Information technology (IT) is the cornerstone of any future efficient health care system. Right now, when a patient leaves the hospital, he gets a piece of paper with medicines written on it. If the home care nurse checks the list against the pill bottles in the home and it doesn't match, then the nurse has to track down the doctors involved to find out what the patient should be taking. That's wasted time for the nurse and causes needless delays that could harm the patient. How many tests are repeated because the results are not universally available, especially evenings and weekends? A medical chart that can be accessed by authorized providers would easily save billions of dollars and lives as well. Lamont has a well-developed approach to health information technology in his plan.
Streamlining care delivery is also essential. Every person should have a medical home where care is coordinated. Again, this will reduce errors caused by conflicting orders from multiple care providers and will save truckloads of money by eliminating duplication. Managed care tried to do this by making doctors gatekeepers who could authorize visits to other providers. That's not what we're talking about -- we're talking about coordination. Lamont describes how we get this done.
We also need to provide options besides the most expensive -- nursing home care -- for the medically frail and elderly. I've met very few patients who wanted to live in a nursing home. Daily care at home costs less than half of what care costs in a facility and is almost universally preferred by patients and families. We need to leverage those cost savings and increase opportunities that allow people with medical needs to stay in their homes. Dan Malloy doesn't get it. He just wants to spend more money on nursing homes!
Malloy: Properly fund our nursing homes to cover the actual costs of providing care. In urban areas, I will ensure the homes are kept open so local residents can remain near family.Plus, he wants to put together a "Workforce Council" for home care.
Malloy: Establish a ‘Workforce Council' for the growing home care industry so that our caregivers have a voice in the development of care requirements and job standards, including wages, benefits, training, and more. This Council could also maintain a statewide list of caregivers to assist consumers in finding referrals.Without a plan to fund care at home, what's the point? How is this going to be paid for? The agencies for aging throughout the state already have these lists of care providers.
Overall, two themes run through Ned's plan -- themes I have not seen anywhere else. One is to examine innovations from all over the U.S. and adopt the most successful here in CT. There is no need to reinvent the wheel -- we just need a leader in state government who is able and willing to reach outside the state for great ideas beyond boilerplate.
The second is to leverage all of the federal and private grant money available to fund these initiatives. It's outrageous how much money has been left on the table because of the Rell administration's laziness and inertia. Ned's plan makes it clear that those days will be long past in a Lamont administration. He knows where money is available and how to get it.
Malloy's plan is big on prescriptives, and small on understanding and innovation. It's boilerplate "what should happen" without identifying how we're going to pay for it, where savings can be realized, and how to get it done.
For people who don't see much difference between the candidates, take a look at these healthcare plans. You'll clearly see the difference between a politician's standard issue plan from Malloy and an entrepreneur's outside the box thinking with a "get it done" approach from Lamont. One might say the difference is like night and day.