Gov. Malloy Signs Executive Order to Create More Transparency in the Hospital Industry
Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that - in light of the evolving healthcare industry and continuing changes in market conditions - he has signed an executive order that will begin an extensive review of Connecticut's laws and regulations surrounding processes on the establishment, termination, transfer, acquisition, and expansion of hospitals and medical service providers.
The review is intended to ensure that consumers in Connecticut continue to receive equitable access to health care that encourages transparency and competition, provides accessible and affordable health care delivery, contributes to economic development, and promotes community benefits.
"We've been taking a piecemeal look at the Certificate of Need process for several years. It's time for comprehensive reform," Governor Malloy said. "With continuing changes in the healthcare industry, it is critical that our state laws ensure that all hospitals continue to thrive, and that the deck is not stacked in favor of fewer than a handful that dominate the marketplace. We need balance. Fewer healthcare systems mean fewer choices for consumers, and that can dramatically affect both the quality of care and costs. It's time we take a holistic look at the acquisition process."
"Of critical importance to our residents is access to high quality, affordable medical care. Connecticut is recognized as a national leader in our rollout of the Affordable Care Act - more than 700,000 residents have enrolled in health insurance through Access Health CT. Just as we work to bolster healthcare coverage and push down our uninsured rate, we must ensure providers are accessible and treatment is affordable," Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said. "I am honored to chair the Governor's task force."
The Certificate of Need (CON) process, overseen by separate processes within the Department of Public Health's (DPH) Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) and the Department of Social Services (DSS), currently is intended to regulate the ability of hospitals, nursing homes, certain physician groups, and other healthcare facilities seeking to establish new facilities or provide new services, change ownership, purchase and acquire equipment, and terminate certain services.
The executive order calls for the creation of the Certificate of Need Taskforce that will help ensure a fair, open market conditions in the healthcare industry. The Taskforce will undertake a review and analysis of the scope, existing authority, and structure of the current agencies, and will determine changes that can be made to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and alignment with state and federal health care reform efforts. They will also identify any challenges and gaps in the state's efforts to regulate health care services and facilities, with the aim of promoting affordability, equitable access, and high quality care.
In order to provide necessary time for a fair and thorough evaluation of the CON process, the order directs DPH to not make any final decisions on certain hospital acquisition and conversion applications - including those previously received and under review - until January 15, 2017, insofar as permitted by law.
Membership on the Certificate of Need Taskforce will include:
- Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman (Chair)
- Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management
- Commissioner of Public Health
- Commissioner of Social Services
- Two members representing acute care hospitals, one in a city with greater than 80,000 residents and one in a municipality with less than 80,000 residents, currently regulated by the CON process
- One member that represents physician practice groups
- One member that represents a nursing home
- One member that represents a free standing out-patient provider of health care services not currently affiliated with a hospital system of physician practice group
- One member that represents a qualified health plan sold through the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange
- One member that represents the health care insurance industry
- Two members that represent health care labor interests
- One member with expertise and knowledge in the field of health economics
- One member that represents consumer interests
- Two members that represent entities currently regulated by the CON process, to be appointed by the Commissioner of Public Health
Under the order, the group will be responsible for submitting its recommendations no later than December 1, 2016.
**Download: Governor Malloy's Executive Order No. 51