Office of Health Transformation Update January 7, 2016
Ohio's infant mortality rate improves, but disparity grows
Over the past four years, the Governor's Office of Health Transformation and its partner agencies initiated an unprecedented package of reforms to improve overall health system performance for pregnant women and infants and reduce infant mortality. Last year, fewer babies died in Ohio than at any point in at least 75 years, and the state's overall infant mortality rate decreased from 7.4 deaths per 1,000 births to 6.8 in 2014. However, the rate of black babies dying before their first birthday is double the state rate and increased from 13.8 deaths per 1,000 births in 2013 to 14.3 in 2014. In response to this disparity, Governor Kasich instructed the Ohio Departments of Health and Medicaid to surge resources into neighborhoods most at risk for poor birth outcomes. The budget enacted in June supports this strategy with funding to identify the most at-risk neighborhoods, support enhanced care management for women in those neighborhoods, and engage leaders in those neighborhoods to connect women to care. Implementing this strategy will be the focus in 2016.
Study Committee Recommends Graduate Medical Education Reforms
As a result of the budget enacted in June, a legislative study committee reviewed why the 30-year-old Medicaid funding formula for graduate medical education (GME) generates dramatically different results for hospitals that provide similar medical training. Some hospitals receive up to $385,000 per resident or intern trained while others receive nothing at all. The committee submitted a report in December that outlines a strategy to make the GME formula more fair and promote state health policy priorities, including recruiting and retaining more physicians into primary care and specialties with shortages. Ohio Medicaid will use the committee's report as its starting point when it initiates consideration of Medicaid GME reforms in 2016.