By Lynne Ide
How might the state help hospitals meet capital improvement challenges in ways other than consolidating into bigger networks or seeking out-of-state, for-profit buyers?
The answer right now is: Let’s study the options.
At least that’s what HB 6938 directs the state to do. The legislation put forward by the Public Health Committee gives the state until January 1, 2016, to think outside the box and report recommendations to the appropriate legislative committees.
In short, the bill requires that:
- Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority and Commissioner of Economic & Community Development consider financing options to enable hospitals to: acquire medical equipment, update information technology, and renovate or build new health care facilities. The report must include recommendations on: alternative financing methods, the use of bond funds, low-interest or no-interest loans, and other possible state programs. The report may also suggest legislative or regulatory changes to accomplish any recommendations.
- The Comptroller and Commissioner of Administrative Services conduct a study of the feasibility of allowing hospitals to purchase prescription drugs through group purchasing contracts currently available only to state agencies and municipalities.
- The Healthcare Advocate conduct a study of the feasibility of using current or seeking new federal funds via the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center’s State Innovation Model Initiative to establish a model program in Waterbury that would deliver high-quality health care services that are economically sustainable and meet the area population’s full needs.
HB 6938 deserves support. Some of the ideas put forth in the bill may, or may not, make sense.
Right now what really does not make sense is standing by and doing nothing.
So, let’s think outside the box and see what ideas rise to the top. Maybe along the way we’ll find new answers to help meet our 21st century health care challenges.