GOVERNOR-ELECT MALLOY SPEAKS WITH HHS SECRETARY SEBELIUS ABOUT UCONN HEALTH CENTER
December 1, 2010
(Hartford, CT) -- Governor-elect Dan Malloy met today in Washington with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss the UConn Health Center, specifically the Infrastructure to Expand Access to Care (IEAC) program. This competitive grant program provides the UConn Health Center with the opportunity to achieve financial viability, increase access to quality health care for Connecticut's citizens, and produce thousands of permanent new jobs in Connecticut.
"Receipt of this grant is critical to the future of our state's only public medical and dental schools and their pivotal importance to the delivery of health care in Connecticut," Governor-Elect Malloy said. "A contribution from the federal government, partnering with our state and the University of Connecticut, is the only solution to addressing the long-term financial challenges that have confronted the UConn Health Center. Without a financially viable Health Center, Connecticut could fail to meet the expanding workforce demand for physicians and dentists, be unable to respond to the increasing need for access to care for low-income and special populations, and lose the ability to recruit and retain quality students, residents and faculty."
The IEAC competitive grant program will award one $100 million grant to help construct and/or renovate a health care facility. The successful applicant must demonstrate that the new facility will ensure the continued financial viability of a state's sole public academic health center and expand access to quality health care. Federal support cannot exceed 40% of the project's cost, and the state is required to have established a dedicated funding mechanism to provide all of the matching funds necessary to complete the construction and renovation.
John Dempsey Hospital, the UConn Health Center's core teaching facility, is no longer economically viable due to obsolete design and outdated infrastructure, as well as a bed allocation so influenced by the public service mission that it can no longer generate an operating margin. As a result, over the past decade the Health Center has experienced chronic operating deficits in its clinical operations, deficits that seriously threaten the Health Center's ability to fulfill its education, clinical care and research missions.
In spite of serious fiscal problems, the State of Connecticut this year made a significant commitment to reinvest in its only public academic medical center. Based on a plan proposed by Governor Rell, and developed in cooperation with UConn leadership and the region's health care providers, the Generals Assembly enacted Public Act 10-104 last May. The act commits $207million in state bonding and $25 million from the 21st Century UConn program to support the construction of a new patient tower for John Dempsey Hospital. It also provides $33 million in state bonding to establish the UConn Health Network, which will support eleven related clinical, research and academic initiatives in the region. IEAC funding will serve to meet the state law's match requirement that conditions access to any of the state bonding upon receiving $100 million in non-state funds.
"UConn has submitted a very strong application that meets all the criteria established in the IEAC program," Governor-Elect Malloy said. "I am confident that UConn has documented the financial risk confronting its Health Center and how this grant will enable it to achieve sound fiscal footing." He also acknowledged the wisdom of Governor Rell and the General Assembly.
"I greatly appreciate the commitment of Governor Rell and the overwhelming bipartisan support of the General Assembly for their initiative. Even with the State's budgetary condition, our leaders had the foresight to recognize the singular importance of the UConn Health Center in meeting the current and future health care needs of Connecticut citizens.
"In addition to the health care impacts, this state and federal partnership can be a major economic driver for the State," said Governor-Elect Malloy. "The potential to create 5,000 biomedical-related jobs by 2020, over 2,000 construction jobs, and significantly increase personal income and tax revenue must not be overlooked. These additional benefits will serve to stimulate Connecticut's stagnant economy while enhancing Connecticut's competitive."