Day Kimball Healthcare President and CEO Robert Smanik testified at a public hearing before the state Human Services Committee Tuesday in favor of House Bill 5588, which would “ensure timely and adequate payment” of supplemental and small hospital funding to hospitals. The hearing comes on the heels of the state’s announcement last week that it would likely cease payment of any further supplemental or small hospital funding this fiscal year due to the state’s budget deficit.
“I sit before you today in shock,” Smanik said. “Even after we absorbed repeated cuts to our funding along with a nearly 50% increase in our hospital tax, we are now forced to fight for what remains. This is the third time in the last year that our organization, our community and our local legislators have had to fight for funding that should never have been taken from our hospital in the first place, and the second time in the last six months that the state has reneged on its promise to pay the funding that our state’s legislators voted to restore.”
Smanik said that Day Kimball has received only about $600,000 of the $4.4 million it was due this year in supplemental and small hospital funding. If the remainder of the funding goes unpaid it will mean an unexpected loss of $3.8 million in the middle of the organization’s fiscal year and will in effect amount to an annual tax of $5.6 million on the nonprofit community hospital.
“How can any organization or business be expected to absorb such a loss?” Smanik asked the committee. “But what’s worse, we are not just any organization or business. We are the major provider of healthcare and the single largest employer in Northeast Connecticut, one of the most economically disadvantaged regions in the state. Imagine the impact if those funds could be directed back toward caring for our community.”
Smanik went on to list some of the measures that Day Kimball has already taken in response to previous cuts to its funding, including reducing its workforce by more than 100 positions and making adjustments to wages and benefits.
“Despite these immense challenges, our hospital has continued to receive numerous distinctions for both quality and value and we have remained steadfast in our mission to care for the people of Northeast Connecticut – because we do care,” Smanik said.
Smanik went on to say that by contrast, repeated non-payment of the hospital funding can only lead Day Kimball and the communities it serves to conclude that the Malloy administration simply doesn’t care about access to healthcare and jobs for the 100,000 people in the northeast corner of the state.
“We have fought the loss of these funds that rightfully belong to our hospital for the care of our community twice before, and we will fight twice as hard for them again this time. But there is only so much our small community hospital can be expected to absorb,” Smanik said. “We have acted prudently and responsibly in the face of prior cuts to protect that which is most precious to those we serve - their health and their livelihood. Today I stand before you and ask that our legislature do the same by voting in favor of [this bill].”