Budget cuts lead to $60 million cut to Connecticut hospitals [WTNH]

September 22, 2015

Article and video as it appeared on WTNH.com

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Last week, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced an additional $103 million in cuts to address concerns over the state’s budget. $63 million of those are aimed at the state’s hospitals as reductions in Medicaid payments.

On Tuesday, House and Senate Minority leaders called a press conference to ask the Governor to call a special session to revamp the budget, and reduce the impacts to the hospitals.

“If we’re gonna continue to do this month to month then we should just throw this whole budget process out the door and just let him operate by executive order. Cause that’s kinda what happens here,” said House Republican leader Themis Klarides.

At the press conference, politicians were joined by executives from several of the hospitals facing the cuts, as well as representatives from the Connecticut Hospital Association. The Connecticut Hospital Association is urging the public to write to the governor or their legislators to ask them to reconsider the cuts.

“We are developing action plans to deal with these cuts, anticipating that they may not be reversed but
we certainly hope that they will be reversed,” said Dr. Stuart Marcus, President of St. Vincent’s health Services.

Hospital executives say the number of people on Medicaid in Connecticut is on the rise. One in four adults and one in five children receive the benefits. These cuts will result in cut backs to key services aimed at keeping them healthy.

“We’re asking for a conversation. Because I’m not sure these cuts were thought out,” said CEO of Western Connecticut Health Network, Dr. John Murphy.

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano said leaders need to take a broader look at where they can make appropriate cuts to address concerns with the budget.

“We went into special session in December of 2012. In less than 3 weeks we came out with a new budget. We can do that again,” said Fasano.

House Majority Leaders say they don’t support a special session.

“While the governor is within his statutory authority to make prudent budget reductions, the targets of these cuts – hospitals, social services, and municipal aid – are precisely those areas that legislative Democrats voted to restore from the governor’s original budget proposal. Now, after voting against those restorations in the budget, the Republicans can’t decide among themselves whether they support the budget they voted against, or whether, like their House Appropriations Committee leader, they support the governor’s cuts. Given the governor’s authority, a special session makes no sense, and perhaps the Republicans should get themselves in a room to figure out their own position. In the meantime, as we monitor the budget in the coming months, the full legislature will have the opportunity to reverse the cuts in the next regular session,” said Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey.

“That to me is very bothersome and it should bother every person in the State of Connecticut who depends upon our healthcare system,” said Fasano.

Senate Minority Leader Fasano said if the governor doesn’t call a special session, House Majority Leaders have the authority to call one themselves. If that does not happen, Fasano said Republicans will petition to call one themselves.