Last week, the Committee on Labor and Public Employees held a public hearing on a bill regarding hospital conversions in Connecticut.
The bill imposes significant requirements on for-profit hospital systems that want to enter the state. The for-profit hospital system must: (1) maintain staffing levels at the time of conversion for at least three years after the conversion; (2) maintain the current pay rates and current benefits of employees for an unspecified period of time; (3) recognize any applicable labor organizations; (4) honor any applicable collective bargaining agreements; and (5) follow best practices for staffing levels to assure patient care.
The bill also requires that at least three public hearings be held not less than sixty days prior to filing the certificate of need application. The hearings shall be open to all members of the community and shall include, but not be limited to: (1) a discussion of the conversion and the acquiring for-profit hospital system; (2) a summary of the potential impact of the conversion on hospital employment; and (3) an opportunity to question members of the non-profit hospital and the acquiring for-profit hospital system about any relevant concerns. Opponents of the bill argue that the current regulatory scheme already anticipates these factors.
Finally, the for-profit hospital system must submit a five-year strategic plan to the Department of Public Health and the Labor Department within thirty days after undergoing the conversion. The strategic plan must detail how employment will be affected by decisions to adjust health care services at the hospital.
To read the full raised bill, please click here.