PA 09-77—sHB 6264

Public Health Committee


SUMMARY: This act revises the way the Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) (1) conducts health care facility utilization studies and (2) develops a state health care facilities plan. It specifies the elements OHCA must examine in each document. It requires OHCA to study utilization annually and update the facilities plan every five years.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2009


The act requires OHCA to conduct its statewide health care facility utilization study annually, rather than on a “continuing” basis (the latest study contains FY 07 data). The act adds new factors OHCA must, at a minimum, assess and eliminates old ones. Under the act, OHCA must assess:

1. the current availability and use of care in acute care and specialty hospitals, emergency rooms, outpatient surgical centers, clinics, and primary care facilities (the act does not define clinic or primary care, which could include federally qualified health centers, school-based health centers, and private providers' offices);

2. geographic areas and subpopulations that may be underserved or have limited access to specific types of services; and

3. other factors the OHCA commissioner deems pertinent.

The study can also include the commissioner's recommendations for addressing identified service gaps and lack of access to services. It must be submitted annually by June 30 to the Public Health and Human Services committees.

Under prior law, OHCA had to examine existing delivery systems and (1) recommend procedural improvements to health care facilities and institutions and legislation to the public health commissioner and (2) annually report to the legislature and governor findings and recommendations for improving efficiency, lowering costs, coordinating facility use and services, and expanding health care availability.

The act also eliminates requirements that OHCA (1) consult with the Public Health Department (DPH) in conducting the utilization study and (2) evaluate the study as part of developing its health care facilities plan.


The law requires OHCA to create and maintain a statewide health care facilities plan. OHCA must consider this plan and DPH's state health plan in making certificate of need decisions. The act requires OHCA to update the existing plan (OHCA has never written a plan) by July 1, 2012 and every five years thereafter. It also requires OHCA to consult with any state agency the commissioner deems appropriate.

Under the act, the plan may:

1. assess the availability of care in acute care and specialty hospitals, emergency rooms, outpatient surgical centers, clinics, and primary care sites (the act does not define clinic or primary care);

2. evaluate the unmet needs of people the OHCA commissioner determines are at risk or vulnerable;

3. project future demand for health care services and the effect technology may have on the demand, capacity, or need for services; and

4. recommend expansion, reduction, or modification of health care facilities.

In developing the plan, OHCA (1) must consider recommendations from any advisory bodies the commissioner establishes and (2) may use recommendations from authoritative organizations that promote best practices or evidence-based research. It must consult with hospital representatives to develop a process that encourages hospitals to incorporate the plan into their long-range planning. Finally, OHCA must help appropriate state agencies communicate about innovations or changes that may affect future health planning.

The act eliminates the requirement for OHCA, in creating the facilities plan, to:

1. determine the availability of acute, long-term, and home health care in public and private institutions and community-based diagnostic and treatment facilities;

2. determine the scope of these services; and

3. anticipate future needs for these services and facilities.

OLR Tracking: SS: RC: JM: DF