The State of Connecticut’s Office of Health Strategy (OHS) has announced the members of the new Cost Growth Benchmark Technical Team and Cost Growth Benchmark Stakeholder Advisory Board. The members include School of Pharmacy Henry A. Palmer Professor Marie Smith and the Dean’s Advisory Board Member Ken Lalime, CEO of the Community Health Center Association of Connecticut. The new groups establish Connecticut’s first healthcare cost growth benchmark as outlined by Governor Ned Lamont’s Executive Order No. 5, an order that directs OHS to establish statewide healthcare cost growth and quality benchmarks and a primary care spending target.
“Dr. Smith’s appointment is directly related to her OHS-funded grant expertise and policy recommendations to integrate clinical pharmacists with primary care and population teams,” says Phil Hritcko, Interim School of Pharmacy Dean. “We are tremendously proud to have a member of our faculty as well as one of our valued board members working to assist in making impactful and positive change in Connecticut’s health care system.”
“Dr. Smith has been deeply involved in understanding how the healthcare setting is currently set up and the issues we currently face,” says C. Michael White, Head of Pharmacy Practice. “She has worked tirelessly to find innovative solutions to these issues through her scholarship and service. This appointment is a testament to her expertise and commitment to the health of the citizens of the State of Connecticut.”
The appointment of Ken Lalime, CEO of the Community Health Center Association of Connecticut, ensures that the voice of over 6,700 dedicated healthcare professionals working in Connecticut-based community health centers and the nearly 400,000 patients served by them will be represented. Mr. Lalime also brings a comprehensive perspective on healthcare to the Board through his experience as an independent pharmacist, his work in hospital finance and operations and his knowledge in building the not-for-profit insurance company HealthyCT.
Nichelle A. Mullins, President of the Board of Directors for the Community Health Center Association of Connecticut, added, “Ken will serve the residents of Connecticut well in his role on the advisory board. He has a deep and broad-based knowledge of the national and Connecticut healthcare landscapes. He understands the mechanics of healthcare and will use that knowledge to the benefit of all.”
The OHS Cost Growth Benchmark Technical Team includes experts who will directly engage with OHS and consulting experts on the creation of the annual healthcare cost growth benchmarks and primary care spending targets. It will get input from the Cost Growth Benchmark Stakeholder Advisory Board. The Advisory Board will ensure that additional stakeholders from across the healthcare landscape, from consumers to providers, employers and the healthcare industry have input and feedback into the discussion. Both groups will convene in the next month to begin discussion on their charters and governing bylaws.
OHS Executive Director Vicki Veltri said, “The healthcare cost growth benchmark and the setting of primary care targets are important to improving the affordability of healthcare. In Massachusetts, establishing a healthcare benchmark saved consumers and the state about $5.5 billion in its rate of growth of expenditures over five years—this is policy that works. The groups we’ve convened are a strong balance of technical expertise and consumer/stakeholder engagement and I thank the members for volunteering their time and talent to this work.”
Cost Growth Benchmark Technical Team
Melissa McCaw, MPA, Secretary, State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management
Deidre Gifford, MD, MPH, Commissioner, Department of Social Services
Paul Lombardo, A.S.A., M.A.A.A., Director, Life & Health Division, Connecticut Insurance Department
Rae-Ellen Roy, Assistant Director of Health Policy and Benefits Division, Office of the State Comptroller
Rebecca Andrews, M.D., FACP, American College of Physicians Connecticut Chapter Governor
Patricia Baker, President and CEO, CT Health Foundation
Zack Cooper, PhD, MSc, Associate Professor of Public Health and Economics, Yale University
Paul Grady, Connecticut Business Group on Health
Angela Harris, Chair of Phillips Health Ministry, Phillips Metropolitan CME Church
Luis Pérez, LCSW, President and CEO, Mental Health Connecticut, Inc.
Cost Growth Benchmark Stakeholder Advisory Board
Reginald Eadie M.D., M.B.A., President, Chief Executive Officer, Trinity Health of New England
Kathleen Silard, R.N., President and CEO, Stamford Health
Janice Henry, Executive Director, Provider Solutions, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of CT
Robert Kosior, Senior Vice President and COO, ConnectiCare
Richard Searles, Managing Director, Merritt Healthcare Solutions
Ken Lalime, CEO, Community Health Center Association of Connecticut
Margaret Flinter, PhD, APRN, Senior Vice President and Clinical Director, Community Health Center, Inc.
Karen Gee, Senior Vice President and COO, OptumCare Network of Connecticut
Marie Smith, PharmD, FNAP, UConn School of Pharmacy
Tekisha Everette, PhD., Executive Director, Health Equity Solutions
Pareesa Charmchi Goodwin, Executive Director, Connecticut Oral Health Initiative
Howard Forman, MD, MBA, FACR, Professor of Diagnostic Radiology, Public Health, Management, and Economics, Yale University
Nancy Yedlin, MPH, Vice President, Donaghue Foundation
Fiona Mohring, MPH, SPHR, Director, Health & Group Benefits, Stanley Black & Decker
Lori Pasqualini, Chief Financial & Administrative Officer, Ability Beyond
Sal Luciano, President, Connecticut AFL-CIO
Kathy Flaherty, JD, Executive Director, Connecticut Legal Rights Project
Hector Glynn, MSW, COO, The Village for Families and Children
Rick Melita, Director, Service Employees International Union Connecticut State Council
Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 5 directs OHS to:
Develop annual healthcare cost growth benchmarks by December 2020 for calendar years 2021-2025; Set targets for increased primary care spending as a percentage of total healthcare spending to reach 10 percent by 2025; Develop quality benchmarks across all public and private payers beginning in 2022, including clinical quality measures, over/under utilization measures, and patient safety measures; Monitor and report annually on healthcare spending growth across public and private payers; Monitor accountable care organizations and the adoption of alternative payment models.
OHS is the state agency responsible under state statutes for developing and implementing a comprehensive and cohesive healthcare vision for the state, including a statewide cost containment strategy.