Waterbury, Vt.— Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith announced today that the Green Mountain Care Board and the Department of Financial Regulation are joining the agency’s investigation into wait times for medical appointments at health care organizations in Vermont.
“As I mentioned earlier this week, access to health care is more important than ever. Vermonters deserve affordable, high-quality care and they shouldn’t have to wait months for appointments. We are not trying to punish organizations. We really do want to understand the challenges across the system and help identify ways to remove the barriers. The combination and collaboration of the Green Mountain Care Board, the Department of Financial Regulation, and the Agency of Human Services ensures coordination of this effort to examine wait times for access to health care as well as the combining of resources to help solve potential issues,” Smith said.
“Ensuring access to care is a critical component of the success of our health care system,” said Kevin Mullin, Chair of the Green Mountain Care Board. “The data we are seeing and the anecdotes we are hearing have generated great concern by Board members. We welcome the opportunity to work with our state colleagues and our health care providers to quantify the problem and to identify solutions.”
“A relatively minor medical issue can turn into something much more serious when Vermonters are unnecessarily waiting many months for appointments,” said Department of Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak. “An individual whose medical issue has become more serious certainly runs the risk of having a worse health outcome, but in addition, treatment for the more serious condition is likely to be more complex and expensive, which in turn drives up costs to the medical system and ultimately, to everyone’s health insurance premiums.”
The investigation is a result of ongoing concerns regarding access to medical appointments. Ena Backus, the Director of Health Care Reform at the Agency of Human Services, will lead and coordinate the effort.
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