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Hospital industry advocates want CT lawmakers to confront rising costs

Waterbury Hospital.
Molly Ingram
Waterbury Hospital.

Industry officials say the issues affecting Connecticut’s healthcare are financial hardships, workforce shortages, administrative burdens and lower profits worsened by the pandemic.

The biggest issue, however, is the state’s regulatory process to obtain a “certificate of need,” according to the Connecticut Hospital Association.

With the 2024 legislative session starting Wednesday, the industry group wants to focus on reforming the regulatory program administered by the state Office of Health Strategy that approves changes in healthcare, like mergers, new equipment and access to medical services.

Jim Iacobellis, the association’s vice president of government relations, said delays and administrative burdens in the current process create barriers to access, increase costs and stall economic growth.

“We need to fix the process. It's taking too long. The timelines need to be shortened. We need to create an expedited process,” Iacobellis said. “In certain areas, we need to create an equal playing field between hospitals and other providers so, excuse me, entities in the healthcare field. And we need to reduce the duplication and streamline the process.”

Industry leaders urged lawmakers to make healthcare more accessible and support their work.

The process was last reviewed and updated in 2017, but hospital officials say more must be done.

“We need to support hospitals by addressing Medicaid underpayment and reducing regulatory and administrative burdens,” Iacobellis said. “And we need to protect care by avoiding any policies that harm care delivery and access.”

Kimoyia Walters is a graduate intern at WSHU.