A Quiet, But Important Step for Consumers – Legislation in Action

By Rosana Garcia

report clip artWith little fanfare, an important report was released from the state: Cost & Market Impact Review of the Hartford HealthCare’s Proposed Affiliation with the Charlotte Hungerford Hospital.

That’s quite a mouthful, but what it really means is that Connecticut is doing its job of watching out for residents in the quickly changing health care landscape of the state.

What’s the big deal?

This is the first of these types of reports, which are meant to take a closer look at the potential impact of a hospital being bought by a large hospital system or for-profit company.

Why does hospital consolidation matter?  Because it can make care more costly and affect access to certain health care services, as larger and larger hospital systems gain more negotiation power.

In Connecticut, if a hospital is being sold, the deal has to be approved by the Office of Health Care Access (OHCA), through the Certificate of Need program.  We have often spoken up at Certificate of Need hearings to make sure that the hospital is accountable to the community it serves.

Now there is an added requirement for OHCA to approve a hospital sale, if the buyer is a large hospital system or a for-profit company – the Cost & Market Impact Review.

The report – more of an analysis – takes a deep dive into looking at four important aspects of this type of deal:

  • Costs and market
  • Access and availability of services
  • Quality and care delivery
  • Consumer concerns

The overall point is to make sure that there won’t be negative effects for the community on health care cost and access from the hospital sale – that’s the big deal about this report.

A little history

Two years ago, the Connecticut state legislature passed Public Act 15-146, which addressed a wide variety of health care issues – including hospital consolidation.  Senators Looney and Fasano were concerned about hospital consolidation, and the ill effects it could have on the people of the state.

To learn more about what was in that law, check out this 2015 blog.

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