Public Health Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-992

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING VARIOUS REVISIONS TO THE OFFICE OF HEALTH CARE ACCESS STATUTES.

Vote Date:

4/2/2013

Vote Action:

JFS To The Floor

PH Date:

3/15/2013

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

The Public Health Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

To require nonprofit hospitals to provide certain information to the Office of Health Care Access, to eliminate civil penalties for health care providers in section 19a-653 of the general statutes and to provide a definition of a “detailed patient bill”.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Dr. Jewel Mullen, Commissioner, Department of Public Health (DPH): DPH supports SB 992.

Section 1:The Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) proposes to make it mandatory that private non-profit acute care hospitals file their IRS Form 990 on an annual basis with OHCA. OHCA began collecting these reports from the hospitals on a voluntary basis in 2007 and they have been cooperating with this voluntary filing since. Information on the Governing Body, Management and Policy, Compensation, Endowment Funds, Financial Assistance, Grants and Other Assistance as well as Community Benefits is collected on these forms. This information enhances and supports the annual financial filings that OHCA already collects from the hospitals. Making this filing mandatory instead of voluntary will ensure continued collection of this information.

The Affordable Care Act requires each non-profit hospital to conduct a Community Needs Assessment (CNA) at least once every three years and make it available to the public. OHCA proposes requiring hospitals to submit their CNAs, along with any other related quantitative or qualitative data gathered in the assessment process. Detailed data on “need” that are gathered in the CNA process are critical to OHCA in conducting its biennial Statewide Health Care Facilities and Services Plan as mandated by Connecticut General Statute 19a-634. This Plan includes an evaluation of the unmet needs of persons at risk and vulnerable populations as well as projections of future demand for health care services. By obtaining this data, OHCA will be able to enhance its planning process and compare the projected healthcare needs with the available supply of services. OHCA can do it at no additional cost to the state or duplicating efforts on the part of the hospital.

Section 2: OHCA proposes the elimination of the exception to OHCA's civil penalty statute when a civil penalty cannot currently be applied to health care facilities or providers that fail to complete an inventory questionnaire. For the first Plan and Inventory issued last year, OHCA issued several surveys to providers, however, not all respondents filed all the information on the surveys. Getting the providers to file the information sometimes took many months and numerous reminders. As OHCA coordinates its next Plan and Inventory to be published in 2014, it would make the filing survey responses mandatory and be able to require responses in a timely manner. This will be helpful if the information collected and the types of facilities or providers surveyed expand beyond those from the first Plan and Inventory. Eliminating the exception that exists to the civil penalty statute will assist OHCA in its next Plan and Inventory process.

Section 3: OHCA proposes a definition of the term “detailed patient bill” for the purposes of Connecticut General Statute 19a-681. OHCA collects acute care and children's hospital pricemasters or chargemasters and has the authority to compare a patient's hospital bill to the pricemaster filed with OHCA. Outlining what a detailed patient bill is will require a hospital to provide a patient, upon request, with a detailed bill with all coding, description and prices, allowing OHCA to make a more accurate comparison between the bill the patient receives and the pricemaster or chargemaster on file with OHCA.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

None

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA): SB 992 requires not-for-profit hospitals to submit to the Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) a copy of their most recently completed Internal Revenue Service Form 990, their most recent Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), and data related to the CHNA. The bill authorizes OHCA to fine hospitals and other providers for failure to comply with OHCA's inventory questionnaire, as required by Section 19a-634. The bill also defines a “detailed patient bill”.

CHA opposes Section 1 of the bill, mandating that each 501(c)(3) tax-exempt hospital submit its federal tax Form 990 and most recent Community Health Needs Assessment , as well as data related to the CHNA, to OHCA. We question the need for this mandate and request that the Committee delete section 1.

Connecticut hospitals have been submitting their Form 990s to OHCA for many years and are not aware of any issues or problems related to hospitals providing such information to OHCA. This duplication of efforts is unnecessary and will cause confusion with respect to the submission of these forms and the annual filing.

Reported by: Lori Littmann

Date: 4/3/2013