Thursday, May 29, 2008

Maine Governor Releases Health Plan

The Governor of Maine John E. Baldacci released the 2008-2009 State Health Plan developed to make healthcare delivery more efficient and effective and slow the growth in healthcare spending. There were a number of findings presented in the plan.

Among the Findings:

  • Nearly 37% or $1.2 billion increased spending in healthcare between 1998-2005 is the result of chronic illnesses
  • Maine is above the national average in supplying healthcare services that include MRIs and staffed hospital beds
  • It was found that excess capacity drives utilization which increases costs while doing nothing to improve patient outcomes
  • Nearly 85% of premium dollars is spent on medical claims, 11% on insurance administration, and 4% on profit.
  • The most effective way to reduce premium growth is to reduce medical claims

The 2008-2009 State Health Plan will have several tasks to:

  • Implement a pilot program to redesign how medical care is delivered by creating patient centered medical homes to focus on prevention, chronic care management, and care coordination
  • Start using Maine’s just completed payer claims database to develop a detailed regional analysis of healthcare cost drivers
  • Analyze and advocate for national solutions to achieve universal access to healthcare
  • Address issues in oral health
  • Increase the access to healthcare services through the use of telemedicine
  • Find ways for the Veterans Health Services to be offered locally through federally qualified health centers
  • Strengthen the system of local health officers and develop regional health plans
  • Review DirigoChoice to find options on how to reduce costs and increase efficiencies to cover more people
  • Investigate the costs and causes for the state’s high emergency department use
  • Examine strategies needed to stem the rising cost of insurance in the small business market
  • Reduce cost shifting and increase the flow of federal funds to the state
  • Reduce the rates of hospital acquired infections through a hospital collaborative and strengthen Maine’s medical errors reporting

For more information, go to