Lt. Governor Wyman Supports Establishing Office of Health Strategy
(Hartford, CT) – Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman today testified in front of the Public Health Committee in support of Senate Bill 795, An Act Establishing the Office of Health Strategy and Improving the Certificate of Need Program. The legislation seeks to bring Connecticut’s healthcare reform work under one umbrella, the Office of Health Strategy (OHS), to better align planning efforts, avoid duplication of work, and streamline efforts to improve healthcare access and reduce costs.
As the Chair of the Healthcare Cabinet, the Access Health CT Board of Directors, the Healthcare Innovation Steering Committee, and the Governor’s Certificate of Need Taskforce, the Lieutenant Governor heads healthcare reform initiatives in the state.
Lt. Governor Wyman said, “Healthcare is changing very quickly. More than ever before, Connecticut needs a clear and cohesive long-term vision for healthcare reform efforts. The Office of Health Strategy is an opportunity to ensure better health outcomes, to lower costs, and to create a more efficient healthcare system for every resident and provider. Recently, Connecticut was named the third best state in the nation for healthcare quality. We have reduced our uninsured rate to 3.8 percent, and hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents now have health insurance due to our efforts under the Affordable Care Act. This signifies important progress that must continue—and is most effectively coordinated by a single entity.”
The Office of Health Strategy developed out of the Healthcare Cabinet’s cost-containment study. It requires no new funds or additional resources; instead it will be created through a consolidation and reallocation of staff from existing programs. OHS would house Connecticut’s major health reform and planning initiatives including the Health Information Technology Office, the State Innovation Model Management Office, the All-Payer Claims Database, and the Office of Healthcare Access.
Senate Bill 795, proposed by Governor Dannel Malloy, also makes improvements to the states Certificate of Need process to ensure an open and competitive healthcare market that delivers high-quality care and access for all state residents.
The bill would, among other things:
- Expand monitoring and oversight responsibility over healthcare mergers
- Limit regulation that restrains entry to the healthcare market
- Preserve protections for access to services for underserved populations
- Promote health equity and identifies unmet healthcare needs by strengthening the Office of Healthcare Access through development of a stronger healthcare facilities and services plan
- Increase public input and transparency of the CON process
- Streamline the CON application process
Anne Foley, Under Secretary, Office of Policy and Management, said, “This legislation will help us better coordinate state healthcare planning and reform initiatives, and preserve the investments we have already made in building a strong, robust healthcare system. It also addresses quality of healthcare and cost of services through fostering a competitive environment in the healthcare market. Connecticut has been on the forefront in ensuring our residents have affordable, accessible, high-quality healthcare. We urge the Committee to continue that progress by approving this bill.”
The Office of Health Strategy executive director will report directly to the Governor.
Office of Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman