Tracking non-fatal opioid overdose — time to get ahead of the curve

Every non-fatal opioid overdose represents an opportunity to help curb Connecticut’s opioid crisis, but we know little about the number and location of such poisonings. By mandating confidential data collection for suspected prehospital opioid overdose, Senate Bill 511, An Act Concerning Opioids, aims to address this issue. Since 2012, Connecticut has witnessed a 400 percent increase in opioid overdose deaths, and the number of non-fatal overdoses is certainly greatly increased too. Targeting opioid interventions to groups and communities experiencing high rates of non-fatal overdose may prevent future deaths.

Let’s hold health insurers accountable for the contracts they sign

All business should have to honor their contracts. So why do we let health insurance companies off the hook? If you sign a one-year lease, your landlord can’t raise the rent six months in. This makes sense. Yet, we allow health insurance companies to change their prescription drug coverage midyear, when consumers are already locked into their plans. Commercial health insurers in Connecticut are free to make coverage changes in the middle of the year that reduce or eliminate prescription drug benefits, forcing people onto less expensive – and often less effective – medications.

Connecticut State Senate must pass ACA protections

Supporters of access to health care at Planned Parenthood were thrilled to see the House pass HB 5210 with huge bipartisan support 114-32 on April 26. Thanks go to Rep. Sean Scanlon, House chair of the Insurance Committee, who led this bill to victory in the House. In partnership with many women legislative allies of both parties, we are now one step closer to ensuring the 10 essential benefits of the Affordable Care Act, and women’s preventive health, are protected in state law regardless of what happens in Washington, D.C.

Connecticut can’t afford NOT to pass paid family medical leave

I am writing to counter recent arguments that Connecticut’s economic woes mean that we can’t afford to pass ‘compassionate’ bills like House Bill 5387, AN ACT CONCERNING PAID FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE, despite strong bipartisan support inside the legislature and outside in the real world. Frankly, I am surprised by the lack of vision shown by opponents of the bill. How can we move forward and build our economy without creative solutions? The House passed HB 5386 last week by a vote of 142-4 and I would urge the Senate to move quickly to send it to the governor’s desk.

Stand up for affordable health care

Connecticut is an affordable health care success. Under Democratic leadership, the state established Access HealthCT, the most efficient and successful state-level health insurance exchange of any state in the country! It was so well managed, that its CEO, Kevin J. Counihan, was selected to head the federal exchange. It was the enthusiastic support of engaged citizens that allowed us to pass landmark legislation despite strong opposition from the Republican-controlled general assembly. One might ask, where does their loyalty lie when they fight against beneficial healthcare measures intended to support their own constituencies?

Congress must protect vital discount prescription drug program

For more than 376,000 Connecticut residents each year, their medical needs are provided by a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), a community health center which gives patients top-level primary, dental and behavioral health care at a fraction of the cost of an emergency room visit. This includes First Choice Health Centers in East Hartford, Manchester and Vernon, which serves more than 21,000 people annually, many of whom otherwise cannot afford regular access to medical care.

New restrictions on co-pay assistance programs will cost patients more

It is no secret that healthcare costs continue to rise, with premium increases topping 58 percent since 2006, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation; but what may be surprising to lawmakers in Hartford is that patient out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, co-insurance and higher specialty pharmacy tiers have outpaced premium increases by four times, which speaks directly to tactics being taken by health plans and their pharmacy benefit managers.

A critique: Connecticut Magazine 2018 Best Doctors issue.

Connecticut magazine recently published its April edition of 2018 Best Doctors: 779 doctors were named in 78 medical, pediatric, surgical and other specialties. … Mixed into the listing of best doctors were many advertisements for medical/surgical individuals and groups totaling 12 glossy photographs — none featuring clinicians practicing primary care. Overall, three times as many sub-specialists were named as “Best Doctors” as those practicing primary care. Sadly, in Connecticut there are twice as many sub-specialists practicing as primary care physicians.

Promoting the health of incarcerated women and their children

Imagine giving birth. Lower back searing with pain; muscles internally twisting and seizing with each contraction; hips feel like they’re being slowly dislocated; body rocking to distract from the pain.

Now imagine all of this but in a prison cell, with metal shackles cutting into your body and questionable medical care that may heighten, rather than calm, your anxiety. For many, the word “torture” comes to mind and, for many, it would be unthinkable that this type of treatment is occurring in Connecticut — but it is.

Medicare Savings Program cuts are harming low-income seniors

I am writing to express my concerns over the funding of the Medicare Savings Program here in the state of Connecticut. I am a social worker. I work with low-income seniors all across the state of Connecticut and this issue is extremely important to my clients. I am writing to inform you of what the cuts to the Medicare Savings Plan will do to many low- income seniors across the state.

The value of a young mind — a Hartford case in point

What really makes a difference? At the High Road School of Hartford, we would say teamwork. We saw the power of collaboration in action recently when a new, innovative mobile dental program was piloted at our high school. The program addresses a critical need in the local area by serving underprivileged students who might not otherwise have access to such care. For some, it was the first time they received basic dental exams and cleanings.