Thursday, December 18, 2014


In This Issue:


Happy Holidays from the Connecticut Hospital Association


State Innovation Model Design Grant Awarded to Connecticut


Hospitals and Physicians Discuss Ebola Needs with Congressional Delegation


Malloy Administration Readies for 2015


Senate And House Republican Leaders Announce Committee Assignments


Saint Francis Care and Trinity Health Sign Agreement to Join Together


Education Updates



Happy Holidays from the Connecticut Hospital Association


CHA Update will return on Thursday, January 8, 2015.



State Innovation Model Design Grant Awarded to Connecticut


On December 16, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that Connecticut is among 11 states that will receive Affordable Care Act funding to test and evaluate healthcare payment and delivery models to improve care and lower costs under the State Innovation Models (SIM) initiative; Connecticut will receive $45 million.


Connecticut’s plan will support ongoing work to improve access to healthcare and behavioral health treatment, and strengthen healthcare delivery by emphasizing quality of care and outcomes.  It includes more than $6 million to measure and improve community health and health equity, address increasing rates of obesity and diabetes, improving coordination of care for chronic illness, such as asthma, and strengthen primary care.  The state also plans to implement a Medicaid Quality Improvement Shared Savings Program designed to reward providers that invest in delivering better quality care, more equitable care, and a better care experience for Medicaid beneficiaries. 


As a stakeholder in reforming the delivery of care, CHA continues to monitor the development of the state’s SIM grant proposal through attendance at the SIM Councils and Steering Committee meetings.  Project director Mark Schaefer met recently with hospital leaders at CHA to discuss work on the grant.  During the application process, CHA members engaged in a conversation with the SIM project directors on scope of practice, social determinants of health, payment reform, and the need for a continued dialogue between the project directors and the hospital community around health reform and healthcare delivery.  Currently, at least 14 representatives of the hospital community along with a number of physicians participate on the various SIM workgroups and Pat Charmel, President and CEO of Griffin Hospital, serves as a member of the Healthcare Innovation Steering Committee.  In the new year, CHA will be working with the representatives of the hospital community to coordinate input and comments as the final details of the reforms to the payment and care delivery models are discussed.


The SIM initiative is one part of an overall effort to help lower costs and improve care through the Affordable Care Act. 



Hospitals and Physicians Discuss Ebola Needs with Congressional Delegation


As Congress was debating the spending bill, CHA and the Connecticut State Medical Society sent a joint letter to members of the Connecticut congressional delegation, underscoring the need for support for provider Ebola preparedness efforts and needs.


The letter described the results of a recent survey of Connecticut hospitals that shows that since early October, Connecticut hospitals have spent more than $5 million on activities related to Ebola preparedness; projected costs for the assessment and treatment of patients would run into the millions. 


The letter encouraged legislators to support the Congressional spending bill that contains funding for Ebola preparedness efforts for hospitals.  It also asked them to support policies that keep communities and caregivers safe and healthy. 


Specifically, the letter highlighted the value of regular communication and updates with all constituents; a coordinated EMS/provider response system for transport of any suspected patient; establishment of a regional chain of communication and transfer protocols for physician offices; establishment of a CDC/state health department program to provide small and independent physician offices with access to PPE; funds allocated for individual physician practices needing decontamination and for improvements in safety equipment available regionally for physicians at the site of care; and development and execution of a robust national public education campaign to ease public concern about Ebola.



Malloy Administration Readies for 2015


Governor Dannel Malloy has been making a series of official statements to either reappoint or announce the retirement of commissioner-level members of his administration.  Of interest to the hospital community is the announcement that Department of Public Health (DPH) Commissioner Jewel Mullen MD, MPH, MPA, Department of Social Services (DSS) Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby, Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) Patricia A. Rehmer, MSN, ACHE, and Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) Ben Barnes will return to state service at the beginning of the Governor’s second term in office.  The Governor’s Chief of Staff, Mark Ojakian, will return to his post as one of the Governor’s most senior staff members.


In addition, the Governor announced the reappointment of Catherine Smith as Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), Sharon Palmer as Commissioner of the Department of Labor (CTDOL), Kevin Sullivan as Commissioner of the Department of Revenue Services (DRS), James P. Redeker as Commissioner of the Department of Transportation (ConnDOT), and Rob Klee as Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).  Commissioner of Administrative Services (DAS) Donald DeFronzo and the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) Commissioner William M. Rubenstein announced their retirement.  Insurance Department Commissioner Mark Leonardi announced that he would step down from his post by the end of 2014.  Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor is stepping down; he has accepted a position overseeing economic development in Rhode Island.


At time of publication, no announcement on the plans of Department of Children and Families Commissioner Joette Katz's has been made.



Senate And House Republican Leaders Announce Committee Assignments


This week, Senate and House Republican leaders announced their appointments to various committees and leadership posts.  The appointments give certain Republican legislators “ranking status,” which means they become the Republican leader on the committee. 


The announcements this week follow the previous announcements made by Senate and House Democrats of their appointments. 


Of interest to hospitals and the healthcare communities are the appointments of the following Republican members of the General Assembly to committees of interest to hospitals.  Specifically, Senate and House GOP leaders named as Ranking Members:


Minority Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby) also announced the following appointments to leadership posts, including:

A complete list of House Republican committee assignments can be found here.  A complete list of Senate leadership assignments can be found here.



Saint Francis Care and Trinity Health Sign Agreement to Join Together


On December 17, Saint FrancisCare announced that it will join Trinity Health, a leading national health system, under the terms of a definitive agreement.  The organizations will combine strengths in inpatient, outpatient, and continuing care settings to better serve patients.  Together, they will expand, in New England, Trinity Health's vision of becoming a people-centered health system. 


"Our focus on building a people-centered health system fits very well with Saint FrancisCare’s strategy, capabilities, and commitment to their communities.  We look forward to Saint FrancisCare joining Trinity Health and working together to better serve people across the region," said Richard J. Gilfillan, MD, President and CEO, Trinity Health. 


The definitive agreement outlines the creation of a not-for-profit regional health system that includes Saint FrancisCare and the Sisters of Providence Health System in Springfield, Mass., already a member of Trinity Health.  The new regional health system will embody both organizations' shared commitments to Catholic values and high-quality, high-value healthcare.  Christopher Dadlez, President and CEO, Saint FrancisCare will lead the new regional ministry. 


"This is an important milestone expanding our ability to work with community physicians and clinicians to deliver outstanding, coordinated care to our patients and communities,” said Mr. Dadlez. "Together, we will take progressive, innovative steps on diverse fronts like this one to capture opportunities being presented by the revolutionary changes sweeping today’s delivery of healthcare. Consistent with our legacy of providing high-quality, low-cost clinical care for patients, we will continue to capitalize on initiatives that are leading-edge and sustainable, and to pioneer best-practice protocols." 


The merger is expected to provide better care coordination for people in New England, as well as provide models that could be shared across the Trinity Health system.  


"A strategic partnership with Saint FrancisCare enhances our leadership in the Hartford and Springfield regions while bringing some significant population health management expertise into our system," said Scott Nordlund, Executive Vice President, Growth, Strategy and Innovation, Trinity Health. "We look forward to this merger that will expand services for people and communities in the region.”   


One benefit to Saint FrancisCare will be Trinity Health's outstanding credit rating, which will significantly improve its access to capital and cost of financing. 


"Saint Francis has consistently demonstrated its ability to be progressive in its delivery of world-class care while maintaining its long-standing Catholic tradition of quality and compassionate care," said Dan O’Connell, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Saint FrancisCare.  "Operating from our position of financial and clinical strength, we have been evaluating how best to position Saint Francis and continue its non-profit status as healthcare delivery continues to evolve, and we have concluded that this opportunity provides us with the potential to create a powerful, regional presence."  


The announcement comes after eight months of discussions and due diligence efforts to create a strategic partnership that would greatly enhance care in New England. The agreement has been approved by the Archdiocese of Hartford, which sponsors Saint FrancisCare, and is subject to further approvals required by Canon Law, and to regulatory approvals from state and federal agencies.  It is expected to be completed by late 2015.  


Once the partnership is complete, Trinity Health will invest at least $275 million over the next five years to support the healthcare needs of the community through capital projects in the new region. 



Education Updates


Lean Principles: Process Flow and Value Stream Mapping in Healthcare
First session: Thursday, January 15, 2015
Second session: Thursday, January 22, 2015.
9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
View Brochure | Event Registration

As the demands of health reform drive change in all areas of healthcare delivery, hospital leaders are focused on transforming their organizations through strategies that simultaneously increase revenue and sharply reduce costs.  Lean principles offer leaders a management system and methodology that eliminates road blocks and allows hospitals to improve the quality of care for patients by reducing errors and waiting times.  It is a systematic approach to reducing costs and risks, while simultaneously setting the stage for growth and expansion.


This two-session program will explain the value of applying Lean principles and methodology to improve healthcare—by providing examples of specific benefits that accrue when the people that actually do the work look at the details of processes and fix things where the work is done.  Starting with a basic definition of Lean concepts and management methods, participants will learn how to define value for the patient (the customer) and eliminate common wastes in healthcare.  Because one of the essential tools in applying Lean thinking is Value Stream Mapping (VSM), participants will learn how to use this technique through an interactive mapping exercise, which will have immediate "back home" application for understanding process flow and its impact on making measurable improvements.


Participants must attend both sessions.


Continuing education credits will be awarded. Please see the brochure for details.


2015 Joint Commission Standards and National Patient Safety Goals Update
Thursday, January 22, 2015
9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
View Brochure | Event Registration


National expert Diana Scott, VHA, will join us to present CHA’s annual full-day program outlining The Joint Commission’s new standards and national patient safety goals for 2015, and challenges from 2014 with strategies for compliance.  Ms. Scott will also review survey process changes incorporating the new patient safety systems chapter, second generation tracers for nutrition services, ambulatory clinics, and surgical services, as well as best practices for a successful survey.


CHA is also pleased to have Mark Crafton, Executive Director of Communications and External Relations at The Joint Commission (TJC), and Ann Scott Blouin, Executive Vice President of Customer Relations at TJC, join us for the program.  Their presentations will cover the CMS-required survey process changes, significant developments in hospital options for the submission of core measure data to The Joint Commission, and compliance data on challenging accreditation standards in Connecticut hospitals.


Continuing education credits will be awarded.