UConn Health Center’s Pediatric Services Termination Questioned by Sen. Fasano & Dept. of Public Health

July 26, 2016

Hartford – The Office of Health Care Access is opening an inquiry into the University of Connecticut Health Center’s plan to stop all clinical pediatric services at their East Hartford and West Hartford locations. UConn Health did not notify the Office of Health Care Access of their plan to cease pediatric services by October 1, 2016 and did not obtain Certificate of Need (CON) authorization, which is required of all hospitals before terminating services. Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) raised concerns about the center’s plan to halt these services after legislative leaders were notified of the plan on July 5, 2016.

Following an inquiry from Sen. Fasano to the department, DPH Commissioner Raul Pino wrote to Sen. Fasano: “The Office of Health Care Access (‘OHCA’) was not made aware of the anticipated termination of clinical pediatric services at the Hospital’s East Hartford and West Hartford locations. Conn. Gen. Stat. 19a-638(a)(5) requires Certificate of Need (‘CON’) authorization for the ‘[t]he termination of inpatient or outpatient services offered by a hospital,…’ There is no statute or regulation that specifically exempts the Hospital from the CON process. OHCA will open an inquiry into this matter to determine if CON authorization is required for the anticipated termination. If OHCA determines that the Hospital’s actions require CON authorization, the Hospital may be subject to civil penalties pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 19a-653 if it does file a CON application prior to terminating the clinical pediatric services.”

According to the Dept. of Public Health, the Certificate of Need (CON) process requires certain types of health care providers to obtain State approval prior to making substantial capital investments in new equipment or facilities, changing bed complement in hospitals and adding or discontinuing a health care service.

“The Certificate of Need process ensures openness and transparency when health care facilities close or services are terminated. It’s important to include the public in the process so that our state can be certain that access to high quality and affordable care is protected. Certainly we don’t want to see families in our cities lose access to local pediatric care without being properly informed and without having an opportunity to voice how service changes would affect them,” said Fasano. “I thank the Department of Public Health and OHCA for taking a closer look at this matter.”

DPH to Fasano

OHCA to Uconn Health