Conn. launches disease management programs

Hoping to lower costs of running its public health care programs, the state of Connecticut is kicking off a series of disease management programs. The programs, which will be administered by the state Department of Social Services, will focus on patients with chronic, high-risk conditions such as diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure. Connecticut is just one of about 40 states which are planning or implementing programs targeting high-cost chronic illnesses, according to Governor M. Jodi Rell. Governor Rell has earmarked $2 million for the program, which will pay for specialized clinicians to work closely with individual patients and manage their care in a targeted manner. The state, which is soliciting $1.5 million bids for initial hypertension, obesity and diabetes programs, is building on the success of its "Easy Breathing" asthma management program. Since its inception in 1998, the Easy Breathing program has identified 17,000 children with asthma, and 93 percent of those children now have a written asthma treatment plan in place.

For more background on the state's program:
- read this article from the Hartford Courant