What other states can learn from Maine’s health transformation

October 27th, 2014 by admin Leave a reply »

There used to be saying in American politics to describe an important bellwether state: “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.”

For the past half-century, the phrase has often been applied to California’s progressive policies and its impact on the nation, growing and often exporting such things as citizen ballot initiatives, disability rights, managed care, vehicle emission controls and medical marijuana. But Maine is still an important indicator for the country, especially in healthcare.

From urban teaching hospitals and critical access facilities to rural family clinics, as well as naturopaths and concierge primary care, outdoor enthusiasts and vegans, obese Medicaid beneficiaries and uninsured lobsterman who smoke a pack a day — Maine’s healthcare system and its patient populations run the gamut.

Like health organizations in other parts of the country, Maine’s providers and insurers are facing the same demand for more affordability, more access, higher quality and better experiences, at home, in the hospital, or at retail clinics.

There is a sometimes fractious debate, however, among Maine’s leading healthcare organizations about how to get to that future — and how to measure affordability and quality in the first place.

Pre-Affordable Care Act, Maine had the fifth-highest per capita healthcare costs in the nation, $8,521, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s most recent data, from 2009.

That’s more than 25 percent higher than the national average at the same time that Maine’s per capita income is about 10 percent below the

Article source: http://www.govhealthit.com/news/maine-goes-transforming-health-vacationland