Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) on Wednesday announced a health care reform proposal that he said would expand access to health care services and reduce costs to the state, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Worden/Goldstein, Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/18).
Rendell did not release cost estimates for the program, but state officials said it would be funded using:
- Contributions from workers and employers;
- Federal grants;
- State funds currently allocated to other health programs;
- Increased state cigarette tax; and
- A state tax on smokeless tobacco and cigars (Fahy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1/18).
Provisions of the proposal, called the "Prescription for Pennsylvania," are highlighted below.
Health IT, Medical Technology
The proposal would call for hospitals to invest in health IT applications, such as electronic prescribing systems, to help reduce medical errors (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1/18). Hospitals would be asked to install electronic systems to track hospital infections to ensure accurate reporting of the problem (Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/18).
In addition, the governor's plan calls for a new review process for some regions to evaluate the need for new medical technology or other investments under consideration by hospitals (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1/18).
Under Rendell's proposal, the state at some point would stop reimbursing hospitals for unnecessary care in a hospital emergency department or for services to treat conditions resulting from hospital-acquired infections. The policy would apply to beneficiaries of Medicaid or other programs the state administers.
Rendell also plans to meet with other large purchasers of health care to develop a pay-for-performance program that would link payments for health care services to the quality of care (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1/18).