Yale New Haven Health System employees speak out to Help Our Hospitals
When Yale New Haven Health System leaders asked employees to contact their legislators in March about budget cuts, taxes and other proposals that would adversely affect hospitals, nearly 9,000 YNHHS employees and supporters contacted their elected officials. Many reached out more than once — sending nearly 28,000 messages to legislators between March and May.
"This was an extraordinary grassroots effort on the part of our staff and extended hospital and health system family," said Marna P. Borgstrom, YNHHS president and CEO. "While we are disappointed in the legislative outcome, our elected officials heard us loud and clear and we did have an impact."
The state's controversial $40 billion budget passed narrowly on June 3, and although it included several modifications that reflected our collective impact, the increased cuts to hospitals totaled over $105 million, with our health system taking nearly $60 million of the incremental loss related to an increase in the tax rate and payment reductions. Although another bill that would have imposed property taxes on hospitals and universities failed, we now have an overall tax of 6 percent on hospitals.
Unfortunately, Senate Bill 811, "An Act Concerning Parity in Hospital Sales Oversight," passed, although it was modified. The key positive change was that a prohibition on health systems negotiating with third party payors was removed, as was the ban on facility fees, although those fees will be capped, starting in 2017. The state's certificate of need process, which regulates how hospitals grow, build, purchase capital equipment and open, close or move services, will become two-tiered, with YNHHS and Hartford Health Care — the state's largest healthcare systems — being subjected to stricter regulations, beginning in December.
"While we still have real financial challenges ahead, we are most grateful for the enormous outpouring of support from our employees," said Borgstrom.