Hospitals seek citizen support in crusade against cuts

As you might be aware, the proposed budget unveiled by Gov. Dannel Malloy earlier this month proposed, among other things, cutting a total of more than $500 million in funding to the state’s hospitals over two years.

When the proposed cuts were announced, the Connecticut Hospital Association and member of its member hospitals, decried the initiative, saying it would “devastate” the state’s hospitals. Now CHA is seeking the support of the public to keep the cuts from happening. The association has launched an “action center” where residents can write a note to their state senator, state representative or a chair or ranking member of the appropriations committee showing their displeasure with the proposed cuts. The site actually has its own “form letter” that concerned citizens can change or add to before sending.

The message reads as follows:
“The cuts proposed in the Governor’s budget would devastate hospitals in Connecticut, and would shred the healthcare safety net-hurting patients, employees, and every community in the state.

If the proposed budget is accepted, hospitals will need to cut programs and services that Connecticut families have come to rely on-disproportionately those that already lose money like programs for low-income individuals and mental health services. Hospitals take their mission to treat all, regardless of their ability to pay, very seriously. But with these drastic budget cuts, many of the state’s neediest people will lose out.

I am a strong supporter of my local hospital. Please protect our hospitals and the people they serve. Don’t shred the safety net. Please restore funding for hospitals.”

The majority of the proposed cuts would be to the payments hospitals are given to help fund uncompensated care. The state’s rationale for cutting the payments is that, as federal health care reforms ramp up, there will be less uncompensated care at hospitals. But many hospital administrators have said that, even when reform takes effect there will still be people without health insurance and, with less funds, it will be harder to serve them.

What do you think about the cuts? Are they necessary? Do you fear they will harm the hospitals? Please leave your comments below.

Amanda Cuda