With uncertainty surrounding the federal Affordable Care Act, Gov. Dannel Malloy wants to establish a state Office of Health Strategy.

SB 795 puts Connecticut’s healthcare reform work under the new office.

The move aligns the administration's healthcare planning efforts into one office, according to a statement from Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who testified March 20 before the legislature’s Public Health Committee.

“Healthcare is changing very quickly. More than ever before, Connecticut needs a clear and cohesive long-term vision for healthcare reform efforts,” Wyman testified.

“The Office of Health Strategy is an opportunity to ensure better health outcomes, to lower costs, and to create a more efficient healthcare system.

“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.”

New Bureaucracy

Wyman leads healthcare initiatives for the Malloy Administration, serving as chair of the Healthcare Cabinet, on the Access Health CT board of directors, the Healthcare Innovation Steering Committee, and the Governor’s Certificate of Need Taskforce.

A proposal for a new bureaucracy concerns CBIA and its members because taxpayers would be expected to fund it.

But Wyman insists the Office of Health Strategy would pay for itself.

“It will be created through a consolidation and reallocation of staff from existing programs,” she said.

Proposing a new bureaucracy concerns CBIA and its members because taxpayers would be expected to fund it.
The new office’s executive director would reports to the governor. The office would be home to the state’s major health reform and planning initiatives.

These include the Health Information Technology Office, the State Innovation Model Management Office, the All-Payer Claims Database, and the Office of Healthcare Access.

Wyman said the bill also improves Connecticut’s Certificate of Need process to ensure an open, competitive healthcare market that delivers quality care and access.

Among other things, the bill would:

  • 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 the transparency of the CON process
  • Streamline the CON application process

The administration states the legislation will help better coordinate healthcare planning and reform initiatives and foster "a competitive environment in the healthcare market."

CBIA will monitor the bill through the session.