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December 18, 2012

CT hospitals fear $114M in state budget cuts

Connecticut Hospitals say they may lose as much as $114 million in state funding as a result of the state's efforts to close its budget deficit.

Lawmakers are expected to meet Wednesday in a special session to figure out how to close a budget deficit for the current fiscal year that keeps growing. Initial projections put the deficit at about $365 million, but Comptroller Kevin Lembo recently raised the deficit estimates to $415 million.

Jennifer Jackson, president and CEO of the Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA), said Tuesday, "the picture emerging suggests hospitals and the patients they serve will bear the brunt of the latest round of cuts. "

"As best we know, hospitals will be cut $114 million over the next six months—forcing hospitals, their employees, and their patients to cover 31 percent of the state's budget reduction of $365 million when hospital expenditures comprise only five percent of the state budget," Jackson said.

If hospitals lose $114 million in state funding it will likely lead to job cuts and the elimination of community programs and services, Jackson said

"It is our expectation that hospitals will do all they can to preserve services and jobs, but cuts of this magnitude cannot be absorbed simply through more budget tightening such as delayed investment in equipment and technology," Jackson said.

Jackson said Connecticut hospitals are currently losing more than $1.6 million a day caring for the uninsured and Medicaid patients, and while hospitals will be forced to cut another $114 million, the state will only benefit from $57 million in savings, with the remaining $57 million being federal matching dollars that will be lost to the state.

"This plan to address the budget shortfall by enormous cuts to hospitals must be reconsidered," Jackson said.

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