Connecticut hospitals and health systems are mission-driven organizations, with a commitment to be prepared for whatever healthcare challenges arise. We have proven the value of close collaboration with our colleagues in state and federal government, participating in COVID-19 emergency planning and response.
Connecticut hospitals and health systems are known nationally for driving culture change through high reliability safety practices, reducing serious safety events in Connecticut by 84 percent over the past seven years. These tools have proven effective during the pandemic.
As always, Connecticut hospitals and health systems are focused on eliminating preventable infections and errors that lead to patient harm. Hospitals work individually and collaboratively in state and national programs, as well as with partners in the community to enhance patient support and to improve quality.
Connecticut hospitals and health systems have long recognized and individually fought to address the disparities in care that have come alarmingly into focus during the pandemic. In 2018, our organization devised a ground-breaking statewide plan to transform care delivery with Unite Connecticut, a social determinants of health collaborative.
CHA is coordinating collaboration among hospitals and community-based organizations to address social determinants of health and reduce disparities that lead to poor clinical outcomes. A statewide system has been implemented with a closed-loop technology platform to screen and refer patients to needed services such as housing, food, and transportation – ensuring the integration of social determinants data with healthcare data. This robust, collaborative, and holistic approach ensures continuity once patients leave the clinical setting, through real-time connections with trusted, accountable community partners who share a vision for a healthy future.
Worker safety in 2020 became characterized by the need for supplies of personal protective equipment to minimize exposure to COVID-19. Yet the safety of the workforce has been a top priority for Connecticut’s hospitals for many years.
To coordinate efforts and share best practices, in 2016 CHA and its members launched the Safer Hospitals Initiative, with goals to promote employee engagement through statewide adoption of proven strategies to promote a safe and supportive workplace. Hospitals are sharing data and successful approaches to reduce safety incidents and workplace violence. They are also implementing peer support programs for healthcare workers who experience on-the-job trauma.
Each day, Connecticut hospitals treat children and adults in behavioral health crisis. Between 2015 and 2020, Connecticut hospitals experienced a 27 percent increase in patient visits with a behavioral health diagnosis. Inpatient, Emergency Department, and Outpatient Observation visits where a behavioral health condition was the principal or secondary diagnosis increased from 30 percent of all hospital visits in FY 2015 to 45 percent in FY 2020.*
Demand for hospital-based services was driven in part by a lack of community-based and other clinical resources to meet the needs of patients before and after a hospital visit. Other factors include limited public funding for prevention and treatment programs, growing shortages of medical specialists to treat these patients and reasons associated with social determinants of health such as unemployment, interpersonal violence, poverty resulting in food insecurity, and lack of shelter or stable housing.
Connecticut hospitals and health systems are committed to reducing costs and making sure healthcare is affordable and accessible to everyone. Hospitals and health systems strive to offer clear and meaningful pricing information, to assist patients in making informed choices about healthcare. Hospitals offer many resources for patients to assist in the bill payment process and encourage patients to discuss the costs of their services with their provider or insurance company.