Gov. Shumlin Outlines Progress of VT's Health Exchange Wednesday

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin held a press conference Wednesday stating Vermont is on track to launch Vermont Health Connect the federally-mandated health benefits exchange program in October.

A press release says Gov. Shumlin outlined progress his administration is making in implementing the state's health care reform plan in October 2013.

"We have made tremendous strides in the past two years to develop a health care system in Vermont that will be a model for the nation" the Governor said. "We are on track for Vermonters to start shopping for health insurance at Vermont Health Connect in October in compliance with the federal reform law. And I don't want to lose track of the progress we have made moving even further toward developing a smarter higher value single payer healthcare system that offers better care to all Vermonters by 2017."

FOX44 and ABC22 reporter Nick Natario reports that on Monday Vermonters will begin to learn how much the health rates within the exchange will cost.

According to a press release here are the accomplishments Gov. Shumlin outlined during his press conference:

• Better Access to Care: 423015 Vermonters are now being served through high-quality "Blueprint for Health" primary care practices supported by Community Health Teams to prevent and manage chronic disease and improve their health.
Better Use of Technology: 83 percent of Vermont primary care physicians have electronic health records (EHRs) among the highest rates in the country.  Most of these providers have connections to health information networks that now allow them to see test results electronically.  All Vermont hospitals are now using EHRs.
Better Delivery Models:  Vermont has the nation's only statewide Accountable Care Organization OneCare a network of 13 hospitals and 2100 physicians organized to deliver better health care more efficiently to 60000 Vermont Medicare beneficiaries.
Innovative Payment Models:  Vermont recently received a federal grant of approximately $45 million to continue its progress developing models that tie payments to health outcomes.  Moving from fee for service to outcomes-based payments over the next five years will help encourage improved quality greater efficiency and better care coordination across physicians hospitals clinics mental health practitioners and long-term services and supports.
Controlling Costs:  Gov. Shumlin reiterated that controlling costs is critical to creating a new healthcare system in Vermont.  The Green Mountain Care Board has begun addressing currently unsustainable healthcare cost growth setting a modest growth rate of 3 percent for hospital budgets for next year.  The Board also recently denied rate increases for health insurance bought by individuals without employer-sponsored coverage. 
Natario will have more on this story tonight on ABC22 at 67 and FOX44 at 10 p.m.

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