Delaware to Participate in NGA’s Bipartisan Health Reform Learning Network

Initiative will help states anticipate effects of federal health care changes, and discuss new ways to reduce costs

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney announced on Thursday that Delaware has been selected as one of 14 states to participate in the Governors’ Bipartisan Health Reform Learning Network – an initiative led by the National Governors Association. The network will help Delaware anticipate potential federal health care changes under consideration in Congress, and discuss new ways of using innovation to reduce the growth in health care spending.

Governor Carney has expressed concern over efforts in Washington to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, saying proposed changes could limit access to quality health care for Delawareans with the greatest needs, and shift health care costs onto the states.

“I believe that the technical assistance provided through this opportunity will make a significant difference in our efforts to curb the growth of health care spending in Delaware and to prepare for the statutory and regulatory parameters of any new Medicaid or private health insurance reforms that may be enacted in Washington,” said Governor Carney. “The work of our Delaware team will have a direct impact on the lives of all Delawareans, including state employees and retirees, those who are covered by Medicaid, and individuals and families who depend on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for quality health care.”

Strategically realigning resources to drive statewide health care innovation, improve health outcomes, and lower costs was a recommendation of the Action Plan for Delaware.

The Governors’ Bipartisan Health Reform Learning Network – which is designed to assist states in navigating the changing health care landscape – will include Delaware, California, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

Delaware and the other states will:

  • Receive clear, unbiased information on the potential impact of proposed changes to Medicaid and private health insurance;
  • Engage in a dialogue with other state leaders and national experts about reform proposals, including targets for health care spending, and their potential impact on states;
  • Receive data analyses regarding the state impact of health care reforms; and
  • Receive technical assistance to understand and prepare for the statutory and regulatory parameters of any new Medicaid and private health insurance reforms, if enacted.

Delaware also will join six other states – Minnesota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont and Virginia – in a complementary Maternal and Child Health working group charged with evaluating proposed changes and informing the learning network about potential implications.

The members of Delaware’s Health Reform Learning Network team are:

  • Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS);
  • Molly Magarik, Deputy Secretary for DHSS;
  • Chris Hudson, Director of Budget Development, Planning and Administration with the Office of Management and Budget;
  • Regina Mitchell, Fiscal and Policy Analyst with the Office of Management and Budget;
  • Dr. Karyl Rattay, Director of DHSS’ Division of Public Health;
  • Stephen Groff, Director of DHSS’ Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance;
  • Laura Howard, Executive Director of the Health Care Commission; and
  • Sheila Grant, Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Carney.

The members of Delaware’s Maternal and Child Health working group include:

  • Leah Jones Woodall, Section Chief for Family Health Systems, federally designated Maternal and Child Health Director in DHSS’ Division of Public Health;
  • Kate Tullis, PhD., Director of Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs in DHSS’ Division of Public Health;
  • Dr. Karyl Rattay, Director of DHSS’ Division of Public Health; and
  • Stephen Groff, Director of DHSS’ Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance.

Secretary Walker, a board-certified family physician, said Delaware’s acceptance into the learning network will help to further the health care innovation under way at DHSS and through the Delaware Center for Health Innovation (DCHI).

“We are at a critical stage in our health care delivery transformation,” said Secretary Walker. “As participants in the Governors’ Bipartisan Health Reform Learning Network, we will be able to tap into some of the best ideas and innovations in the country, including global spending targets to curb the growth of health care spending, and bring them to our state. We believe that will lead us to additional ways to improve the health of Delawareans and their experience with the health care system, while reducing the overall costs.”

Delaware already is taking steps to drive health care innovation, improve health care outcomes, and lower costs.

In 2015, Delaware was selected to receive a four-year, $35 million grant from the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to implement initiatives that are focused on helping Delaware achieve the Triple Aim Plus One: better health, improved health care quality and patient experience, lower growth in per capita health care costs, and an enhanced provider experience that promotes patient-centered engagement.

The goal of the innovation work is to strengthen the primary care system so that patients experience well-coordinated, team-based care that delivers better health outcomes, to align incentives for providers and health insurers to focus on quality and affordability, to support patients to engage in their own health, and to support communities to work together to promote health and connect community resources to the health care system.

Delaware’s accomplishments to date from the grant include the statewide launch of a Common Provider Scorecard with health measures aligned with major payers, more than 350 primary care providers receiving grant-funded training and technical assistance in transforming their practices to better meet all of the needs of their patients, financial assistance to six behavioral health practices that include 68 providers to support adoption of electronic medical records, more than 30 percent adoption of value-based payment models by providers statewide, the launch of a community-based population health initiative in two areas of the state, and the passage of legislation enabling the Delaware Health Care Claims Database.


LEGISLATIVE ADVISORY: Governor Carney Signs Bill to Reduce Dropout Rate

Legislation sponsored by Representative Matthews and Senator McDowell

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney has signed House Bill 23, legislation aimed at reducing the dropout rate in Delaware’s public schools.

Representative Sean Matthews and Senator Harris McDowell sponsored the legislation.

“All of Delaware’s students deserve an equal opportunity to learn and succeed,” said Governor Carney. “We know that Delawareans without a high school degree are more likely to be unemployed, and more likely to earn less than those who complete their education. Students who are considering withdrawing from school, and their families, should understand those potential consequences. The changes made in this legislation would help us reach some of those students. Thank you to Representative Matthews, Senator McDowell and all members of the General Assembly for taking on this important issue.”

The new law requires that students over the age of 16 who wish to withdraw from school prior to graduation both obtain written consent from their parent or guardian, and attend an exit interview. Schools will inform those students about the potential consequences of dropping out of school, including a greater risk for unemployment and a lower earning potential. The Department of Education will provide materials for the exit interviews. Those interviews also will cover any available support services or programs that may assist the student in pursuing their education, and information about training and employment opportunities.

“Research and experience has shown that a student dropping out of high school is often a gradual process of disengagement between the student and school community. For the most part, students don’t just drop out because they reach 16 years of age and are allowed to drop out,” said Representative Matthews. “Reaching out and engaging these students and their parents before a situation becomes serious are critical to reducing and preventing students from dropping out in the first place. We must take positive steps to engage students and educate them on the significance of dropping out and the challenges it creates for them later in life.”

“Kids who graduate high school are likely to go on to lead stable, productive and in many cases extraordinary lives and we need to do all we can as a state to help them realize that potential,” said Senator McDowell. “This new law ensures that some real thought, collaboration, and analysis is a part of the life-altering decision to leave high school.”

Read Governor Carney’s full Legislative Advisory #4 to learn more about legislation recently signed into law.

Governor Carney Visits Appoquinimink High School to Highlight Pathways Program

MIDDLETOWN, Del. – Governor John Carney visited Appoquinimink High School on Friday with Delaware Secretary of Education Susan Bunting to talk with educators and students about Delaware’s Pathways to Prosperity Program. Governor Carney and Secretary Bunting toured classrooms and met with students engaged in different pathways. Governor Carney is committed to expanding work-based learning opportunities for Delaware students.

“Delaware’s economy remains in a period of significant transition, and we should ensure our schools are teaching the skills that employers demand,” said Governor Carney. “That means connecting Delaware’s educators with our employers, allowing our students to gain practical, work-based experience and retooling our workforce development programs to help students and employers succeed. Work-based learning opportunities like Culinary & Hospitality Management, Engineering, and Allied Health –just a few of the pathways offered at Appoquinimink High School – will help us prepare Delaware’s students to succeed in jobs of the future.”

Delaware launched its Pathways to Prosperity initiative in 2015 to establish partnerships between Delaware employers and educators, and better prepare Delaware’s students for college or a career. In March, the Delaware Pathways Steering Committee presented its Strategic Plan to Governor Carney to expand work-based education.


Photos from Friday’s visit:

Gov. Carney visits Appoquinimink High School Gov. Carney visits Appoquinimink High School Gov. Carney visits Appoquinimink High School Gov. Carney visits Appoquinimink High SchoolGov. Carney visits Appoquinimink High School

Governor Carney’s Statement on Proposed Modifications to the Coastal Zone Act

DOVER, Del.Governor John Carney on Thursday released the following statement on HB 190, which would responsibly modify the Coastal Zone Act:

“We can and should responsibly redevelop Delaware’s industrial sites, clean them up and put them back to work for Delawareans. This legislation would allow additional flexibility for the 14 existing heavy industry sites within the Coastal Zone, and only those sites. It would open these sites up for additional redevelopment and job creation – while maintaining a commitment to environmental protection. We should do what we can to add good-paying jobs for all Delawareans, while continuing to protect our natural resources. The responsible changes in this bill meet that test. Thank you to Representative Osienski and Senator Townsend and all members of the General Assembly for taking on this important issue.”


Governor Carney and Legislators Announce Bill to Expand Cybersecurity Protections for Delawareans

House Bill 180, sponsored by Representative Baumbach, has bipartisan support in General Assembly

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney and members of the General Assembly announced legislation on Thursday that would expand protections for Delawareans affected by computer security breaches.

The bipartisan legislation, House Bill 180, is sponsored by Representative Paul Baumbach. Additional sponsors include Senator David Sokola, Senator Ernesto “Ernie” Lopez, Senator Brian Pettyjohn, Representative Stephanie T. Bolden and Representative Deborah Hudson.

“This legislation would provide additional, common sense protections for Delawareans whose personal information may be compromised in a cybersecurity breach,” said Governor Carney. “We live in a world where these types of breaches are becoming more common, and we should enact additional safeguards for all Delawareans who may be affected. Thank you to Representative Baumbach and all members of the General Assembly who are taking on this important issue.”

“I am pleased to have been able to work with colleagues, members of the governor’s team and members of the technology branch of the Delaware bar to enable Delaware to play catch-up, if not leapfrog, on consumer notifications and protections when there are security breaches of your personal identification. Unfortunately these breaches are becoming too common and often involve a large number of victims,” said Representative Baumbach. “House Bill 180 will improve the notification requirements and ensure that in cases where Social Security numbers are breached, victims receive one-year of identity theft mitigation services. There is more to do, but this bill puts Delaware back on track to ensure better protection for our residents against identity theft due to data breaches.”

“In the ever changing world of cyber-technology, we must be responsive as a government in stepping up to protect Delawareans against the increasing threat of security breaches,” said Senator Sokola. “This legislation asked more of businesses when it comes to vigilance and reporting to law enforcement without burdening them or adding to their overhead. It’s a smart, collaborative path forward.”

“In light of all of the issues we’ve had in regard to instances of our systems being targeted, I think this legislation is extremely important at this time, not just for Delaware, but for our country,” said Senator Lopez.

“I am pleased to be a co-sponsor of this important bill,” said Representative Hudson. “In today’s ever-changing world of technology, there can never be too many safeguards in place to protect Delawareans against identity theft. This bill allows us to continue making strides in keeping citizens’ information safe and secure.”

The legislation would increase cybersecurity protections for Delawareans by requiring businesses to safeguard personal information, and to provide notice to Delawareans affected by a breach within 60 days of discovering the breach. In the event the affected class exceeds 500 residents, the Attorney General must be notified.

The legislation also requires breached entities to provide a year’s worth of identity protection services to affected residents, if Social Security numbers were compromised. Delaware would become just the second state to extend identity theft protection services, by law, to residents affected by a security breach.

“The unfortunate increase of cyber-attacks and data breaches across public and private sectors necessitates additional legal safeguards for victims and raising the bar on organizations by requiring cybersecurity measures be in place to guard personally identifiable information,” said James Collins, Chief Information Officer at the Delaware Department of Technology and Information. “This legislation adds provisions to the law to protect citizen information commonly used by criminals to perpetrate identity theft and fraud. The bill also strengthens the state’s position when working with vendors of cloud and hosted solutions by consistently ensuring Delawareans are notified and afforded credit monitoring in the event of a cyber incident.”