Connecticut hospital executives ask lawmakers to reverse new budget cuts, want special session

Health Care Associated Press

Connecticut hospital executives called on the General Assembly on Tuesday to prevent $63.4 million in new cuts to state Medicaid payments to their health care facilities.

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Jennifer Jackson, president and CEO of the Connecticut Hospital Association, said the reduction would lead to a $130 million decline in federal reimbursement. Coupled with the cuts already in the new state budget, the additional reduction could cause employee layoffs at various hospitals, Jackson predicted.

Dr. John Murphy, CEO of the Western Connecticut Health Network, questioned whether the reductions were "well thought-out," adding how services will shrink and many needy people will be adversely affected.

Last week, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's office announced it is planning more than $102 million in budget cuts to keep the new $20 billion budget in balance. Malloy's budget director said recent stock market losses have cut into state revenues.

Senate and House Republicans joined hospital officials on Tuesday in calling for a special legislative session to address the state's budget situation.

Democratic House Speaker Brendan Sharkey said a special session makes "no sense," given Malloy's authority to make mid-budget year cuts. However, he said lawmakers will monitor the budget and have the ability to reverse the reductions in the new regular legislative session, which begins in February.