Budget-less special session possible this week
Updated 6:06 pm, Monday, September 25, 2017
HARTFORD — Even if the state’s budget negotiations fail this week to produce a final compromise before October 1, the House and Senate may have to hold a special session to pass legislation so state hospitals can access $70 million in federal Medicaid reimbursements.
Legislative leaders and the Middletown-based Connecticut Hospital Association continued meeting on the issue Monday, with hopes that when Democratic and Republican leaders gather with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Tuesday, a path will be found to apply for the hospital relief before the October 1 deadline.
The could opt to hold the special session on either Thursday or Friday.
“We appreciate that legislators recognize the importance of moving forward the hospitals' agreement with the administration,” said Jennifer Jackson, CEO of the hospital association. “By moving quickly to make the federal deadline at the end of the month, we'll be able to maximize federal funding, which will help patients, communities, our hospitals, and the state.”
“Medicaid reimbursement will be the topic of conversation during the legislators’ meeting with the governor,” said Adam Joseph, spokesman for Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven. The session is scheduled in Malloy’s Capitol office for about 12:30 p.m..
Malloy and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been trying to work with the CHA to include both taxes on hospitals as well as net savings for them to gain as much as $52 million a year.
Heading into Tuesday’s meeting, some lawmakers aren’t sure whether a simple request for a waiver through the state Department of Social Services, is adequate — or whether the General Assembly needs to vote on it.
In recent years hospitals have lost out on tens of million of reimbursements because the state failed to act on seeking the funding through the rebasing of investments in the program.
In other developments Monday, Malloy and UConn President Susan Herbst appeared together at UConn’s Avery Point campus in Groton to criticize the pending Republican budget, which is expected to reach Malloy’s desk later this week, where he has vowed to veto it.
Herbst said she might have to close the campus as a result of the budget crunch.
Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, wondered whether Herbst can handle the job.
“She has tried to hand out raises at all levels at the same time she increased tuition - a move that resulted in the Legislature for the first time in decades refusing to accept her proposed labor contracts,” Fasano said. “She has spent money exorbitantly on speakers and salaries, and on presidential mansions and administrative bloat. If UConn’s first decision when faced with these reductions is to target students and facilities like Avery Point, President Herbst should resign.”
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