Sen. Roraback & Rep. Willis Hail Passage Of Hospice Bill For Rural Areas

April 22, 2004

Senator Andrew Roraback, R- Goshen, and Representative Roberta Willis, D-Lakeville, announced that the State Senate passed legislation today permitting visiting nurses in Northwest Connecticut to be reimbursed for hospice visits to terminally ill patients. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives last week.

“I am delighted that the legislature has responded to the very real needs identified by those caring for hospice patients in our corner of the state. Passage of this bill again confirms that members of the community can bring about positive changes to our laws by working with their elected officials through the legislative process,” said Senator Roraback.

“I am pleased that the legislature approved the bill,” Representative Willis said. “The legislation will correct a Department of Public Health regulation and will enable terminally ill patients and their families to receive the benefits of Hospice Services in Northwest Connecticut.

Representative Willis pointed out that the legislation takes corrective action allowing for Medicare reimbursement of hospice services that are provided in smaller town and rural areas. NW Hospice will benefit by the legislation and will continue to be able to provide “its excellent service to families during a difficult period in their lives.”

This legislation, HB 5629 An Act Concerning Hospice Services In Rural Areas, was introduced by State Senator Roraback and State Representative Willis after officials at Sharon Hospice and visiting nurse agencies in Litchfield and Salisbury related that, because of their small size, state law was not allowing them to receive Medicare reimbursement for hospice services. After meeting with officials at the state Department of Public Health, representatives of these Northwest Connecticut agencies testified in front of the Public Health Committee of the General Assembly.