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March 18, 2019 Newsmakers

Vincent Capece Jr. | President and CEO, Middlesex Health

Vincent Capece Jr.

Amid a push across the state and much of the country, Middlesex Health last month raised the wages of its lowest-paid workers to $15 per hour.

With this move, Vincent Capece Jr., president and CEO of the Middletown-based healthcare network, meant to “lead by example” on the minimum-wage issue.

“Across the country, there is ongoing debate about whether minimum wage should be increased to help lower-wage employees make ends meet,” Capece said. “All of our employees are very important members of our team, and we aren't waiting to act.”

But as issues impacting hospitals pile up in Hartford and Washington, D.C., Capece, like other hospital executives, will likely be weighing in on policies ranging from the state's hospital tax to the cost of care.

Meanwhile, Capece has been overseeing an expansion of offerings at Middlesex, including the addition of more orthopedic services and the February opening of two new state-of-the-art orthopedic operating rooms at Middlesex Hospital, representing a $3.2 million investment.

What are the biggest issues currently facing Middlesex Hospital?

The Connecticut hospital tax and the insufficiency of Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements are the most pressing issues we face. Finding innovative solutions that will enable hospitals to deliver high-quality, lower-cost health care is a challenge all hospitals are wrestling with.

How will Gov. Ned Lamont's decision to continue taxing hospitals at current rates affect Middlesex Hospital?

The hospital tax has been very detrimental to all Connecticut hospitals because millions of dollars of scarce resources have been taken away from the provision of health care. Continuing to tax hospitals at the current rate would result in the governor and the legislature reneging on promised relief from this tax.

How do you view hospitals' relationship with the Lamont administration?

It is my hope that the hospital industry, the governor and the legislature can find a way to develop a productive partnership, which will benefit the health of our communities and the state's economy.

Hospital pricing has become a flashpoint as some hospitals have been accused of charging exorbitant fees for procedures and drugs that are much cheaper other places. Do you think backlash is going to force reform?

Hospital pricing is complicated. What may seem like exorbitant pricing is often a function of a broken healthcare system. More government regulation is not the answer.

Middlesex has always sought to efficiently deliver health care through participation in the Value Care Alliance. We've been working to reduce costs, while improving the quality of care.

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