The Connecticut Chapter of the American College of Cardiology (CCACC) 2017 Mid-Session Legislative Update
This is a mid-session update, as the General Assembly prepares to wrap-up the committee (27) process and move to action on pending legislation reported respectively to the house or senate for consideration and final action by both chambers. The judiciary committee, a major and important committee for all medical groups to watch, just finished work on Friday April 7th.
The overwhelming 800 LB. gorilla in the room is the looming and growing budget deficit for the current fiscal estimated at +/- $50MM year and the estimated $2-3 billion deficit for the coming biennial budget under discussion, a hefty $1.5 BB each year. Expenses have been cut, services have been cut and staff has been cut. Overhead costs related to staff remains a third rail but increasingly more likely to be part of the final discussion whenever that occurs. At this point the General Assembly is not expected to finish their work particularly on the budget and tax front by the constitutional deadline of June 7th.
Tax increases and new tax options are on the table for some but are another third rail discussion without bipartisan support. A sales tax increase is under consideration as well as a municipal option sales tax. There are discussions of repealing the hospital tax as well as subjecting all hospitals and other non-profits to local property taxes.
One thing seems certain that there are many discussions to come before a resolution gets a simple majority of votes to pass. Keep in mind that the parties are separated by 3 votes in the house and are tied at 18-18 in the senate with the Lt. Governor Wyman providing the tie breaking vote if necessary.
HB 6025 was voted to the floor of the house for consideration by the public health committee. This legislation would allow medical assistants to administer vaccines in medical offices.
This legislation proposes a cooling off period in medical liability actions focused on creating an opportunity for thoughtful resolution before an issue becomes a litigated medical malpractice claim. The bill is expected to first be under discussion in the senate. The amended version of the bill in the senate proposes a working group to address concerns and approach to reducing medical malpractice costs in CT. SB940.
HB 6981 would create a task force to study public health prevention efforts. The college is watching this legislation as an opportunity to engage in public Health education efforts.
SB 34 is legislation advocated by the American Heart Association. Under the proposal the DPH would certify a hospital upon application as one of three level stroke centers. The list would be maintained by DPH and shared annually with all statewide EMS services as a tool in determining treatment options.
Armando P. Paolino III
CCACC Government Relations Committee: Gil Lancaster, MD. FACC, Chairperson; Ed Tuohy, MD. FACC, Chapter President / Immediate Past ACC Governor; Kevin Kett, MD. FACC, Chapter President Elect / ACC Governor; Simon Flynn. CCACC Executive Director