Connecticut Hospitals Testify in Opposition to Increased Regulatory Burdens and Call for Action To Address Systemic Cost Drivers

This week, Connecticut hospitals submitted testimony to the Insurance and Real Estate Committee opposing proposals that would put significant regulatory burdens on Connecticut hospitals and health systems.  The Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA) also urged the Committee to explore ways to address system cost drivers, including commercial insurance practices such as prior authorization.

During a public hearing on Tuesday, February 27, Paul Kidwell, Senior Vice President, Policy, CHA testified in opposition to provisions of HB 5054, An Act Addressing Health Care Affordability, which would make changes to the state’s cost growth benchmarking process by establishing a Cost Growth Benchmark Oversight Commission, implementing punitive performance improvement plans, and granting subpoena authority to the Office of Health Strategy (OHS).  Kidwell highlighted the problematic approach of granting more powers to OHS at a time when there are significant deficiencies in the cost growth benchmark data process that must be fixed first.

“If the intent is for the cost growth benchmarking process to help guide healthcare policy in the state, then the bare minimum standard for that process must be the use of accurate data,” Kidwell said.  “Despite the weaknesses in OHS’s implementation process and the flawed data on which the program relies, the Governor’s bill recommends implementing penalties for non-attainment of the annual benchmark, creating a new commission to oversee benchmark implementation, and expanding authority to conduct cost and market impact reviews.  None of these proposals should advance until OHS has corrected its data process.  It would be unwise to cede more control over Connecticut’s healthcare delivery system to a process that is using flawed data to make recommendations and decisions.”

Testimony opposing HB 5054 was also submitted by Connecticut Children’s, Hartford HealthCare, Middlesex Health, Stamford Health, Trinity Health Of New England, and Yale New Haven Health.

Kidwell also testified in opposition to SB 210, An Act Concerning A State-Operated Reinsurance Program, Health Care Cost Growth And Site Of Service Billing Requirements and in support of SB 211, An Act Concerning Health Insurance and offered suggestions to focus the proposed study of health insurance issues on topics including prior authorizations processes, prepayment and postpayment auditing, automated algorithmic downcoding and downgrading, and dispute resolution and appeals.

“CHA appreciates the Committee’s attention to these issues which delay and deny patient care and add enormous administrative cost to the healthcare system,” said Kidwell.

Click here to view CHA’s spoken testimony during the Insurance and Real Estate Committee Public Hearing.

Click here to read CHA's written testimony on HB 5054.

Click here to read CHA's written testimony on SB 210.

Click here to read CHA’s written testimony on SB 211.

 

CHA Continues To Monitor and Respond to the Change Healthcare Cybersecurity Issue

CHA is continuing to monitor and respond to the cyberattack against Change Healthcare that has significantly affected hospitals’ operations since Wednesday, February 21. 

CHA is in regular communication with the Governor’s office and has requested assistance from the state and commercial payers with the following: 

  1. Advanced payments for providers unable to submit or process claims
  2. Waive prior authorization/notice of admission
  3. Waive provider requirements on eligibility verification during the period in which verification systems are down
  4. Suspend postpayment reviews, data requests, and medical necessity downgrades and/or denials
  5. Suspend timely claims filing requirements
  6. Waive policy dispute/objection and material impact timelines (assuring sufficient time post-breach remediation)
  7. Create a process for alternative claim submission and remittance methodology

Additionally, AHA this week sent a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra requesting access to advanced Medicare payments to mitigate the “immediate adverse impact” of the cyberattack on hospital finances.

Click here to view the operational connectivity status of a particular Change Healthcare application. 

Click here for the latest cyber and risk resources and threat intelligence from the AHA.

 

Connecticut Hospitals Continue To Raise Awareness and Work To Address Violence Against Healthcare Workers

CHA remains committed to helping Connecticut hospitals reduce violence against healthcare workers.  This week in CT Insider, UConn Health emergency department nurse Teresa Marks and Stamford Health Director of Security and Safety Joe Hines shared their experiences with harm and harassment they and their colleagues continue to face far too often.

Marks recalled having a urine-filled bedpan thrown at her, being screamed at for prioritizing a more urgent case, and seeing coworkers get kicked and punched.  She described the violence as “commonplace.”  Through it all, she remains dedicated to delivering high-quality care to her patients.  "This happens in the emergency room, it happens on the floor. It doesn't end," she said.

Hines called the issue “an epidemic within healthcare,” noting that violence is leading to higher rates of mental health challenges and burnout in medical staff.  "We're depleting our own resources through incivility and inappropriate behavior. We need to hold ourselves accountable, to communicate in a civil, rational manner and recognize that these professionals set out on a career path to help people (and) we're not always going to agree with them, but there's a way to disagree with them," Hines said.

Statewide data shows there were 1,948 incidents of workplace violence experienced by hospital workers in 2022.  Enhancing protections for Connecticut healthcare workers by reviewing and updating existing state laws and providing funding to support workplace violence prevention is critical.

CHA continues to raise awareness about the Statewide Patient and Family Code of Conduct Policy, which has united Connecticut hospitals against this unacceptable behavior and furthered hospitals’ ongoing work to implement safety initiatives, including internal de-escalation training, patient risk assessments, and other measures such as metal detector installation.

"We are thinking about… how we can make sure that the experience of a hospital employee who experiences violence looks similar across the state, that they know their rights, their opportunities, and that we're there to support them throughout," said Paul Kidwell, Senior VP, Policy, CHA.

Addressing violence against healthcare workers is one of CHA’s key priorities this legislative session as lawmakers consider additional safeguards and retention and recruitment initiatives amid a severe, ongoing staffing shortage.

 

HRO Forward Statewide Domain 2: Workforce Safety Roadmap Development Meeting

On Tuesday, February 27 representatives from hospitals and health systems across the state gathered together for the HRO Forward Statewide Domain 2 Roadmap Development Meeting at CHA.  This meeting marked the halfway point in the assessment phase of HRO Forward, the statewide high reliability initiative now underway. 

In 2012, CHA implemented a first-in-the-nation statewide collaboration to adopt high reliability principles in a drive toward zero preventable harm.

That commitment is unwavering, and HRO Forward is the next phase in what is an ongoing and constantly evolving and growing statewide high reliability initiative.

HRO Forward was launched in 2023 with the support of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and built upon a framework described in the National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety (NAP) to develop a roadmap for a statewide innovative, sustainable, high reliability program.  Participants from hospitals across the state now have participated in assessments and initial planning under the first two domains of the four-domain program: Domain 1 Culture, Leadership, and Governance; and Domain 2 Workforce Safety.  Hospital leaders and staff from across the state are preparing for Domain 3, which will focus on Patient and Family Engagement.  The fourth and final domain that completes this assessment process will be focused on Learning Systems and will wrap up in June.

The challenges hospitals and patients face today following the pandemic reinforce the wisdom of the commitment the CHA Board has made to continue embracing and advancing high reliability in healthcare in our state.

HRO Forward continues to advance Connecticut hospitals' and health systems’ role as a national leader.

 

Education

Connecticut Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) Program Kick-Off Conference - Virtual and On-Site

Wednesday, March 13, 2024, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Location: This conference is being held in person at the Connecticut Hospital Association, 110 Barnes Road, Wallingford, CT 06492.  An option to join virtually is available.

There is no fee for this event.

Please join the Connecticut Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) Program kickoff conference on Wednesday, March 13.  The conference will be held at CHA in Wallingford, with an option to join virtually via Zoom.

The Office of Emergency Medical Services in the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is pleased to announce that it will soon be accepting applications for approval of MIH programs from paramedic EMS Organizations.

MIH, sometimes known as Community Paramedicine, provides healthcare using patient-centered, mobile resources in and out of the hospital environment.  Examples of MIH activities include but are not limited to providing:

  • Telephone advice instead of resource dispatch
  • Chronic disease management
  • Preventive care or post-discharge follow-up
  • In-home hospital care/primary care
  • Transfer or referral to care beyond hospital emergency departments
  • Referral to community resources

There is no fee to attend, but pre-registration is required.  Please register by March 1, 2024.

Click here for virtual registration.

Click here for on-site registration.

 

CHA Education Series: Essential Skills Every Leader Needs

CHA is pleased to present its inter-functional leadership academy Essential Skills Every Leader Needs based on feedback from members about training that would help them become more effective leaders.  This six-session education series held on-site in Wallingford throughout the months of March and April will equip participants with new perspectives and tools.  This series is ideal for those new to the role and those wanting to brush up on current skills.

The Planning For Success: Leadership and Management Skills session introduces participants to a leadership framework for analyzing personal values, leadership style, motivation drivers and influences, and communication style.  This session is taught by Sarah Campbell Arnett, MA, NCC, BC-DMT, BCC, CCMP.

The Having Difficult Conversations session will focus on understanding the tools needed to initiate challenging conversations and resolve conflicts effectively.  This session is taught by Sarah Campbell Arnett, MA, NCC, BC-DMT, BCC, CCMP.

The Project and Time Management session will provide participants with solutions for preventing lost time, no matter what an individual’s responsibilities are in the hospital.  This session is taught by Helene Segura, owner of LivingOrderSA, and Productivity Consultant and Author.

The Managing the Operating Budget session will focus on problem identification, budget management tools, benchmarking and expense forecasting, and effective remedial plans to correct performance deviations.  This session is taught by William J. Ward, Jr., associate professor at Johns Hopkins University.

The Professional Presentation Skills session will provide techniques to develop an organized presentation that is customized for a given audience, analyzes best practices for effective presentations, and increases confidence during delivery.  This session is presented by Liz P. Summers, founder and president of Advancing Leadership Consulting.

The Write Like a Professional session will teach participants how to craft well-written communications for a variety of audiences using the appropriate tone, medium, grammar, and level of formality.  This workshop is provided by Liz P. Summers.

This series is limited to 25 participants from various areas within a hospital, creating an inter-functional cohort for the exchange of diverse perspectives.

Click here to view the program brochure.

Click here to view the online registration.

Click here to view a list of programs.

Click here to watch a short preview video.

 

PROUD Enduring Recorded Sessions

On Demand
Virtual Sessions

As care providers, there is much to learn about how to help families managing substance use disorders be successful.  Parents Recovering from Opioid Use Disorders (PROUD) includes an education series for healthcare and service providers, giving them tools to help individuals and families manage the many challenges they face.

The education series includes several recorded, one-hour sessions open for a year from their recording date.  These sessions are free to participants (registration is necessary) and are available on demand to fit into busy schedules.

Click here to learn more.

 

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