As 2013 draws to a close, on behalf of our Board and Staff, I’d like to send you our very best wishes for a happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year.
It has been another fast-paced and productive year, and our thoughts turn gratefully to you and all our partners and supporters who’ve generously contributed to our effort to confront the many health care challenges facing the people of Connecticut and to transform the health system.
Among our key efforts this past year, the Foundation has:
- Collaborated with the Connecticut Library Consortium to provide librarians training on the Affordable Care Act and Access Health CT, the state’s new health insurance marketplace. Through the fall, we trained more than 250 librarians. We expanded to offer public workshops, working through nonprofit organizations, community foundations, Rotary clubs and many others. We’ve reached 1400 people and trained presenters who’ve reached hundreds more in communities across the state. Twenty workshops have already been scheduled and more are in the works for the coming year. There is deep interest among people in our state to understand the Affordable Care Act and what it means to their lives.
- Launched the Reform to Transform forum series in October with a panel discussion that focused on the high cost of health care. Attended by over 300 people, we held the forum at Quinnipiac University’s Center for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. The program featured Steven Brill, author of the provocative Time Magazine article, "The Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us." Joining Mr. Brill on the panel were Patrick Charmel, CEO of Griffin Hospital and Kevin Lembo, State Comptroller. Journalist Susan Campbell moderated. Stay tuned for information about upcoming forums in 2014! We plan to explore topics like what over-treatment and under-treatment mean to our health and health care, and what we can do about it.
- Kept a close eye on the new health insurance exchange. On October 1st, Access Health CT opened its doors for enrollment. As of last week, more than 40,000 people had enrolled. That’s about a quarter of the target number for this first enrollment period which ends March 31, 2014! Our educational workshops have helped inform state residents about the enrollment process. We are also collaborating with CARE: Community Alliance for Research and Engagement at the Yale School of Public Health and Access Health CT to collect information directly from consumers about their enrollment experience. The Connecticut Health and the Donaghue foundations joined with us to fund this project.
- Contributed to the design process for the “State Innovation Model,” a new opportunity offered by the Affordable Care Act to expand access to primary care through “patient centered medical homes” and introduce new payment strategies to promote better care. In the summer, we circulated an online survey through our network encouraging consumers to weigh in with their experiences of the health care system. Over 700 people responded. Later, we convened a series of meetings to elicit input and feedback on the key features of the “SIM” plan. Almost 30 people participated, including consumers and partners from 26 different organizations. They offered excellent ideas for ways to improve the plan.
The Foundation remains deeply committed to our mission to serve as a catalyst that engages residents and communities in shaping a health system that provides universal access to quality health care and promotes health in Connecticut.
In lieu of printed holiday cards, the Foundation has adopted a family in need through the Child Guidance Clinic in Meriden, which has a strong track record of providing mental health and other important support services to the children and families of Central Connecticut.
We send you our best wishes for a joyous holiday season, and happiness and good health in 2014.
Frances G. Padilla
Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut