Office of Health Care Access

Legislative Update

The close of the 2005 General Assembly Legislative Session includes with it some changes to the existing Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) statutory authority.  The new Public Acts focus on enhancements to Certificate of Need (CON) regulation related to imaging equipment and affiliates of health care institutions as well as overall improvements to internal operations and efficiencies of the agency.  The following is a brief overview of the public policy that relates to OHCA and the direct links to the complete version of the Public Acts.

Public Act 05-93

 

Senate Bill 1207 An Act Concerning the Capital Expenditure Threshold for the Regulation of Equipment Acquisitions (Signed by Governor Rell on 6/7/05)

This public act is effective July 1, 2005 and requires CON approval, regardless of cost, for anyone acquiring, purchasing or accepting donation of a CT scanner, PET scanner, PET/CT scanner, MRI, cineangiography equipment, a linear accelerator or other similar equipment utilizing new technology that is being introduced to the state.

Prior to this new law, a $400,000 or more purchase, acquisition or accepted donation of imaging and scanning equipment triggered the CON review.  In some cases this law may have provided an incentive to purchase, acquire or accept donation of equipment of lesser quality in order to avoid regulatory oversight.  The agency believes this law will provide the citizens of Connecticut with a higher quality of imaging and scanning services. 

As of the July 1, 2005 a CON review shall be waived if a provider;

1.      demonstrates to OHCA with satisfactory evidence that the equipment was purchased, leased or accepted as a donation for under $400,000 on or before July 1, 2005 or;

2.      Obtained from OHCA, on or before July 1, 2005, a CON or a determination that CON was not required.

Public Act 05-75

 

Senate Bill 1143 An Act Concerning Certificate of Need and Public Hearing Requests (Signed by Governor Rell on 6/2/05)

This public act is effective October 1, 2005.  The public act is two-fold. First, it reestablishes the pre-1999 definition of the term affiliate within the OHCA statutes to include, “a person, entity or organization, controlling, controlled by or under common control with another person, entity or organization” , as it relates to CON review.  Second, it clarifies the time frame by which one can request a public hearing.

The change in the term affiliate will require those who are not providing direct patient services, but manage, fund, or control the providers to be subject to CON review.  This enables OHCA to inquire as part of the CON review about the financial solvency and managerial competency of the parent company as required by 19a-637 of the Connecticut General Statutes.

The new public hearing clarification adds a requirement that a request for a public hearing for CON be received by the agency no later than 21 days after the agency deems a CON application complete.  This change still allows for a request of hearing to be open for a minimum 81 days (Letter of Intent Phase 60 days + 21 days).  The agency proposed this change to give the agency, applicants and interested parties certainty as to whether a hearing will be requested. 

Public Act 05-151

 

Senate Bill 1145 “An Act Concerning Revisions to the Office of Health Care Access Statutes” (Signed by Governor Rell on 6/24/05)

This act either added, repealed or updated various sections of the agency’s statutes.  The more significant aspects of the act are; the repeal of the mandated Graduate Medical Education reporting; deletion of outdated hospital budget requirements; and added compliance measures.  Effective dates vary.

Other Public Acts Affecting OHCA

House Bill 7000 “An Act Concerning Expenditures of the Department of Social Services”

Section 91 of LCO Amendment #8230 is effective upon passage and requires the Commissioner of the OHCA to establish a committee to examine whether the licensed hospital psychiatric inpatient bed capacity for children in the state is sufficient and what steps, if any, are necessary to expand such capacity.  The committee shall consist of the Commissioner of the Department of Social Services and the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families or their designees; the state Child Advocate or designee; representatives of private children’s hospitals; and mental health advocacy groups for children.  The Commissioner of OHCA is to report it findings and recommendations back to the General Assembly no later than January 1, 2006.

 

 

Public Act 05-167

 

House Bill 6304 “An Act Concerning the Improvement of Cardiac Care” (Signed by Governor Rell on 7/1/05)

 

This public act requires the Quality of Care Advisory Committee (Department of Public Health Advisory Committee), of which OHCA is a member, to examine and evaluate possible approaches that would aid in the utilization of an existing data collection system for cardiac outcomes.  In addition, the committee is to evaluate the potential for state-wide use of a data collection system for cardiac outcomes, for the purpose of continuing the delivery of quality cardiac care services in the state.  The advisory committee is to report back to the General Assembly it findings and recommendations not later than December 1, 2007.