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New reports tout benefits of CT hospitals in advance of upcoming legislative session

CONNECTICUT - NOVEMBER 10: A wheelchair is left outside a residence at an assisted living facility November 10, 2012 in Connecticut.
Robert Nickelsberg
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State legislators are expected to push for Medicaid expansion in the upcoming legislative session as the Connecticut Hospital Association reports more than a billion dollars in unpaid care has been administered to seniors with Medicaid.

Three new reports from the Connecticut Hospital Association show hospitals in Connecticut provide $1.5 billion in unpaid care to seniors with Medicare insurance, and $1.2 billion in unpaid care to Medicaid patients.

The underpayments come at a time of workforce shortages in the health care industry and as patients present with more severe health needs.

“For every dollar we spend taking care of Medicaid patients in the state of Connecticut, we lose 39 cents,” said Kurt Barwis, CEO of Bristol Health, which includes the community-owned Bristol Hospital. “That is going to actually get worse because we have this settlement – the hospitals did in fact sue the state over the payments – which set the rate of increase that we get at 2% per year. But when your costs go up by 12-20%, and you're only getting 2%, you're going to get worse every year.”

In Connecticut, nearly 250 ,000 jobs are supported by the health care industry with a total payroll of $20.5 billion as of 2022. The industry has an economic impact of $38.7 billion, according to the reports.

“[Connecticut hospitals] are among the largest employers in the state supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs and their investments help our state’s economy prosper and thrive,” said Jennifer Jackson, CEO, CHA, in a statement.

Other data from the reports include: Connecticut hospitals contribute $3.4 billion in community investments; provide care to 336,000 admitted patients, translating to 1.9 million days of inpatient care; treat more than 1.5 million patients in emergency departments; provide nearly 10 million episodes of outpatient services; and invest $267 million in health professions education.

The findings come in advance of an upcoming state legislative session slated to kick off Feb. 7. Legislators are expected to push for state Medicaid expansion to insure all people regardless of their immigration status.

Sujata Srinivasan is Connecticut Public Radio’s senior health reporter. Prior to that, she was a senior producer for Where We Live, a newsroom editor, and from 2010-2014, a business reporter for the station.

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