Victoria Veltri, JD, LLM, is the state's Healthcare Advocate in the Office of the Healthcare Advocate. Since becoming Acting Healthcare Advocate in January 2011 and sworn in as the Healthcare Advocate in April 2011, Ms. Veltri has overseen OHA in its mission to: assist health insurance consumers with managed care plan selection; educate consumers about their health care rights; directly assist health insurance consumers with filings of complaints and appeals, and; pursue other health care activities. Ms. Veltri has extensive legal experience in health care advocacy and in legislative policy. Ms. Veltri joined the OHA staff as the office's General Counsel in 2006.
Prior to joining the OHA, Ms. Veltri was a staff attorney at Greater Hartford Legal Aid, Inc. (GHLA), where she directed GHLA’s systemic health-related advocacy and helped to lead statewide collaborative efforts to preserve and improve Medicaid, State-Administered General Assistance and other benefit programs.
Since her arrival at OHA, Ms. Veltri has led OHA’s legislative and administrative policy efforts, which has resulted in, among other items:
· Legislation requiring that OHA’s contact information be listed on denial letters issued by insurers
· Creation of a state law definition of medical necessity in insurance policies and extending the period for the filing of external appeals (a joint effort with the Office of the Attorney General);
· An agreement allowing OHA to call for insurance rate review hearings for individual and small group health insurance policies;
· Elimination of an outdated rule requiring a three-day acute hospital stay for patients seeking medically necessary residential care for mental health disorders;
· Provision of technical assistance and support for numerous pieces of legislation.
Ms. Veltri also advises the staff on legal issues arising in individual consumer cases and in systemic matters related to managed care issues including improper billing practices and patterns of denials. She’s represented OHA in administrative proceedings challenging health insurance rate hikes. She speaks around the state and at national conferences to community groups, students, providers and businesses about healthcare rights in CT and under federal law. Under Ms. Veltri's leadership, the staff has increased its scope of responsibility via collaborations with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Department of Social Services (DSS) to include the recovery of inappropriately expended state resources for services paid by the state's general fund for services that should have been covered under private insurance plans.
Ms. Veltri successfully obtained three grants (one in 2010 and two in 2012) totaling nearly $1 million under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that provided substantial resources for OHA to assist Connecticut residents and resulted in OHA's designation as Connecticut’s office of health insurance consumer assistance under federal law. As a result, all plans--state and federally regulated--that cover Connecticut residents must include OHA's contact information on notices denying coverage of services so that consumers can seek assistance with appeals.
Ms. Veltri has submitted comments to federal agencies on proposed regulations under the Affordable Care Act concerning internal and external appeals processes, summaries of benefits and coverage and Medicaid coverage and health exchange regulation. She has a special interest in the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) of 2008, participating in negotiations with congressional staff on final language of provisions of that law, commenting on the interim final rule for implementation of the MHPAEA and leading OHA's efforts to ensure compliance with the MHPAEA on behalf of Connecticut consumers. Ms. Veltri also leads OHA's efforts and commitment to bring substantial reform to the provision of preventive services and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders in CT.
Ms. Veltri represents OHA at the Council on Medical Assistance Program Oversight. She is a member of the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange Board of Directors, the co-chair of both the Consumer Outreach and Experience and Personnel Committees of the Exchange, and a member of the Exchange's Strategy and Finance Committees. Ms Veltri sits on the Governor's Healthcare Cabinet, the Health Information Technology Exchange Board of Directors, and the Connecticut Healthcare Associated Infections Advisory Committee. Ms. Veltri is also a member of the Advisory Board for the Programs in Healthcare Management & Insurance Studies in the School of Business at UConn.
A graduate of the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, Ms. Veltri also holds a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Western New England College School of Law and a Master of Laws (LL.M.) from New York University School of Law. She is admitted to practice law in the states of Connecticut and New York, the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She is member of the American Health Lawyers Association. Ms. Veltri resides in Colchester.