Budget winners and losers, health care edition
Here’s how some health and social service players made out under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposed budget adjustments.
Office of Healthcare Advocate: The office, which helps consumers address health insurance issues, would get funding for four positions not in its current budget. Three are now filled and paid for by federal funds slated to run out this year; Healthcare Advocate Victoria Veltri had been trying to find ways to keep those workers on board, noting that the office’s 2011 caseload was twice what it was the year before. A fourth position will advocate for clients getting voluntary services from the state in an effort to persuade insurance plans to pay, which could potentially save the state money. The office is funded by an assessment on the insurance industry, not state taxpayers.
Connecticut Insurance Department: The department would get 18 additional positions, including seven for regulatory jobs to expedite insurance company reviews, three support positions, and, to create a captive insurance division, three full-time and three part-time jobs. Like the Office of the Healthcare Advocate, the insurance department is funded by an assessment on the insurance industry, not state taxpayers.
Private human services providers: After four years without a funding increase, private providers cheered a proposed 1 percent cost-of-living adjustment, slated to take effect in January. Nonprofit leaders, who feared cuts, are characterizing it as a “first step.”
Hospitals and community health centers: A year after facing cuts to funds that helped cover shortfalls in payments for uninsured and Medicaid patients, hospitals would take another hit under the governor’s proposal. So would community health centers. Together, they’re slated in the proposal to see a $2.89 million reduction compared with what had been budgeted for the coming fiscal year to help pay for uncompensated care. The administration argued that hospitals and community health centers have received increased funds through a recently created Medicaid program for low-income adults. Community health centers will also experience a $666,822 funding reduction, which the administration says is offset by increased Medicaid payments.
LIFE STAR: The air ambulances operated by Hartford Hospital would see a $600,000 reduction in its state subsidy. The rate paid to the program would return to the level used during the previous fiscal year.
Brain Injury Association of Connecticut: The group usually receives about $150,000 a year from speeding ticket revenues for advocacy efforts. Malloy’s proposal would cut $126,362.
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