The head of Connecticut’s Department of Public Health and Sen. Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, are questioning the University of Connecticut Health Center’s decision to end pediatric services Oct. 1.
Typically, in order to end medical services, hospitals have to get permission from the Office of Health Care Access, which regulates the industry. Medical providers can petition the state to change the services it provides through what’s called a certificate-of-need.
That process “ensures openness and transparency when health care facilities close or services are terminated,” Fasano said. “It’s important to include the public in the process so that our state can be certain that access to high quality and affordable care is protected. Certainly we don’t want to see families in our cities lose access to local pediatric care without being properly informed and without having an opportunity to voice how service changes would affect them.”
In a July 20 letter responding to Fasano’s inquiry regarding the termination of the services, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino said the Office of Health Care Access “was not made aware of the anticipated termination of clinical pediatric services.”
He said there is no state law that would exempt the publicly operated UConn Health Center from filing for a certificate-of-need.
A UConn Health Center spokeswoman said the “UConn Medical Group is not a part of the UConn John Dempsey Hospital, and as such it is our understanding that a Certificate of Need (which is applicable to hospital services) is not required.”
In addition, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center has decided to operate pediatric clinics in the same sites and will be employing the same pediatricians without any disruption to patients, according to a fact sheet posted on the UConn Health Center’s website.
In his letter to Fasano, Pino said if the medical center fails to file before terminating pediatric services, it could be subject to civil penalties.