Labor and Public Employees Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-61

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING WORKERS' COMPENSATION AND LIABILITY FOR HOSPITAL SERVICES.

Vote Date:

3/18/2014

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

2/18/2014

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Labor and Public Employees Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

To set the rate for employers liability for ambulatory surgical centers and hospital services.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE:

Remove on the raised bill the fee schedule and replace it with 200% of the amount that would have been paid to the hospital. Add ambulatory surgical centers to the bill.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Department of Administrative Services supports the bill. Negotiating discounts off of the master charge list is not an efficient or cost effective way of providing medical services to injured employees. This bill will benefit police officers and firefighters who experience mental or emotional impairments.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities testified in support of the bill. This bill is a well-intended proposal but please ensure that this bill will uphold previously negotiated agreements and they will not be subjected to a retrospective fee.

The Town of West Hartford supports the bill. The bill as proposed would establish a hospital service fee schedule that could allow reasonable relief to the rising workers' compensation medical costs.

Andy Markowski, National Federation of Independent Businesses supports the intent of the bill. Small business are burdened with the high costs associated with Workers' Compensation Insurance, but this bill would provide a level of predictability with hospital charges.

Betsy Gara, Connecticut Council of Small Towns supports the bill. COST appreciates the difficult economic circumstances but because of the Schoolcraft decision Workers' Compensation payouts will increase, driving up overall cost to employers including municipal employees.

Diane Ritucci, Workers' Compensation Trust submitted testimony is support of the bill Having been in the workers' compensation business for 33 years and seeing how the cost of workers' compensation has risen this bill will hold down hospital charges.

The Insurance Association of Connecticut supports the bill. This bill addresses an important issue created by a recent Workers' Compensation Commission which is currently under appeal. That decision removed any incentive for hospitals to negotiate fairly for services under workers' compensation. Most states have established a fee schedule for hospital services and it has been most effective.

Bonnie Stewart, CBIA testified in support of the bill. CBIA is very concerned with the costs of medical expenses associated with workers' compensation. This bill is a reasonable and viable remedy for both employers and hospitals.

Connecticut Trial Lawyers supports the bill with an amendment. Before the word liability in line 56 should be amount of the employers. This change would maintain the same meaning as other instances in the statue where liability is used.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Ann Diamond, John Dempsey Hospital testified in opposition to the bill. We have successful negotiated with 80% of our workers' compensation providers. This bill will change the method by which hospitals would be paid for workers' compensation cases and would reduce reimbursement is such a manner that hospitals would not be paid enough to cover our costs.

Paul Chausse, Lawrence & Memorial Hospital testified against the bill. Lawrence and Memorial Hospital has operated under a system of negotiated contracts with insurance companies for almost twenty years. The proposed fee schedule would not even cover the costs for hospital services and there is no incentive for insurance companies to negotiate.

Edward Romero, Waterbury Hospital opposes the bill. This bill does not assist injured workers or improve the business climate in Connecticut. The bill will enable a Texas based health care company obtain a legislative bailout of their clients liabilities for Workers' Compensation.

Chris Hartley, Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center opposes the bill as written. This bill would make three significant changes to workers' compensation and liability for hospital services. The need for this bill seems to be based on an assumption that hospitals do not negotiate with insurers over Workers' Compensation claims. To this date we have negotiated payment for over 66 insurers.

Yale New Haven Health System opposes the bill as drafted. This bill would change workers' compensation liability for hospital services and limit the time to identify disputes . We provide high-quality care to all our patients but these measures will chip away at our payment levels and increase health care costs.

Stephen Frayne, Connecticut Hospital Association opposes the bill as written. If passed this bill would interfere with the orderly resolution of disputes and the proposed payment for hospital services is wholly inadequate. Operating costs plus the cost of uncompensated care will not provide enough to cover all incurred costs.

Joan Orowson, William W. Backus Hospital opposes the bill. We are involved in the Workers' Compensation case that was decided in September. Backus Hospital has always operated under a system that negotiates contracts with insurance companies including workers' compensation.

George Eighmy, Bristol Hospital does not support the bill. The bill would interfere with the orderly resolution of disputes currently pending. The proposed payment for hospital services is wholly inadequate. Bristol Hospital is willing to negotiate a fee schedule or predetermined rate but request a transition period.

Reported by: Pamela Bianca

03/27/2014