June 6, 2012
REP. DILLON TESTIFIES ON HOSPITAL MERGER
Congressional changes to Medicare threaten freestanding hospitals
Rep. Pat Dillon conferring with constituent Andrew Orefice before testifying on St. Raphael merger.
Rep. Pat Dillon testified before the state Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) at a hearing on the proposed merger of Yale-New Haven Hospital and St. Raphael Healthcare System. Facing mounting deficits, St. Rafael’s future was in doubt prior to the proposed merger. “This merger preserves health access and jobs in the Dwight neighborhood,” Rep. Dillon told OHCA officials at the hearing at the Gateway campus on Sargeant Drive. Rep. Dillon noted that policymakers have known for the past 15 years that hospitals should join networks to achieve administrative efficiencies. The state legislature recognized this when it created, by statute, a health network with Dempsey Hospital at the University of Connecticut Health Center and Hartford area hospitals. Rep. Dillon told OHCA officials that St. Raphael’s faces a mountain of revenue questions because of federal policies. “Every health proposal before Congress - from the president and from legislative Democrats, Republicans, in the House or the Senate – all cut costs by squeezing savings from Medicare,” Rep. Dillon said. “St. Raphael's has a large Medicare population and would find it difficult as an independent hospital to recruit enough private-paying patients to offset Medicare cuts.” “This proposal is good for our community, and good for the state,” Rep. Dillon testified. “The opportunities of this merger can help St. Raphael’s adapt to cost pressures and preserve health access.” Rep. Dillon authored the 1997 law (PA 97-188) governing nonprofit hospital mergers with for-profit entities.