The state legislature finished its work at the stroke of midnight on Wednesday. Much will be said in the coming days about what did (and did not) get done. In the blur of last-minute votes, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 35 in an attempt to get a handle on the consolidation of Connecticut’s hospitals and medical practices, as well as for-profit takeovers of nonprofit hospitals.
The final bill was an amalgam of three or four bills in a deal brokered by the Malloy administration. Stakeholders are reportedly not all happy with the final legislation, which is a sign of compromise by all parties. A quick analysis of the bill can be found in the CT Mirror.
It appears the state’s leaders felt compelled to take some action in 2014, as the state’s hospital landscape is shifting rapidly. (See the blog on this topic: Consumer Engagement Needed to Keep Changing Hospital Landscape in Focus.) The result may be that the state is playing a bit of Hokey Pokey, with “one foot in and one foot out.” That approach may prove to be okay for now. But action should not stop with close of the legislative session.
The future shape of hospitals in Connecticut has enormous impact – for patients, for health care professionals, for our wallets, for the quality of our care, for communities in which hospitals are located, and more. Too much is at stake to take the Hokey Pokey approach. Stakeholders and state leaders need to jump in with both feet and figure out what we need the hospitals of the future to look like and how our state can get there.