Baldacci Administration Releases Final State Health Plan
On Monday, July 26, 2004, the Governor's Office of Health Policy & Finance released the final State Health Plan for the next year. The Governor's press release on the State Health Plan follows:
July 26, 2004
Contact: Joy Leach, 287-2531
Trish Riley, 624-7442
AUGUSTA – The Governor’s Office of Health Policy and Finance today released the one-year State Health Plan designed to move Maine to become the healthiest state in the nation. A requirement of the Dirigo Health Reform Act, the Plan sets out specific goals to bring down costs, improve quality and increase access to health care for all Maine citizens.
“Maine will spend roughly $7 billion on health care this year,” noted Governor Baldacci. “While there is much that is great about our health system, we need to re-direct some of that spending to invest in our health, not just in treating illness. Making Maine the healthiest state is a very big goal -- but we begin the work today with this health plan.”
The Plan builds on work currently underway throughout Maine’s communities and health care providers and embraces the recommendations of existing efforts, including but not limited to: the Maine Diabetes Control Program; HealthyMaine 2010; the Office of Substance Abuse’s State Prevention Plan; Maine’s Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan; Maine’s Cardiovascular Health Plan; and Maine’s Asthma Plan.
The State Health Plan is administered by the Governor’s Office of Health Policy and Finance. Trish Riley, Director of the Office, said, “The Plan is a roadmap for our State to improve health and health care delivery and asks all of us – consumers, providers and payers – to play a role.”
The plan was developed with guidance from the 11-member Advisory Council on Health Systems Development. The Council’s Chair, Brian Rines of Gardiner, noted that the plan reflected considerable public input but is a transitional one-year document. Said Rines, “In the year ahead we will launch a community based dialogue – ‘Tough Choices’ -- asking Mainers to help us design the health system for Maine’s future.”
Key goals and features of this year’s plan include:
1. Reduce the number of uninsured Maine people by 31,000;
2. Set priorities and target spending amounts for new investments in health care facilities and equipment;
3. Reduce the inappropriate use of hospital emergency departments by persons with mental illness and develop appropriate community options and prevention strategies;
4. Develop specific strategies to reduce the amount of chronic illnesses – notably heart disease, cancer, diabetes, lung disease and asthma;
5. Work to assure all Maine people, regardless of geography, receive best practices in medical care;
6. Streamline and simplify billing practices by Maine’s public purchasers and initiate payment methods that reward good performance;
7. Conduct a statewide community dialogue titled “Tough Choices” to engage private citizens in a discussion of their priorities in order to achieve a sustainable health care system.
The State Health Plan can be viewed at www.healthpolicy.maine.gov
Summary of Maine’s State Health Plan
GOAL: To help Mainers become the healthiest people in the US by strategically improving the allocation and coordination of our health care resources.
• Total health care spending is estimated to increase from $5 billion, 15.5% of the gross state product (GSP), in 1998 to over $7 billion, nearly 18% of GSP, in 2004.
• Between 1996 and 2002, the cost of a family policy for Maine businesses and employees increased by 77%, while median household income increased by only 6%; increases for small businesses have been even steeper.
• The high cost of health care and health insurance results in decreased access.
• Maine has the highest rate of uninsured citizens in New England: about 136,000 (17%) of non-elderly Maine residents spent part of 2002 uninsured; on any given day, roughly 1 in 8 non-elderly Mainers were uninsured.
• Over 11 percent of Maine’s population reports not visiting a physician because of cost. Forty-two percent of families with uninsured children report delaying needed care for their children due to costs.
• A number of studies have shown that Maine has high quality hospitals.
• However, a quality health system is one that improves the health of the population.
• Despite our high level of spending, Maine has high rates of preventable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma.
• These diseases lower the quality of life for the people who suffer from them.
• These diseases also put unnecessary strain on our healthcare system: it costs far more to treat these diseases than it does to prevent them.
KEY OBJECTIVES INCLUDE:
1. Reducing the number of uninsured Maine people by 31,000;
2. Setting priorities and target spending amounts for new investments in health care facilities and equipment;
3. Reducing the inappropriate use of hospital emergency departments by persons with mental illness and develop appropriate community options and prevention strategies;
4. Developing specific strategies to reduce the amount of chronic illnesses – notably heart disease, cancer, diabetes, lung disease and asthma;
5. Working to assure all Maine people, regardless of geography, receive best practices in medical care;
6. Streamlining and simplifying billing practices by Maine’s public purchasers and initiate payment methods that reward good performance;
7. Conducting a statewide community dialogue titled “Tough Choices” to engage private citizens in a discussion of their priorities in order to achieve a sustainable health care system.
This State Health Plan is a One-Year Transitional plan. The Tough Choices campaign and work-plan included in the State Health Plan will result in the first biennial State Health Plan to be issued on July 1, 2005.
You can find the State Health Plan on the web at: http://www.maine.gov/governor/baldacci/healthpolicy/reports/Maine%27s%20State%20Health%20Plan%2007-23-04.pdf. [return to top]