Today I did a local access cable TV show out in Eastern CT about SustiNet. It's important to get the accurate word about SustiNet out into the community. Lately, I've noticed some negative and uninformed talk about the possible alleged costs of SustiNet and misportrayals of SustiNet as a large scale government run program. I've decided that as the state's Acting Healthcare Advocate, speaking truth about SustiNet and refuting the continued mistatements is not only something that I want to do, but something I owe the healthcare consumers of Connecticut.
Well, let's start first with the fact that CT currently spends about $8 billion on healthcare. Within that $8 billion, there is almost certainly some wiggle room, some areas in which we can squeeze out efficiences. That's where SustiNet starts--with the assumption that we can find savings and control healthcare costs while improving healthcare quality. How would SustiNet accomplish this? Not by asking for initial funding from the general assembly, but by adopting long overdue strategies to save taxpayers money. Things like patient-centered medical homes to coordinate care, ensure prevention of illnesses and protect against the over-utilization of medical services. Things like interoperable elctronic health records that increase efficiency and reduce medical error. Things like evidence based medicine that ensure appropriate delivery and healthcare and prevent payment for unsupportable procedures. Things like payment reforms to ensure that we aren't creating perverse incentives for providers to have to see a hundred patients a day to make ends meet, and to improve the quality of service delivery.
All of these measures are no cost measures that will reduce cost and improve the quality of care for SustiNet populations. These are common sense innovations that will create a better-operating state employee health plan, Medicaid plan. Those that question the cost of SustiNet do not seem to understand that these strategies and the purchasing power of the combined lives of the state employee plan and the HUSKY and Medicaid plansARE the SustiNet plan.
Why then shouldn't these innovations be extended to municipalities so that they can save money to cover their employees while ensuring them high quality care, and why at some later point shouldn't these cost savings and quality improvement strategies be exteneded to small employers and individuals?
This is what SustiNet is: For the first time, there will be a concentrated effort to employ tactics to simultaneously improve health care quality and access, yet save costs.
So, now you have the facts about SustiNet.