State Releases Preliminary Look at Health Care Spending in 2018

Report Is Latest Step in Effort to Analyze Cost and Quality of Care in Delaware

DOVER (June 4, 2020) – The Delaware Health Care Commission (DHCC) has released preliminary data on health-care spending in the state in calendar year 2018, the latest step in the state’s effort to reduce health care spending and improve quality of care for Delawareans.

The report, available here, follows the establishment in late 2018 of a state health care spending benchmark, a per-annum rate-of-growth benchmark for health care spending. The first benchmark went into effect Jan. 1, 2019, and was set at 3.8 percent, with the target expected to decrease gradually to 3.0 percent over the following three years.

Picture of DHSS Secretary Kara Odom Walker
DHSS Secretary Kara Odom Walker

The DHCC collected spending data from calendar year 2018 to provide a preliminary basis for calculating the state’s health care spending performance and to serve as a baseline for 2019 spending growth calculations. The 2018 baseline data collection also allowed the state’s health insurers and the DHCC to test payers’ data-submission methods and identify areas for improvement.

The DHCC is scheduled to collect 2019 medical expense data from insurers this summer. As part of the next round of benchmark data collection, health care insurers will be asked to resubmit their 2018 data to incorporate any updates to collection methods to ensure better year-over-year comparisons. Because of that, the DHCC expects the next set of 2018 data to differ from that released today.

The state plans to release its 2019 health-care spending performance as measured against the 3.8 percent benchmark early next year.

The release of the preliminary spending data from 2018 marks another step along the state’s “Road to Value” initiative to improve access to affordable, quality health care for all Delawareans. That effort remains vitally important while Delaware addresses the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, said Dr. Kara Odom Walker, secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, a member of the Delaware Health Care Commission and a practicing family physician.

“We need to support our health care system to rebound from the global pandemic with value-based goals so it can be stronger than ever,” Secretary Walker said. “Now, more than ever, our vision to improve transparency and public awareness of spending and quality in our state through the adoption of spending and quality benchmarks will assist in these efforts.”

To learn more about Delaware’s health care spending and quality benchmarks, visit the Delaware Health Care Commission website.

-30-

The Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of life of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.

 


Governor Carney Urges Delawareans with Health Care, Child Care Experience to Assist in COVID-19 Response

Community call-to-action issued for workforce support

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney expanded his community call-to-action on Saturday morning, urging all Delaware citizens with health care and child care experience to offer their expertise in Delaware’s fight against COVID-19.

Last week, Governor Carney urged citizens, businesses and nonprofits with access to emergency materials and supplies to support Delaware’s response.

The State of Delaware has launched an online application portal at de.gov/coronavirus to recruit Delawareans with health care and early education credentials to fill critical positions in our health care and emergency child care workforce.

Click here if you can offer to work in health care, child care, or early education.

“We need all Delaware citizens, businesses, and nonprofits to support Delaware’s response to COVID-19,” said Governor Carney. “If you have experience in health care or child care especially, please sign up at de.gov/coronavirus and help us fill critical positions. Thank you to all of Delaware’s health care workers who have been on the front lines, risking their own health and safety to protect others. Thank you to Delaware’s child care workers, our grocery store employees, teachers, and all Delawareans who are stepping up for their neighbors during this difficult time. We’ll get through this, but it will take all of us.”

If you are looking for ways to support Delaware’s response – and specifically if you have expertise in areas of medicine, public health, and/or behavioral health – please apply through the online workforce portal. Applications will be reviewed by the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) and shared with institutions in need across Delaware. Anyone who is licensed or certified to work in child care or education is also encouraged to submit their information for potential temporary employment by emergency child care sites. Applications will be reviewed by Delaware’s Office of Early Learning.

The community call-to-action also reminds Delawareans that donations of cleaning supplies and other items for emergency child care sites are urgently needed.

Click here if you are a citizen, business or nonprofit with materials and supplies to support Delaware’s response.

Critical needs include:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sanitizing Wipes
  • Nitrile Gloves
  • Tyvek Suits
  • N95 Masks
  • Face shields and/or eye protection
  • Impermeable gowns

Delawareans with questions about COVID-19, related to medical or social service needs, should call 2-1-1; or 7-1-1 for individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends. Questions may also be submitted by email at DPHCall@delaware.gov.  

DPH will continue to update the public as more information becomes available. For the latest on Delaware’s response, visit: de.gov/coronavirus.

 

###


GOV. CARNEY OP-ED: We Can Build on Health Care Progress

Governor John Carney published an op-ed about progress made in Delaware to get more Delawareans health insurance coverage, and reminds Delawareans the ACA health insurance marketplace enrollment period ends December 15. 

 

Ten years ago, before President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, it was legal for insurance companies to deny Delawareans health coverage because they had diabetes or another pre-existing condition.

Across our state, more than 11 percent of Delawareans went without insurance. They skipped preventive visits to their doctors. And they accepted that a health crisis could also mean losing all their savings, or worse.

In the years since, we have made substantial progress in reducing the number of uninsured Delawareans.

With federal assistance, we have expanded our Medicaid program to provide quality health insurance coverage for Delaware families who need it the most. And more than 22,000 Delawareans have signed up for a health plan under the ACA health insurance marketplace.

Since implementation of the ACA, we have nearly cut our uninsured population in half in Delaware. And here’s some good news this year: rates on the ACA health insurance marketplace are down almost 20 percent, which we hope will encourage more Delawareans to get covered.

This is because, working with the General Assembly, we passed House Bill 193 into law, creating a reinsurance program which helped drive down the cost of coverage on the ACA marketplace.

In addition, some people will qualify for premium assistance, making the plans even more affordable.

That’s a really big deal. And as we near this year’s deadline of open enrollment on the ACA health insurance marketplace, we want to make sure even more Delawareans get covered.

For Delawareans who don’t have coverage through their employers, and for those who already have insurance through the ACA marketplace, I want to remind you and urge you to shop and compare ACA marketplace plans.

If you don’t have coverage, you need to act quickly. Enrollment on the ACA marketplace is open through December 15. Visit ChooseHealthDE.com to review your options and enroll at healthcare.gov.

If you’re not sure if can afford coverage on the marketplace, Westside Family Healthcare has health care navigators to help walk you through your options, including whether you and your family are eligible for financial assistance.

To make an appointment with a marketplace navigator, call Westside Family Healthcare at 302-472-8655 in New Castle County or 302-678-2205 in Kent and Sussex counties. Or visit ChooseHealthDE.com.

We know that we still have a lot of hard work to make health care more affordable for Delawareans and Delaware families. That’s why – working with members of the General Assembly – we created the new reinsurance program.

And that’s why we are working with health care providers on an initiative to bring transparency to health care prices and give Delaware consumers more information when they are making decision on where to get care.

Our overall goals are to reduce health care costs costs, and improve affordability and health outcomes for Delawareans across our state.

Our overall goals are to reduce health care costs and to improve affordability and health outcomes for Delawareans across our state. To do this, we need to build on the foundation of the ACA until all Delawareans are able to get the quality health care they deserve.

John Carney is the 74th Governor of the State of Delaware.


Delaware Issues RFP for Office of Value-Based Health Care Delivery

Delaware’s Department of Insurance is pleased to announce that it is actively recruiting for a qualified independent contractor to staff and run its new Office of Value-Based Health Care Delivery. The Office will assist the Insurance Commissioner and Delaware’s Primary Care Reform Collaborative in evaluating primary care accessibility and affordability statewide.

“Reducing health care costs in Delaware is a key priority of my administration,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “The team leading our Office of Value-Based Health Care Delivery needs to possess a high level of expertise in health care transformation and innovation. Together with the Primary Care Reform Collaborative, we intend to identify quantitative tools that will help increase the availability of high quality, cost-efficient health insurance products that have stable, predictable, and affordable rates.”

Earlier this year, members of the General Assembly passed Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill No. 116, in order to create the Office. The Office was a recommendation of the Primary Care Reform Collaborative, which is tasked with evaluating the high costs of care in Delaware. In the months since passage, the Collaborative has been working hard to develop recommendations to strengthen Delaware’s primary care system.

“The legislature’s consideration of pro-consumer bills has allowed us to continue to foster an environment where residents are prioritized over profits,” said Leslie W. Ledogar, Esq, the Commissioner’s representative within the working group. “The Office of Value-Based Health Care Delivery epitomizes that vision, and we are grateful for everyone who spent time working on this effort.”

The Request for Proposal may be downloaded from the Office of Management and Budget website. Applicant questions should be directed to the Department’s Regulatory Specialist Leslie W. Ledogar, Esq.


Secretary Walker Announces Appointment of New Director to Lead DHSS’ Division of Health Care Quality

NEW CASTLE (Sept. 3, 2019) – Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Dr. Kara Walker announced the appointment of Yrene Waldron, former Executive Director of the Delaware Health Care Facilities Association, to lead the Division of Health Care Quality. She will begin her duties Sept. 16.

“I am thrilled that Yrene is joining our Department as director of the Division of Health Care Quality,” Secretary Walker said. “As the former director of the Delaware Health Care Facilities Association, she brings extensive experience working with health care system and their staffs to her new role. She understands how the health care system works, the important role it plays in caring for and keeping Delawareans safe, and the role our Division of Health Care Quality which promotes quality care and the enforcement of state and federal laws and regulations.”

The Division of Health Care Quality, one of 11 divisions in the Department of Health and Social Services, has 72 full-time equivalent employees and an annual budget of $6.2 million for Fiscal Year 2020. The division’s mission is to protect patients and residents in health care agencies and facilities across the state. DHCQ staff licenses and certifies a broad range of facilities, homes and agencies, including nursing homes, hospitals, free-standing emergency departments, skilled home health agencies, office-based surgery facilities and group homes for individuals with mental illness.

The division also maintains an Adult Abuse Registry, a Criminal Background Check System for people who work in health care facilities and for agencies, a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Registry, a Complaint and Incident Reporting System, and other enforcement systems.

“I am sincerely grateful and humbled by the opportunity to serve as the Director of Health Care Quality Division and look forward to working with stakeholders across the health care continuum on our mutual goals of improving health care quality outcomes,” said Yrene Waldron.

Waldron worked in the acute care setting prior to serving as the Executive Director of the Delaware Health Care Facilities Association from 1998 until this year, when she retired. She was responsible for monitoring, reviewing and analyzing federal and state statutes and regulations, and communicating changes to her members; coordinating educational seminars; and representing the organization on boards and commissions in Delaware and nationally. Among her achievements was establishing meaningful and trusting relationships with state and federal legislators, the governor’s administration, state agencies and other related stakeholders in order to reach consensus on outcomes affecting health care facilities.

Before being named to her position at the Delaware Health Care Facilities Association, Waldron held various positions with health care facilities and hospitals in Delaware, Florida and Pennsylvania.

Waldron succeeds Mary Peterson, who retired in April.