Maine passes bills to reduce healthcare associated infections; other reforms on cost, quality and access cited

Gov. John Baldacci (D) has signed into law two bills that will require hospitals to report to the state protocols to prevent infections and monitor methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections, beginning in January 2010.

According to the Press Release, the Governor provided an outline of some key initiatives passed this session that address cost, quality and access to health care – the three pillars laid of the comprehensive Dirigo Health Reform law passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in 2003.

Costs are being addressed by bills passed:

  • promoting transparency (LD 724);
  • expanding opportunities to reward patients who choose high-quality, high-value providers (LD 1397);
  • making sure we have the equipment and new technology we need, but not more than we can afford (LD 1395); and
  • supporting reforms for cost-effective care (LD 1444).

Quality is being addressed by:

  • establishing a coordinated collaborative public health system that will launch the universal wellness plan funded with existing funds and savings from efficiencies (LD 1363);
  • promoting patient-centered primary care delivery (LD 353); and
  • taking steps to reduce medical errors and the risk of infection in Maine’s hospitals (LD 960, LD 1038 and LD 1435).

Access is being addressed by bills passed:

  • supporting medical school scholarships (LD 353);
  • retaining eligibility levels for MaineCare (LD 353);
  • expanding telemedicine services (LD 1073);
  • expanding federal COBRA subsidies for temporarily laid off workers in small firms (LD 1180); and
  • stabilizing funding for DirigoChoice so the program can be redesigned to provide more affordable options in the marketplace and take advantage of federal funds (LD 1264).

(SOURCE: The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, June 12, 2009)