The governor of Maine is pledging to do more to help residents access quality health services, after praising state lawmakers for passing a series of bills aimed at lowering costs, improving care, reducing hospital-acquired infections and promoting transparency.
Among the bills Gov. John Baldacci signed into law is a new 2.14% claims surcharge for the states healthcare program, Dirigo Health, starting Oct. 1, as well as two laws to require hospitals to report to the state prevention protocols and surveillance of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections starting in January.
In his State of the State address, Baldacci said the state is providing $360 million this year in matching funds to 39 hospitals in the state, and will use federal stimulus dollars to create a voucher system for the newly unemployed to keep their health insurance.
Baldacci also said he will spend $3.5 million in federal recovery dollars toward local medical school student scholarships and $500,000 to pilot a patient-centered care model.
As Washington works on national healthcare reform, we will continue to blaze a trail here in Maine, Baldacci said in his address.