Budget implementer makes significant changes

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Early this morning the House passed HB-1502– the 686-page bill that describes how the state FY 2016-2018 budget passed four weeks ago is to be implemented. But the bill also makes numerous substantive changes to the original budget. In addition to tax reductions for large businesses, the bill includes the implementer language to cut coverage for 23,700 HUSKY parents, preserves funding to community health centers for future Medicaid shared savings changes, more funding for nursing home employees heavily weighted toward unionized workers, allows DSS to pay nursing homes based on patient acuity, delays some mental health coverage changes, removes property tax exemptions for new off-campus properties bought by Yale-New Haven and Hartford Hospital health systems, allows limited provider lists and cost-based hospital rates for workers compensation care, concussion notices for athletes, an ambulatory surgery center tax, expands coverage for autism treatment, changes how hospital Medicaid rates are structured, changes to Medicaid case management services, reforms Medicaid provider auditing, allows UConn grad students to join the Partnership Plan for health coverage, insurance coverage for certain off-label use of prescription drugs, expands reporting of impaired health care professionals, makes changes to the medical marijuana program, and creates new Men’s Health license plates.

The bill also includes a study by DSS and DPH due next June of community-based health care service capacity and high-utilizers of emergency dept.s.