) stage 3-4 or unstageable pressure ulcers acquired after admission to a healthcare facility, (2) falls resulting in serious disability or death, (3) perforations during open, laparoscopic, and/or endoscopic procedures, and (4) retention of foreign objects in patients after surgery.  

Fifty-two percent of reported adverse events occurred in males and 48% in females. The majority of reports [56.8%] concerned patients over the age of 65 years, but a full 40% were patients 15-64.

connecticareFARMINGTON: Just a month after threatening to pull out of Access CT, Connecticut’s Health Care Exchange. ConnectiCare revealed a new and for a health insurance company in Connecticut a highly unusual sales channel.

ConnectiCare has opened a flagship 6000 square foot standalone retail center in Manchester, the first by a health insurer in the state and is locating three other locations within medical centers.

“The impetus for taking this step came from listening to our customers,” said David Gordon, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Innovation at ConnectiCare, adding  “the key thing that we consistently heard was how they want a choice in how they engage with us. We felt that this was a way of addressing that need.”

Customers can purchase their insurance at the stores.

Hartford: Cases of Tuberculosis have decreasing in the nation and Connecticut since 1990,with the low hitting in 2013. Things have stated to change with a leveling nationally and a significant rise in Connecticut.

 According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health Connecticut saw a 17% rise between 2013 and 2015 from 60 to 70 cases of “active TB.” The cause of the rise has in Connecticut has not been determined yet,. Drug resistant bacteria are considered to be a cause outside the US and TB is a significant health issue in India, China, Mexico and the Philippines. 

Best electric cars 2016HARTFORD: Connecticut is providing an additional $2.7 million in new funding to continue the consumer rebate program launched last year to promote the sale of electric vehicles (EVs).

Health and clean air advocates are breathing a little easier. With the expansion of the Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate Program – known as “CHEAPR”. The program provides a cash rebate for residents, businesses and municipalities that purchase or lease a battery-electric (BEV), fuel cell (FCEV) or plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV). FCEVs receive the largest rebate of $5,000, while PHEVs and BEVs receive incentives ranging from $750 to $3,000, based on battery size.

According to the American Lung Association Connecticut could benefit to the tune of $1.3 billion in annual saving for health and “environmental ‘damage.”

ANSONIA: BHCare received two-year grants from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven for $75,000 and the Valley Community Foundation also for $75,000 to support its affiliation with the Lower Naugatuck Valley Parent Child Resource Center. 

They will use this funding to integrate care for Valley families and to increase the services of children in the Greater New Haven and Shoreline communities.

These organizations collaborate to create a comprehensive system of child, adolescent, teen and adult care struggling with mental illness and/or addiction. Parents and children have access to on-site services at the same time while the families receive the support that they need in order to move forward. If certain clients of the PCRC system start to age out of children’s services, they will still remain in the same system so they don’t “fall through the cracks.”