By Lynne Ide
There has been a great deal of media coverage regarding the months-long budget battle between Governor Malloy and the state’s hospitals. The drama rose to a new level when Connecticut Hospital Association launched an advertising campaign critical of the governor’s continued state funding cuts.
The ads charge that the cuts will precipitate lay-offs of nursing staff and longer wait times – and limit cancer screenings. The governor counters that the bulk of the state’s hospitals are profiting well, in fact, they are making millions and paying their top executives exorbitantly.
Both sides have good points.
It’s clear not all hospitals are the same. There is a huge difference between behemoth hospital systems, such a Yale New Haven Health Services and Hartford HealthCare (with 27.1 percent and 20.7 percent, respectively, of the state’s total hospital discharges) and a handful of smaller, community hospitals, such as Bristol Hospital or Griffin Hospital. In fact, Governor Malloy recognized that difference when he announced that he would hold the independent hospitals harmless from the proposed cuts.
The most important party is left out of the discussion: What about the patients? How do their interests fare in the current hospital battle?
At best, it seems both sides are paying lip service to the patients – and the Connecticut Hospital Association is purposefully trying to scare patients into action on behalf of the hospitals’ interests.
The bottom line should always be the patients’ welfare when it comes to access, choice, quality and cost of care. Short term, highly charged battles will not solve the problems we face in our state’s health care system.
Universal Health Care Foundation calls on our state’s government and health care leaders to look at Connecticut’s entire health care landscape and figure out what we must change in order to support a system, including hospitals, that maintains our health, takes excellent care of us when we are sick at a cost that does not threaten our financial security.
Watch Foundation President Frances Padilla’s video on this topic: