By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Senate unanimously approved Dr. Kathleen C. Hittner on July 2 to serve as the next state health insurance commissioner, succeeding Christopher F. Koller.
The vote followed a hearing held that same day by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Sen. Joshua Miller.
In an unrelated vote, the R.I. General Assembly approved on July 2 health care reform legislation that seeks to increase transparency, address market power, and improve the capability to control costs.
Among the key provisions of “The Rhode Island Health Care Reform Act of 2013” was a provision to enable the R.I. Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner to monitor the transition from traditional fee-for-service payments to alternative models, including global payments, cost sharing, bundled payments other alternative payments to achieve savings for taxpayers.
“Slowing the rapid rise of health care costs while ensuring high-quality care for Rhode Island is the goal of this bill,” Miller said. “But it’s important to realize that goal is a moving target, especially at a time when the Affordable Care Act will soon take effect and the state is opening the Health Benefits Exchange. For that reason, this bill includes a number of elements involving monitoring, reporting and continual evaluation to make sure that when health care needs and costs shift, the health care delivery system evolves, too.”