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2015 Legislative Session: Summary of Legislation

 The summaries below were either developed by the Office of Governmental Relations, the Office of Legislative Research or the Office of Fiscal Analysis.

The summaries below outline Public Acts passed during both the 2015 Regular Session and the June 2015 Special Session of the Connecticut General Assembly that impact or may be of interest to the University of Connecticut.

The new Acts are organized by topic, and the topics are alphabetized. To access the complete text of a new law, please click on the Public Act or resolution number on the top of the summary. In some instances we have also included a link to the Fiscal Note associated with the Act, prepared by the legislature’s Office of Fiscal Analysis.

Please take the time to review all new legislation falling under your area of responsibility for the University, and take the steps necessary to ensure that the University is in compliance. If you have any questions about the new Public Acts or about implementation, please contact the Office of Governmental Relations.

 

Agriculture

Athletics

Board of Trustees

Bonding

Budget

Construction

Contracting

Economic Development

Education K-12

Energy

Environment

Facilities Management & Food Service

Financial Aid and Tuition

Health Care- Administration & Finance

Health Care- Clinical

Health Care- Dentistry

Health Care- Medical Staff

Health Care- Studies

Health Insurance

Higher Education

Human Resources

Information Technology

Marine Sciences

Medicaid

Pharmacy

Public Safety and Emergency Medical Services

Research

School of Medicine

Veterans’ Issues

 

 

AGRICULTURE

CT HB 5707, PA 15-201
An Act Requiring Certain Higher Education Facilities That Conduct Research Using Cats Or Dogs To Offer Such Cats or Dogs To Animal Rescue Organizations Prior To Euthanizing Any Such Cat Or Dog. This Act requires public and private higher education institutions, under certain circumstances, to offer any cat or dog on which they have conducted research or testing to an animal adoption or rescue organization for adoption. An adoption offer must only occur when (1) the research or testing is complete, (2) the destruction of the animal is not required, and (3) the animal is no longer needed by the institution. The Act allows the institutions to enter into agreements with the adoption or rescue organizations for this purpose. It specifies that these organizations may be either collaborations of individuals or nonprofit organizations whose purposes include selling or placing animals removed from animal shelters, municipal dog pounds, or homes.

 

CT HB 6375, PA 15-117
An Act Establishing a Veterans to Agriculture Program. This Act creates incentives for certain veterans to become farmers. It applies to veterans who have never owned or leased property for commercial agricultural production or who have owned or leased property for commercial agricultural production for less than two years. It does this by extending an exemption from the sales and use tax on personal property sold for use in agricultural production to such veterans. The Act also allows the Agriculture Department (DoAG) to collaborate with the Labor and Veterans’ Affairs departments and UConn Cooperative Extension Service to (1) encourage and help veterans start or expand an agricultural business and (2) provide education and training opportunities to veterans in farming and agricultural operations. By law, DoAG, under the Connecticut Farm Link program, must maintain a database of farmers and land owners who intend to sell their farm operations or agricultural land and provide certain educational information about the program on its website.

 

CT HB 6729, PA 15-121
An Act Concerning the Use of Certain Noisemaking Devices for Agricultural Purposes. This Act adds specific requirements and makes other changes to the law relating to Department of Agriculture (DoAG) permits for the use of noisemaking devices to deter wildlife from damaging crops. These devices include acetylene, carbide, or propane exploders; electronic noisemakers; and similar noisemaking devices (commonly known as “corn cannons”). Specifically, this Act requires permit applicants to include new information with their applications; makes optional, rather than mandatory, on-site inspections by DoAG before making a final decision on an application; restricts the circumstances in which DoAG may exercise its authority to revoke a permit for a violation of the noisemaking device law; establishes fines for operating a device without a permit; and makes other changes to the laws relating to the permitting and use of these devices.

 

CT SB 360, PA 15-101
An Act Authorizing Herd Shares within the Production of Milk and Raw Milk Products and the Manufacture of Cheese for Personal Consumption. This Act exempts transferring or exchanging raw milk between people who are part of a shared animal ownership agreement from the general ban on selling, offering for barter, exchange, or sale, or distributing raw milk from an unregistered dairy farm.

 

 


ATHLETICS

CT SB 976, PA 15-12
An Act Concerning a Study of the Fair Sale of Tickets to Entertainment Events. This Act requires the Commissioner of Consumer Protection to study the fair sale of tickets to entertainment events. Such study shall include, but not be limited to, an examination of whether any of the following should be prohibited: (1) The imposition of restrictions on the resale of tickets included in subscription or season ticket packages, (2) the denial of access to entertainment events to ticket holders based solely on the fact that the ticket holder presents a resold ticket, and (3) ticketing systems that fail to provide purchasers with the option of purchasing tickets that may be transferred to any party, at any price and at any time, without additional fees. Not later than January 1, 2016, the commissioner must submit a report to the legislature concerning the results of the study.

 

 


BOARD OF TRUSTEES

CT HB 6118, PA 15-78

An Act Concerning Student Membership on the Board of Trustees for the University of Connecticut. This Act increases the number of UConn Board of Trustee members from 21 to 23 by adding two more student trustees to be elected by the student body. Thus, under the Act, the board will have a total of four student trustees. VETOED by the GOVERNOR

 

CT HR 27

Resolution Confirming the Nomination of Rebecca Lobo of Granby to be Reappointed a Member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Connecticut

 

CT HR 28

Resolution Confirming the Nomination of Thomas D. Ritter, Esquire of Hartford to be Reappointed a Member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Connecticut

 

 

BONDING

CT SB 1501, June Special Session, PA 15-01
An Act Authorizing and Adjusting Bonds of the State for Capital Improvements, Transportation and Other Purposes. This Act authorizes up to $1.866 billion in each year for FY 16 and FY 17 in state general obligation (GO) bonds for state capital projects and grant programs, including school construction, economic development, municipal aid, and housing development and rehabilitation programs. It also cancels or reduces up to $272.5 million in GO bond authorizations and $3 million in special tax obligation (STO) bond authorizations from prior fiscal years. The Act authorizes up to (1) $238 million in revenue bonds over the two years for Clean Water Fund loans; (2) $681.4 million in FY 16 and $693.3 million in FY 17 in special tax obligation (STO) bonds for transportation projects; and (3) an additional $2.803 billion in STO bonds from FY 16 to FY 20 for a five-year DOT capital improvement program.

 

Electronic Medical Records

Of particular interest to the University, the Act provides $25 million in FY16 (Section 2) and $16 million in FY17 (Section 21) for the purchase and implementation of an integrated electronic medical records system (EMR) at UConn Health. Section 231 of the Act also includes language that gives the University flexibility to modify UCONN 2000 projects (within authorized funding amounts) to provide the remaining financing necessary to implement the EMR system, provided the Board of Trustees votes its approval.

 

 


BUDGET

CT HB 7061, PA 15-244
An Act Concerning the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017, and Making Appropriations therefor, and other Provisions Related to Revenue, Deficiency Appropriations and Tax Fairness and Economic Development. Among other things, this Act: provides the FY 2016 and FY 2017 state appropriations for UConn, UConn Health and all other state agencies, offices and programs that receive state funds; codifies the rescissions that were made by OPM in FY 2015; and makes changes to Connecticut’s tax laws. Below is a summary of the University’s state appropriations. Provisions of this Act impacting other University departments and programs are summarized throughout this report under their appropriate topics.

 

Click here for the Office of Fiscal Analysis Fiscal Note on this Act.

 

Storrs and Regional Campuses

Budgeted Amount FY 2016 FY 2017
Operating expenses 220,582,283 225,082,283
Workers’ Compensation Claims 3,092,062* 3,092,062
Next Generation CT 19,144,737 20,394,737
Kirklyn M. Kerr Grant Program 400,000 400,000
Agency total 243,219,082 248,969,082

 

Note: The funding for the CommPACT schools program was removed from UConn’s budget and moved into the Department of Education budget and funded at $350,000 for FY 16 &17.

 

* The Budget Implementer bill that passed in the June 2015 Special Session reduced the UConn Workers’ Compensation Claims account by $46,380 (See SB 1502 below).

 

 

UConn Health

Budgeted Amount FY 2016 FY 2017
Operating expenses 124,347,180 125,519,573
AHEC 427,576 433,581
Workers’ Compensation Claims 7,016,044** 7,016,044
Bioscience 12,500,000 12,000,000
Agency total 144,290,800 144,969,198

 

** The Budget Implementer bill also reduced the UConn Health Workers’ Compensation Claims account by $105,240. (See SB 1502 below).

 

*** The Budget Implementer also reduced the Department of Correction appropriation for Inmate Medical Services by $1,376,135 for Fiscal Year 2016, and by $1,393,161 for Fiscal Year 2017 (See SB 1502 below).

 

 

Inmate Medical Services for the DOC:           FY 16: 91,742,350***

FY 17: 92,877,416***

 

The budget calls for $27 million in unspecified cuts for the next fiscal year, which will likely be spread across state agencies, including UConn. It is not clear what share of that cut will be assigned to UConn.  OPM will determine these cuts in the coming months.

 

The budget also changes the way workers’ compensation claims and expenses are funded, making these costs part of both UConn and UConn Health’s appropriations rather than funding these expenses through the centralized Workers’ Compensation Claims fund. This will likely increase the University’s exposure when it comes to these claims as the actual costs associated with workers’ compensation claims may be different than the amounts appropriated to the University.

 

Grant Funding – Early Childhood Regression Discontinuity Study

Section 44 allows for the transfer of up to $150,000 in FY 16 from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to the Other Expenses account within the Office of the State Comptroller. The transferred funds will allow OSC to provide a grant to the University of Connecticut to conduct an Early Childhood Regression Discontinuity Study.

 

JDH Fringe Benefits

Section 48 requires the office of the State Comptroller to fund any differential between the state fringe benefit rate for John Dempsey Hospital employees and the average rate for private Connecticut hospitals in an amount not to exceed $13,500,000, for each of the fiscal years ending June 30, 2016, and June 30, 2017, within the resources appropriated to the State Comptroller – Fringe Benefits in section 1 of this act.

 

Administrative Caps

Section 49 provides for caps on administrative costs at the constituent units of higher education. For UConn, for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2016, and June 30, 2017, expenditures for institutional administration, defined as system office, executive management, fiscal operations and general administration, exclusive of expenditures for logistical services, administrative computing and development, shall not exceed 3.35% of the annual General Fund appropriation and operating fund expenditures, exclusive of capital bond and fringe benefit funds.

 

Biomedical Research Trust Fund Monies to UCH for CICATS

Section 47 transfers $ 1,000,000 from the Biomedical Research Trust Fund to the University of Connecticut Health Center, in each of the fiscal years ending June 30, 2016, and June 30, 2017, for the purpose of supporting the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, and $ 250,000 of such amount in each such fiscal year shall be used for breast cancer research to be conducted by said institute.

 

Biomedical Research Fund

Section 90 provides $4 million to the Biomedical Research Trust Fund for FY 16 and FY 17.

 

 

CT SB 1502, June Special Session PA 15-5

An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education and Health and Human Services. As indicated above, among other things, this “Budget Implementer” bill, passed during the June Special Session, made a number of adjustments to the Budget and Tax provisions that were passed before the end of the Legislature’s regular session. Items of interest to the University’s budget include:

 

Sales Tax on Parking

Section 136 of the Budget Implementer restored the exclusion from sales tax for employee parking in employer-owned/leased lots.

 

Budget Adjustments

Section 156 made reductions to these appropriations made in the Budget:

  • Additional $1.5 million cut to DSS Medicaid
  • Reduction in UConn workers’ compensation claims account by $46,380
  • Reduction in UConn Health workers’ compensation claims account by $105,240
  • Reduction in the DOC Inmate Medical Services account by $1,376,135 (FY16) and $1,393,161 (FY17)

 

UConn Graduate Assistants Health Care

Sections 416 and 417 of the Act permit the UConn Board of Trustees to provide health care coverage for UConn graduate assistants (GAs), graduate fellows, postdoctoral trainees, and certain graduate students through the partnership plan, provided the university pays all related premiums and expenses. The partnership plan is the state-administered health insurance plan for non-state public or nonprofit employers. The Act prohibits UConn from charging premiums and expenses to the General Fund. Specifically the Act permits the following to be enrolled in the partnership plan: 1. UConn or the UConn Health Center graduate assistants, postdoctoral trainees, and graduate fellows; and 2. UConn graduate students participating in university-funded internships as part of their graduate program.

CONSTRUCTION

CT HB 6987, PA 15-242
An Act Concerning Various Revisions to the Public Health Statutes

Technical Assistance Fee

By law, DPH charges a fee for technical assistance the department provides for the design, review, and development of a health care institution’s construction, renovation, sale, or ownership change. For projects costing more than $1 million, the current fee is one-quarter of 1% of the total project cost. Section 1 of this Act specifies that the fee is based on total construction costs rather than project costs. (Neither current law nor the Act define either term.)

 

CT SB 1032, PA 15-28
An Act Concerning the Applicability of the Statute of Limitations to Construction and Design Actions Brought by the State or a Political Subdivision of the State. This Act subjects the state and its political subdivisions to a statute of limitations for bringing certain actions and claims arising out of construction-related work involving the improvement of real property. Under the Act, the period of time for bringing such actions and claims depends on the date the improvement is substantially completed and the nature of the action or claim. To recover damages for a deficiency arising out of construction-related work or personal or property injury or wrongful death arising out of any such deficiency, the state or any of its political subdivisions must bring the action or claim in contract, tort, or otherwise: (1) within 10 years after the date of substantial completion for improvement that is substantially complete on or after October 1, 2017 or (2) by October 1, 2027 for improvement that is substantially complete before October 1, 2017.

 

For an action or claim seeking contribution or indemnity arising out of construction-related work, the state or any of its political subdivisions must bring the action or claim by the later of (a) three years after the date an action or claim against the state or its political subdivision has been determined or (b) 10 years after the date of substantial completion for improvement that is substantially complete on or after October 1, 2017, or October 1, 2027 for improvement that is substantially complete before October 1, 2017. The Act exempts certain actions and claims from these time limitations. It also prohibits any additional limitation to actions brought in the name or for the benefit of the state and any claim of right based on the lapse of time against the state.

 

 


CONTRACTING

CT SB 877, PA 15-73
An Act Concerning Revisions to Statutes Concerning the Department of Administrative Services.

This Act makes several unrelated changes affecting the Department of Administrative Services (DAS). Among other things, it allows the DAS commissioner to extend, for up to six months, the expiration date of a small or minority-owned business’s set-aside program certification if she determines that such an extension is warranted; under current law, the certification is valid for up to two years (§ 1).

 

CT SB 949, PA 15-142
An Act Improving Data Security and Agency Effectiveness. This Act establishes protocols to protect confidential information (CI) that an entity obtains from a state contracting agency under a written agreement to provide goods or services to the state. If the entity’s contract with the state requires the contracting agency to share CI with it, the entity must, at its own expense, take certain steps to prevent data breaches. Among other things, the entity must (1) implement and maintain a comprehensive data security program to protect CI; (2) limit CI access to authorized employees and agents for authorized purposes under confidential agreements; (3) use certain technology, such as firewalls and intrusion detection software, to maintain all data obtained from the state contracting agency; and (4) report actual or suspected data breaches to the attorney general and the state contracting agency. This new Public Act may require that additional provisions be included in the University’s contracts.

 

CT SB 1032, PA 15-28
An Act Concerning the Applicability of the Statute of Limitations to Construction and Design Actions Brought by the State or a Political Subdivision of the State. This Act subjects the state and its political subdivisions to a statute of limitations for bringing certain actions and claims arising out of construction-related work involving the improvement of real property. Under the Act, the period of time for bringing such actions and claims depends on the date the improvement is substantially completed and the nature of the action or claim. To recover damages for a deficiency arising out of construction-related work or personal or property injury or wrongful death arising out of any such deficiency, the state or any of its political subdivisions must bring the action or claim in contract, tort, or otherwise: (1) within 10 years after the date of substantial completion for improvement that is substantially complete on or after October 1, 2017 or (2) by October 1, 2027 for improvement that is substantially complete before October 1, 2017.

 

For an action or claim seeking contribution or indemnity arising out of construction-related work, the state or any of its political subdivisions must bring the action or claim by the later of (a) three years after the date an action or claim against the state or its political subdivision has been determined or (b) 10 years after the date of substantial completion for improvement that is substantially complete on or after October 1, 2017, or October 1, 2027 for improvement that is substantially complete before October 1, 2017. The Act exempts certain actions and claims from these time limitations. It also prohibits any additional limitation to actions brought in the name or for the benefit of the state and any claim of right based on the lapse of time against the state.

 

CT SB 1502, June Special Session PA 15-5

An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education and Health and Human Services

Labor Peace Agreements

Section 113 of this Act requires the state, in certain state-backed “hospitality projects,” to require contracts for hotel or concession area operation or management services to include a labor peace agreement between the contractor, including any of its subcontractors, tenants, or licensees, and the labor organization representing or seeking to represent the hotel’s or concession area’s employees. Under the Act, a “labor peace agreement” is an agreement that requires the labor organization and its members to refrain from engaging in labor activity that may disrupt the hotel’s or concession area’s operations, including strikes, boycotts, work stoppages, and picketing.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

CT HB 5660, PA 15-151
An Act Concerning the Return or Use of Unused Grant Awards from the Department of Economic and Community Development. This Act requires the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to include in grant agreements a date by which a grant recipient must either (1) return unused grant funds to DECD or (2) apply for authorization to use unused grants funds for another purpose.

 

CT HB 6259, PA 15-155
An Act Concerning the Boundaries of Regional Economic Development Districts. This Act increases, from eight to nine, the maximum number of regional economic development districts (REDD) that can be established in the state. By law, regional planning and economic development organizations may establish REDDs to coordinate economic development projects and prepare comprehensive economic development strategies, which are required for certain types of federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) assistance (e. g. , infrastructure and business development assistance).

 

CT SB 445, SA 15-11
An Act Concerning a Plan for the Connecticorps Program. The Act requires the Labor Department, in consultation with the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Board of Regents for Higher Education, and the University of Connecticut, to develop a plan to establish a program to capitalize on the skills of college students in the state to improve Connecticut’s quality of life.

 

CT SB 957, PA 15-222
An Act Concerning Revisions To The Regenerative Medicine Research Fund And The Connecticut Bioscience Innovation Fund, And The Consolidation Of Certain Funds of Connecticut Innovations, Incorporated.
This Act makes several programmatic and administrative changes to Connecticut Innovations, Incorporated (CI) programs. It: (1) allows CI to award additional forms of financing from the Regenerative Medicine Research Fund (RMRF); (2) requires RMRF’s advisory committee to contract with a third party to select peer reviewers to review financial assistance applications; (3) expands eligibility for financial assistance from the Bioscience Innovation Fund to include businesses operating for three to seven years; (4) limits Bioscience Innovation Fund eligibility to businesses in certain clinical trial phases; and (5) folds two CI funds into the Connecticut Growth Fund.

 

CT SB 958, SA 14-21
An Act Establishing Strategic Partnerships in Cybersecurity. This Act requires the Labor Department, in conjunction with the Department of Economic and Community Development, to conduct an analysis of the cybersecurity sector in the state, including, but not limited to: (1) An identification of industry stakeholders in the cybersecurity sector and potential partners in developing the cybersecurity sector, including, but not limited to, educational institutions, cybersecurity businesses trade associations and nonprofit organizations, and representatives from the financial, insurance, health care and defense sectors in the state and other public and private entities that utilize the services of cybersecurity professionals; and (2) an identification of barriers to the growth of the cybersecurity sector in the state. Not later than October 1, 2015, the department must submit its analysis to the Legislature.

 

CT SB 1502, June Special Session PA 15-5

An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education and Health and Human Services

 

Bioscience Innovation Fund Administrative Costs

Sections 53-55 of this Act allows Connecticut Innovations, Inc. (CI) to use Bioscience Innovation Fund money to pay for its administrative costs, including peer review costs, professional fees, allocated staff costs, and other out-of-pocket costs related to administering and operating the fund. Under the Act, CI may use no more than 5% of the total amount allotted for the year in the fund’s operating budget to pay for its administrative costs, and expenditures from the fund for administrative costs do not have to be approved by the fund’s advisory committee. The Act also specifies that it does not require CI to risk or spend CI’s funds to administer the Bioscience Innovation Fund.

 

Energy Test Bed Technology

Under current law, the State Agency Energy Efficiency or Renewable Energy Technology Test Program allows the DEEP commissioner to direct state agencies to test technologies, products, or processes (“test subjects”) that (1) he finds would promote energy conservation, efficiency, or renewable energy technology and (2) meet certain other standards. Acquisitions under the testing program are not considered purchases under the state procurement law and are thus exempt from certain competitive bidding requirements. Section 467 of this Act requires the commissioner to administer pilot test programs at state agencies for test subjects that meet the program’s criteria and fulfill its purposes. Applicants interested in participating in the programs must submit an application to the commissioner on forms he prescribes. The Act requires the commissioner to (1) review an application for sufficiency within 30 days and (2) determine whether the application meets the program’s requirements within 90 days, after receiving the application. The Act also allows another agency’s commissioner to request the DEEP commissioner’s approval to test a test subject that the other commissioner identifies (1) on his or her own or (2) as a test subject that has been procured, installed, and tested in a municipality and meets the program’s requirements. The DEEP commissioner must evaluate the test subject and approve or disapprove the other commissioner’s request within 30 days after receiving it. An agency that is directed or approved to test a test subject must use it in its operations on a trial basis as prescribed by the DEEP commissioner.

EDUCATION K-12

CT HB 6834, PA 15-168
An Act Concerning Collaboration Between Boards of Education and School Resource Officers and the Collection and Reporting of Data on School-Based Arrests. This Act requires a local or regional school board that assigns a sworn police officer to a school (i.e., school resource officer) to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the local police department or the Division of State Police that defines the officer’s role and responsibilities. The MOU must address daily interactions among students, school personnel, and police officers, and can include a graduated response model for student discipline.

 

CT HB 6949, PA 15-174

An Act Concerning Childhood Vaccinations. Existing law exempts children from school immunization requirements if the child presents a statement from his or her parents or guardians that the immunization would be contrary to the child’s religious beliefs. This Act additionally exempts children who present a statement that the immunization would be contrary to the parents’ or guardians’ religious beliefs. It requires any such statement to be officially acknowledged by a notary public, Connecticut-licensed attorney, judge, family support magistrate, court clerk or deputy clerk, town clerk, or justice of the peace. Under the Act, the child’s parents or guardians must submit the religious exemption statement annually in order for the child to remain enrolled in a public or private school.

 

CT HB 6974, PA 15-137
An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Achievement Gap Task Force Concerning the Creation of a Director of Reading Initiatives at the Department of education. This Act creates a director of reading initiatives position in the State Department of Education to: (1) administer the intensive reading instruction program to (a) improve literacy in grades kindergarten through three and (b) close the achievement gap; (2) assist with the development and administration of a teacher and principal professional development program about scientifically-based reading research and instruction; (3) administer the coordinated statewide reading plan for students in grades kindergarten through three; (4) administer the reading incentive program; (5) assist local and regional boards of education in (a) administering reading assessments and (b) implementing school district reading plans; (6) provide information on and assistance with reading and literacy to parents and guardians; (7) address English language learner reading and literacy issues; and (8) develop and administer any other statewide reading and literacy initiatives for grades kindergarten through 12.

 

CT HB 6977, PA 15-176
An Act Establishing Qualifications for the Commissioner of Education. This Act requires the state education commissioner to be a qualified person with a master’s or a higher degree in an education-related field and at least the following experience in a school or district in Connecticut or another state: (1) five years as a teacher and (2) three years as an administrator. Under current law, the commissioner is not required to hold a degree or have any experience in education. By law, the selection process requires the State Board of Education (SBE) to recommend a commissioner candidate to the governor, who then nominates the person and forwards the nomination to the General Assembly for confirmation. The commissioner serves as the head of the Education Department, which is the administrative arm of SBE. VETOED by the GOVERNOR

 

CT HB 6978, PA 15-177
An Act Requiring the Commissioner of Education to Develop and Submit a Comprehensive State-wide Interdistrict Magnet School Plan. This Act sets a new deadline by which the education commissioner must develop and submit to the Education Committee a comprehensive statewide plan for interdistrict magnet schools. Current law required that the plan be submitted by January 1, 2011. The Act requires that it be submitted by October 1, 2016. By law, and unchanged by the Act, the commissioner cannot accept applications to establish new magnet schools outside the Sheff region until this plan is developed. Applications for new magnet schools within the Sheff region are not subject to this moratorium.

CT HB 7018, PA 15-133
An Act Concerning Alternative Education. This Act defines the term “alternative education” as a school or program maintained and operated by a local or regional board of education offered to students in a nontraditional setting that addresses their social, emotional, behavioral, and academic needs. It replaces references to “alternative programs,” “alternative school programs,” and “alternative high school” in statute that are currently undefined. The Act also allows local and regional boards of education to provide alternative education to students using space in an existing school or by establishing a new school specifically for alternative education. It also makes the following changes: (1) assigns several new duties to local and regional boards of education, the State Department of Education (SDE), and the State Board of Education (SBE) relating to alternative education and (2) allows two or more boards of education to form cooperative arrangements to provide alternative education.

 

CT HB 7019, PA-15-99
An Act Concerning the Minimum Budget Requirement. This Act extends, for fiscal years 2016 and 2017, the minimum budget requirement (MBR) for local education spending and provides towns a greater ability to lower their MBR. Under current law, the MBR prohibits a town from budgeting less for education than it did in the previous year unless, and with limits, the town can demonstrate a (1) decrease in school enrollment or (2) savings through increased efficiencies. If a town receives an increase in state education cost sharing aid, its MBR will increase over the previous year by the amount of the aid increase.

 

CT HB 7020, PA 15-134
An Act Concerning Early Childhood Educators and Initiatives. This Act makes a number of changes in various early childhood education statutes. It requires: (1) the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) to (a) collect and publicly post data for a trend analysis of regionally accredited bachelor’s degree programs in early childhood education or child development, (b) review analysis results when considering for approval bachelors’ degrees that lack state or regional accreditation, and (c) make school readiness staff qualification findings based upon trend analysis results (§ 1); (2) local or regional boards of education and regional education service centers operating preschool magnet programs, as well as state or local charter school governing councils offering preschool programs, to obtain National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) program accreditation beginning in the 2017-18 school year (§ 2); (3) OEC to develop a plan to help early childhood education program providers implement stricter staff qualifications already required by law and report on the plan to the Education Committee by January 1, 2016 (§ 4); (4) OEC to report to the Education Committee, by July 1 annually, on the status of school readiness program providers’ compliance with the stricter staff qualification requirements (§ 5); (5) local and regional boards of education to include OEC’s preschool experience survey its kindergarten registration materials (§ 6); and (6) “grandfathering” certain school readiness staff into stricter staff qualifications until June 30, 2025 (§ 8). The Act also (1) extends by two years, from July 1, 2015 to 2017, the deadline by which certain school readiness staff must meet the first phase of heightened staff qualifications and (2) allows OEC to provide funding, within available appropriations, to local and regional early childhood councils for local implementation of early care and education and child development programs (§ 3).

 

CT HB 7021, PA 15-243
An Act Concerning Teacher Preparation Program Efficacy. This Act requires: (1) starting July 1, 2016, all teacher preparation programs in the state to place their students, as part of their field work or student teaching classroom experience, at (a) a school in a school district that receives federal Title I school improvement grants and (b) one that does not and (2) by July 1, 2015, the State Department of Education (SDE) to annually report on the quality of in-state teacher preparation programs to the Education and Higher Education and Employment Advancement committees.

 

CT HB 7061, PA 15-244
An Act Concerning the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017, and Making Appropriations therefor, and other Provisions Related to Revenue, Deficiency Appropriations and Tax Fairness and Economic Development.

 

Grant funding for an Early Childhood Regression Discontinuity Study

Section 44 of this Act allows for the transfer of up to $150,000 in FY 16 from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to the Other Expenses account within the Office of the State Comptroller. The transferred funds will allow OSC to provide a grant to the University of Connecticut to conduct an Early Childhood Regression Discontinuity Study.

 

CT HB 7102, June Special Session PA 15-3
An Act Concerning Authorization of State Grant Commitments for School Building Projects and Concerning Changes to the Statutes Concerning School Building Projects. This Act authorizes the administrative services commissioner to enter into grant commitments on behalf of the state for 18 new school construction projects. It authorizes state grants totaling $181.2 million related to total project costs of $296.5 million. It also reauthorizes and changes grant commitments, due to cost and scope changes, for: (1) six previously authorized local projects with a total increased grant commitment of $50.2 million and (2) three previously authorized technical high school projects with a total increased grant commitment of $248 million.

 

CT SB 962, PA15-92
An Act Concerning the Inclusion of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training, the Safe use of Social Media and Computer Programming Instruction in the Public School Curriculum. This Act requires public schools to add the following subject areas to their curriculum beginning in the 2016-17 school year: (1) as part of the health and safety curriculum, (a) cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training and (b) instruction on the safe use of social media, such as blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant messaging, and other electronic user-generated content and (2) computer programming instruction. The Act requires that the CPR instruction in public schools be based on American Heart Association guidelines for emergency cardiovascular care, including hands-on training in CPR. It also allows local or regional boards of education to accept gifts, grants, and donations (including in-kind donations) to purchase equipment or material needed to provide CPR instruction in public schools.

 

CT SB 963, PA 15-17
An Act Concerning a Labor and Free Market Capitalism Curriculum. This Act requires the State Board of Education (SBE), within available appropriations and using available materials, to assist and encourage local and regional boards of education to include in their curricula (1) labor history and law, including organized labor, the collective bargaining process, and existing legal protections in the workplace; (2) the history and economics of free-market capitalism and entrepreneurialism; and (3) the role of labor and capitalism in developing the American and world economies.

 

CT SB 1054, PA 15-97
An Act Concerning Students with Dyslexia. This Act makes several changes to state education law regarding dyslexia. It requires: (1) the State Department of Education (SDE) to designate an employee to help parents and boards of education detect and intervene on behalf of students with dyslexia; and (2) teacher preparation programs and in-service training programs to include dyslexia education and training. Furthermore, the Act extends by two years, from January 1, 2014 to January 1, 2016, the deadline for SDE to develop or approve reading assessments, which, among other things, help identify students at risk for dyslexia. It also extends, from February 1, 2013 to February 1, 2016, the deadline for the commissioner to submit the assessments to the Education Committee.

 

CT SB 1058, PA 15-225
An Act Concerning Chronic Absenteeism. This Act requires local and regional boards of education to monitor and address absenteeism rates in schools. Specifically, it requires boards of education to: (1) establish attendance review teams for their school district or individual schools when chronic absenteeism rates reach a certain percentage and (2) annually report to the education commissioner the number of truant and chronically absent students for each school and the entire district. The Act also requires the State Department of Education (SDE), along with the Interagency Council for Ending the Achievement Gap to develop a chronic absenteeism prevention and intervention plan by January 1, 2016 for local and regional school boards to use. Finally, the Act expands the children’s probate court truancy clinics that currently are pilot programs limited to the Waterbury and New Haven probate courts. The Act instead allows the probate court administrator to establish truancy clinics without pilot limitations within probate courts serving towns designated as alliance districts.

 

CT SB 1059, PA 15-237
An Act Concerning High School Graduation Requirements. This Act delays, by one year, implementation of the scheduled changes to the state’s school requirements that (1) increase the minimum number of credits, from 20 to 25, required for high school graduation; (2) requires students to pass state examinations in certain courses and complete a senior project in order to graduate; and (3) requires school districts to offer students support and alternative ways to meet the new graduation requirements. These requirements are set in statute and are currently set to apply to the 2020 graduating class (the current seventh grade class). Under the Act, they apply to the 2021 graduating class (the current sixth grade class). The Act also creates a nine-member task force to study (1) the alignment of the high school graduation requirement changes with the Common Core State Standards adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE) and (2) the feasibility of adding training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as a high school graduation requirement. The Act also requires SBE to grant a student a community service recognition award if he or she satisfactorily completes at least 50 hours of community service and meets statutory criteria to earn one-half credit toward graduation.

 

CT SB 1095, PA 15-238
An Act Concerning Students Assessments. By law, public school students in certain grades must take mastery exams designed to measure grade-appropriate skills in reading, writing, math, and science. Currently, high school students must take the exams in 10th or 11th grade. The Act eliminates the option of students taking the reading, writing, and math exams in 10th grade and instead requires they be taken in 11th. The State Board of Education (SBE) must approve and pay for the exams which must be nationally-recognized college readiness assessments that measure essential and grade-appropriate skills. The Act eliminates the option that the science exam be given in 11th grade and instead requires students take this exam in 10th grade. The federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act (P.L. 107-110) allows the high school exams to be given between grades 10 and 12. The Act also requires SBE, by January 1, 2016, to enter into an agreement with a provider of a nationally recognized college readiness assessment to provide and administer the 11th grade exam in Connecticut if certain conditions are met, including federal approval. The Act establishes the Mastery Examination Committee within the State Department of Education (SDE) and specifies its membership and mission. The committee must study various aspects of Connecticut’s mastery test system and make the following reports to the Education Committee: (1) an interim report by February 15, 2016, and (2) a final report with recommendations by January 15, 2017. It is unclear how the committee’s reports will help inform SBE’s decision to enter a contract for the college readiness assessment as the Act requires the contract to be entered into before the committee’s reports are due.

 

CT SB 1096, PA 15-239
An Act Concerning Charter Schools. This Act changes how the state approves charter school applications and the General Assembly’s role in the approval and funding of charter schools. It also requires a new level of transparency on the schools and their management organizations.

 

CT SB 1098, PA 15-108
An Act Concerning Teacher Certification Requirements for Shortage Areas, Interstate Agreements for Teacher Certification Reciprocity, Minority Teacher Recruitment and Retention and Cultural Competency Instruction. This Act decreases, from three to two years, the number of years of teaching experience an out-of-state teacher needs to qualify for a professional teacher certificate. Certification is the credential that authorizes a person to teach in Connecticut public schools. It also: (1) allows teacher shortage area applicants to receive 90-day temporary teacher certificates as the law already allows for those who finish an alternative route to certification (ARC) program; (2) requires the State Department of Education (SDE) to establish or join interstate agreements to facilitate certification of qualified out–of-state teachers; (3) creates an 11-member minority teacher recruitment task force and requires it to submit its report and recommendations to the Education Committee by February 1, 2016; (4) requires the Office of Higher Education (OHE) to issue an annual demographics report on candidates enrolled in teacher preparation programs; (5) adds training in cultural competency to the teacher preparation and in-service training laws; and

(6) makes minor, technical, and conforming changes to teacher certification law.

 

CT SB 1101, PA 15-227
An Act Concerning the Office of Early Childhood. This Act makes the following changes to various early childhood statutes: (1) expands school readiness seat eligibility (§§ 1 & 2); (2) revises the formula for calculating competitive school readiness grants (§ 2); (3) increases the amount of unexpended school readiness funds that may be spent on professional development for early childhood care and education program providers (§ 3); (4) eliminates the requirement that school readiness councils submit biennial reports to the State Department of Education (SDE) on the number and location of readiness spaces, estimated number of unserved children, and estimated cost of providing spaces to all eligible children (§ 5); (5) changes the Care 4 Kids child care subsidy eligibility period from eight months to a period prescribed by federal law (§ 6); (6) eliminates the Office of Early Childhood’s (OEC’s) duty to (a) send written notices on specific topics to Care 4 Kids recipients and service providers and (b) report to the Human Services and Appropriations committees on Care 4 Kids eligibility redeterminations (§ 6); (7) replaces statutory references to (a) “day care” with “child care” and (b) OEC “executive director” with “commissioner” (§§ 7, 8, 15, 17, 20, 21, & 25); (8) allows the OEC commissioner to waive child care regulation provisions during civil preparedness or public health emergencies (§§ 7 & 8); (9) allows the OEC commissioner to renew expired child care licenses within 30 days of their expiration under certain conditions (§§ 8 & 21); (10) creates separate operating and capital grant accounts for the Smart Start competitive grant program (§§ 10 & 11); (11) requires OEC to redesign the Smart Start program grants as up-front payments rather than reimbursements (§ 12); (12) adds seven new members to the Early Childhood Cabinet (§ 13); (13) repeals the law creating the Children’s Trust Fund and the fund’s and the Children Trust Fund Council’s orders, regulations, and contracts (§ 26); (14) eliminates OEC’s authority to accept gifts or bequests on behalf of the Children’s Trust Fund or for its programs and services (§ 14); (15) requires the OEC commissioner to report annually, rather than semiannually, to the General Assembly on the Nurturing Families Network (§ 15); (16) allows the OEC commissioner to resolve disciplinary action against child care providers using voluntary license surrender (§§ 16-18); (17) allows OEC to investigate and discipline child care providers even if their license expired within 18 months of the investigation’s start (§ 19); (18) Shifts administration of the Even Start family literacy program from the SDE to OEC (§ 22); (19) shifts the Help Me Grow program from the Children’s Trust Fund to OEC (§ 23); and (20) renames the “kindergarten assessment tool” the “kindergarten entrance inventory,” which OEC must develop under existing law, and eliminates OEC’s duty to implement it (as SDE, not OEC, implements kindergarten initiatives) (§ 501).

 

CT SB 1502, June Special Session PA 15-5

An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education and Health and Human Services

Planning Commission Established

Section 263 of this Act establishes a Planning Commission for Education to develop and recommend the implementation of a strategic master plan that states a clear vision and mission for developing a sustainable, equitable, and high-quality public education system for Connecticut. The commission is made up of 29 voting members.

ENERGY

CT HB 6838, PA 15-194
An Act Concerning the Encouragement of Local Economic Development and Access to Residential Renewable Energy. This Act expands the Connecticut Green Bank’s residential solar investment program and standardizes certain steps in the municipal permitting process for installing residential solar systems.

 

CT SB 928, PA 15-113

An Act Establishing a Shared Clean Energy Facility Pilot Program. This Act requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), in consultation with the electric distribution companies (EDCs, i.e., Eversource and United Illuminating), to establish a two-year pilot program to support the development of shared clean energy facilities. In general, a shared clean energy facility under the Act is a clean energy-powered electricity generating facility to which customers subscribe for a (1) percentage interest in the total amount of electricity produced or (2) set amount of electricity produced. The subscriber’s share of the electricity produced is then used to offset the subscriber’s electric costs at another billing meter identified by the subscriber. The Act requires DEEP, by January 1, 2016, to develop and issue a request for proposals (RFP) to develop shared clean energy facilities from entities that (1) own or operate such facilities to benefit subscribers or (2) contract with third parties to build, own, or operate them.

 

CT SB 1078, PA 15-107
An Act Concerning Affordable and Reliable Energy. This Act allows the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) commissioner, in consultation with others, to issue multiple solicitations for long-term contracts for various energy resources. Such solicitations must be for: (1) passive demand response measures and smaller capacity Class I and Class III renewable energy sources; (2) larger capacity Class I renewable energy sources and verifiable large-scale hydropower and any associated transmission; and (3) natural gas resources, including (a) interstate natural gas transportation capacity, (b) liquefied natural gas, (c) liquefied natural gas storage, (d) natural gas storage, or (e) any combination of these. It also allows the DEEP commissioner to seek proposals for energy storage, Class II resources, and existing hydropower in certain circumstances. The Act also allows the DEEP commissioner to hire consultants to assist with evaluating proposals. If he finds proposals in the ratepayers’ best interests, he may select one or more such proposals and direct the electric companies to enter into long-term contracts. Agreements entered into as a result of solicitations authorized by the Act are subject to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority’s (PURA) approval. The Act limits (1) all contract terms to 20 years; (2) selected proposals for demand response, renewable resources, and hydropower, in the aggregate, to 10% of the total load served by the state’s electric companies; and (3) the total aggregate capacity of selected contracts.

 

CT SB 1502, June Special Session PA 15-5

An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education and Health and Human Services

 

Pilot Program for Grid-Side Energy System Enhancements

Sections 102 and 103 of this Act allows electric distribution companies (EDCs, i.e., Eversource and United Illuminating) to submit proposals to DEEP for a pilot program to build, own, or operate grid-side system enhancements, including energy storage systems, to demonstrate and investigate how distributed energy resources (DER) can be reliably and efficiently integrated into the electric distribution system in a way that maximizes the value they provide to the electric grid, electric ratepayers, and the public. The proposal must complement and enhance (1) the programs, products, and incentives available through the Connecticut Green Bank and the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, (2) DEEP’s Z-REC and L-REC programs, and (3) other similar programs that support DER deployment.

 

Energy Test Bed Technology

Under current law, the State Agency Energy Efficiency or Renewable Energy Technology Test Program allows the DEEP commissioner to direct state agencies to test technologies, products, or processes (“test subjects”) that (1) he finds would promote energy conservation, efficiency, or renewable energy technology and (2) meet certain other standards. Acquisitions under the testing program are not considered purchases under the state procurement law and are thus exempt from certain competitive bidding requirements. Section 467 of this Act requires the commissioner to administer pilot test programs at state agencies for test subjects that meet the program’s criteria and fulfill its purposes. Applicants interested in participating in the programs must submit an application to the commissioner on forms he prescribes. The Act requires the commissioner to (1) review an application for sufficiency within 30 days and (2) determine whether the application meets the program’s requirements within 90 days, after receiving the application. The Act also allows another agency’s commissioner to request the DEEP commissioner’s approval to test a test subject that the other commissioner identifies (1) on his or her own or (2) as a test subject that has been procured, installed, and tested in a municipality and meets the program’s requirements. The DEEP commissioner must evaluate the test subject and approve or disapprove the other commissioner’s request within 30 days after receiving it. An agency that is directed or approved to test a test subject must use it in its operations on a trial basis as prescribed by the DEEP commissioner.

 

ENVIRONMENT

CT SB 940, PA 15-138
An Act Concerning the Sustainability of the Nitrogen Credit Exchange Program. This Act phases out the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s (DEEP) obligation to purchase all equivalent nitrogen credits created by publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities under the Nitrogen Credit Exchange Program. The program, overseen and managed by DEEP, was created to help these facilities comply with required nitrogen discharge limits and reduce the amount of nitrogen entering Long Island Sound.

 

CT SB 1502, June Special Session PA 15-5

An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education and Health and Human Services

 

Regulations on Pesticide Application Records

By law, the DEEP commissioner, in consultation with the DPH commissioner, must adopt regulations on pesticide application by state agencies, departments, or institutions. Current law requires the regulations to include IPM methods to reduce pesticide use. Under section 440 of this Act, this requirement applies if the DEEP commissioner provides pertinent model pest control management plans. The Act also requires the regulations to address record retention by each state agency, department, or institution that applies pesticide or implements an IPM program. The records must at least include the (1) reason for pesticide use, (2) location of pesticide application, (3) application frequency at each location, (4) EPA toxicity category and carcinogenic classification for each pesticide used, and (5) application cost.

FACILITIES MANAGEMENT & FOOD SERVICE

CT HB 6987, PA 15-242
An Act Concerning Various Revisions to the Public Health Statutes

 

Latex Gloves at Retail Food Establishments

Section 31 of this Act prohibits the use of latex gloves at certain retail food establishments. It imposes a fine of between $250 and $500 for any establishment that violates the prohibition on latex gloves.

 

CT SB 1502, June Special Session PA 15-5

An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education and Health and Human Services

 

Regulations on Pesticide Application Records

By law, the DEEP commissioner, in consultation with the DPH commissioner, must adopt regulations on pesticide application by state agencies, departments, or institutions. Current law requires the regulations to include IPM methods to reduce pesticide use. Under section 440 of this Act, this requirement applies if the DEEP commissioner provides pertinent model pest control management plans. The Act also requires the regulations to address record retention by each state agency, department, or institution that applies pesticide or implements an IPM program. The records must at least include the (1) reason for pesticide use, (2) location of pesticide application, (3) application frequency at each location, (4) EPA toxicity category and carcinogenic classification for each pesticide used, and (5) application cost.

FINANCIAL AID AND TUITION

CT HB 6907, PA 15-200

An Act Concerning the Duties and Authorities of the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority. This Act requires the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHESLA) to make a report to the legislative committees on higher education and banking about certain aspects of its lending practices and the interest rates it charges.

 

CT HB 6915, PA 15-162
An Act Concerning a Student Loan Bill of Rights. This Act creates a new student loan ombudsman position in the Banking Department, establishes the ombudsman’s duties, and requires the implementation and maintenance of a student loan borrower’s education course. The Act requires that the above be provided within available appropriations.

 

CT SB 393 PA 15-231
An Act Requiring a Report Concerning Institutional Financial Aid from the University of Connecticut and the Board of Regents for Higher Education. This Act requires UConn and the Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR), annually beginning by November 1, 2015, to report to the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee on how they awarded institutional financial aid to undergraduates in the previous academic year. At a minimum, the report must describe, separately for in-state and out-of-state students, the aggregate amount of institutional (1) financial aid available, (2) need-based financial aid awarded, and (3) merit-based financial aid awarded. Generally, institutional financial aid consists of aid originating from the institution and excludes federal or state financial aid awarded to students.

 

CT SB 399, PA-15-2
An Act Concerning Reporting Requirements of the University of Connecticut and the Board of Regents for Higher Education Regarding Financial Aid and Requiring Legislative Approval for the Closure of Certain College Campuses and Manufacturing Programs. This Act prohibits the Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR) from doing the following without the General Assembly’s approval: (1) closing, authorizing the closure of, or proceeding with any closure of any campus of Middlesex Community College or any other campus of any other public higher education institution under BOR’s jurisdiction or (2) suspending, authorizing the suspension of, or proceeding with any suspension of any manufacturing program offered by Middlesex Community College or any other manufacturing program offered by any other public higher education institution under BOR’s jurisdiction. The Act also requires the University of Connecticut and BOR, by November 1, 2015 and annually thereafter, to report to the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee on the institutional financial aid awarded to undergraduate students during the previous academic year. In general, institutional financial aid consists of aid originating from the institution and excludes federal or state financial aid awarded to students. VETOED by the GOVERNOR

(Note: financial aid reporting requirements were passed in SB 393, summarized above.)

HEALTH CARE-ADMINISTRATION & FINANCE

CT SB 253, PA 15-110
An Act Concerning Payment to an Ambulance Service. This Act requires an ambulance service to make a good faith effort to determine whether a person has health insurance before attempting to collect payment from the person for services provided. If the ambulance service determines that the person is insured, the Act prohibits the service from trying to collect payment, other than a coinsurance, copayment, or deductible, from the person for covered medical services, before receiving oral or written notice from the insurer that it is not paying for the services. If the insurer has not paid for the service or provided notice that it declines to do so within 60 days after receiving the Act, the ambulance service may attempt to collect payment from the person.

 

CT SB 257, PA 15-4
An Act Concerning Reporting of Payments by Manufacturers to Independently-Practicing Advanced Practice Registered Nurses. Legislation enacted last year requires manufacturers of covered drugs, devices, biologicals, and medical supplies to report to the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) on payments or other transfers of value they make to advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) practicing in Connecticut. This Act (1) extends, by two years, the due date for the first report, from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2017; makes the reports due annually rather than quarterly; and specifies that the reports cover the previous calendar year; (2) specifies that the reporting requirement applies only to payments made to APRNs practicing not in collaboration with a physician (i.e., those practicing independently); (3) requires the Department of Public Health, by December 1 annually, to maintain on its website a list of APRNs authorized to practice independently, which the manufacturers must use when determining whether they need to report to DCP; and (4) excludes from the reporting requirement the same payments excluded under the federal law on reporting payments to physicians

 

CT HB 6987, PA 15-242
An Act Concerning Various Revisions to the Public Health Statutes

 

Certificate of Need – Termination of Services

Generally, the law requires a health care facility to apply for a certificate of need (CON) from DPH’s Office of Health Care Access (OHCA) when it proposes to (1) establish a new facility or provide new services, (2) change ownership, (3) purchase or acquire certain equipment, or (4) terminate certain services. Section 27 of this Act specifies when facilities must file a CON before terminating services.

 

Advance Notice of Inspections

Section 18 prohibits advance notice of any inspection (other than initial inspection) by making it a crime for any DPH, Department of Social Services (DSS), or regional ombudsman to inform any healthcare institution, as defined under Section 19a-490, including hospitals.

 

CT SB 467, PA 15-88
An Act Concerning the Facilitation of Telehealth. This Act establishes requirements for health care providers who provide medical services through the use of telehealth. Among other things, a telehealth provider must obtain a patient’s informed consent, at the first telehealth interaction, to provide telehealth services. The Act also requires certain health insurance policies to cover medical services provided through telehealth to the extent that they cover the services through in-person visits between an insured person and a health care provider.

 

CT SB 811, PA 15-146
An Act Concerning Hospitals, Insurers and Health Care Consumers. This Act includes numerous provisions affecting hospitals and health systems, health care providers, and health carriers. Bill Summary

 

Limits on Facility Fees

By law, a “facility fee” is any fee a hospital or health system charges or bills for outpatient hospital services provided in a hospital-based facility that is (1) intended to compensate the hospital or health system for its operational expenses and (2) separate and distinct from the provider’s professional fee. On and after January 1, 2017, Section 13 of this Act places certain limits on facility fees. It prohibits hospitals, health systems, and hospital-based facilities from collecting a facility fee for outpatient services that (1) use a current procedural terminology evaluation and management code and (2) are provided at a facility, other than a hospital emergency department, that is not on a hospital campus. For uninsured patients, it prohibits hospitals, health systems, or hospital-based facilities from collecting a facility fee for outpatient services, other than those provided in off-site emergency departments, that exceeds the Medicare facility fee rate. A violation is an unfair trade practice. If an insurance contract in effect on July 1, 2016 provides reimbursement for facility fees that are prohibited by these provisions, the hospital or health system may continue to collect reimbursement from insurers for these fees until the contract expires.

 

Billing Statement Notice

Section 13 of this Act also requires, beginning January 1, 2016, that each billing statement that includes a facility fee must: (1) clearly identify the fee as a facility fee that is in addition to, or separate from, the provider’s professional fee, if any; (2) provide the comparable Medicare facility fee reimbursement rate for the same service; (3) include a statement that the fee is intended to cover the hospital’s or health system’s operational expenses; (4) inform the patient that his or her financial liability might have been less if the services had been provided at a facility not owned or operated by the hospital or health system; and (5) include notice of the patient’s right to request a reduction in the facility fee or any portion of the bill and a telephone number that the patient may use to make this request. These requirements do not apply to billing statements for Medicare or Medicaid patients or those receiving services under a workers’ compensation plan.

 

Notice of Transaction Resulting in Hospital-Based Facility; Stay on Collecting Facility Fees

Under the Act, on and after January 1, 2016, if a transaction materially changes the business or corporate structure of a physician group practice and results in the establishment of a hospital-based facility at which facility fees will likely be billed, the hospital or health system purchasing the practice must notify each patient the practice served over the previous three years. The purchaser must send the notice by first class mail, within 30 days after the transaction.

The notice must include the following: (1) a statement that the purchased facility is now a hospital-based facility and is part of a hospital or health system; (2) the purchaser’s name, business address, and telephone number; (3) a statement that the hospital-based facility bills, or is likely to bill, patients a facility fee that may be in addition to, and separate from, any provider professional fees; (4) a statement that the patient’s actual financial liability will depend on the medical services provided him or her; (5) an explanation that the patient may incur greater financial liability than if the facility were not hospital-based; (6) the estimated facility fee amount or range of amounts the facility may bill or an example of the average facility fee it bills for its most common services; and (7) a statement that, before seeking services at the facility, an insured patient should contact his or her insurer for additional information on hospital-based facility fees, including any potential financial liability for the patient. Some of these requirements are similar to existing notice requirements for facilities that already charge facility fees. The purchaser also must provide a copy of this notice to OHCA, which must post a link to the notice on its website. The Act prohibits a hospital, health system, or hospital-based facility from collecting a facility fee for services provided at a purchased facility subject to these notice provisions, from the transaction date until at least 30 days after the required notice is mailed to the patient or a copy is filed with OHCA, whichever is later. A violation is an unfair trade practice.

 

Form of Written Notices

Existing law sets certain notice requirements for hospitals or health systems that charge facility fees, and requires notices to patients to be in plain language and in a form reasonably understandable to someone without special knowledge of these fees. The Act extends this requirement to the (1) billing statement notice and notices following certain group practice acquisitions as described above and (2) other existing notice requirements (such as required signs about potentially greater financial liability due to facility fees, compared to facilities that are not hospital-based).

 

Annual Reporting

Beginning by July 1, 2016, the Act requires each hospital and health system to annually report to the DPH commissioner on the facility fees it charged or billed the prior year at hospital-based facilities outside a hospital campus. The commissioner must publish the reported information or post a link to the information on OHCA’s website. Each report must include: 1. the name and location of each such facility that the hospital or health system owns or operates and that provides services for which a facility fee is charged or billed; 2. the number of patient visits at each such facility for which it charged or billed a facility fee; 3. the number, total amount, and range of allowable facility fees paid at each facility by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance policies; 4. the amount of the hospital’s or health system’s facility fee revenue from these facilities, per facility and in the aggregate; 5. a description of the 10 procedures or services that generated the most facility fee revenue and, for each such procedure or service, the total revenue derived from these fees; and 6. the top 10 procedures for which facility fees are charged, based on patient volume.

 

Insurance Copayments and Deductibles

Effective October 1, 2015, the Act prohibits health insurers and similar entities that reimburse a hospital, health system, or hospital-based facility for facility fees for outpatient services provided off-site from a hospital campus, from imposing a separate copayment for these fees. If an insured person has not satisfied his or her deductible, the hospital, health system, or hospital-based facility may not collect from the person a facility fee exceeding the agreed-upon reimbursement rate under that contract. These provisions apply to health insurers, HMOs, or other entities delivering, issuing, renewing, amending, or continuing individual or group health insurance policies or health benefit plans on or after January 1, 2016, that cover (1) basic hospital expenses; (2) basic medical-surgical expenses; (3) major medical expenses; and (4) hospital or medical services, including coverage under an HMO plan. The provisions apply to reimbursement agreements under contracts entered, renewed, or amended between these entities and a hospital, health system, or hospital-based facility on or after October 1, 2015. Due to the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), state insurance benefit mandates do not apply to self-insured benefit plans.

 

Providers: Nonemergency Care

Beginning January 1, 2016, Section 3 of this Act requires all licensed health care providers, before any scheduled nonemergency admission, procedure, or service, to determine whether the patient is insured. If the patient is uninsured or the provider is out-of-network, the provider must notify the patient in writing, electronically or by mail, (1) of the charges for the admission, procedure, or service; (2) that the patient may be charged for unforeseen services that may arise, and is responsible for these charges; and (3) that if the provider is out-of-network, the admission, service, or procedure will likely be deemed out-of-network and applicable out-of-network rates may apply. The Act specifies that these provisions do not prevent a provider from charging for unforeseen services.

 

Hospitals: Nonemergency Procedures Listed in Commissioners’ Report.

Under Section 2 of this Act, beginning January 1, 2017, hospitals must notify patients at the time they schedule a nonemergency diagnosis or procedure included in the DPH and insurance commissioners’ report described above (e.g., the 50 most frequent outpatient procedures) of their right to request related cost and quality information. If they request such information, the hospital must provide written notice to patients within three business days after they schedule the diagnosis or procedure. The notice, which may be provided electronically or by mail, must include the following information:(1) for uninsured patients, (a) the amount to be charged if all charges are paid in full without a third party paying any portion, including any facility fee, or (b) if the hospital cannot predict the specific treatment or diagnostic code and is thus unable to provide a specific amount to be charged, the estimated maximum allowed amount or charge, including any facility fee; (2) the Medicare reimbursement amount; (3) for insured patients, the allowed amount, toll-free telephone number, and website of the patient’s health carrier where the patient can obtain information on charges and out-of-pocket costs; (4) The Joint Commission’s composite accountability rating and the Medicare hospital compare star rating for the hospital, as applicable; and (5) the websites for The Joint Commission and the Medicare Hospital Compare tool where the patient may obtain information on the hospital. If the patient is insured and the hospital is out-of-network, the notice must state that the diagnosis or procedure likely will be deemed out-of-network and applicable out-of-network rates may apply.

 

Plain Language on Notices, Bills, and Benefit Statements

The Act requires providers and carriers to ensure that any notice, billing statement, or explanation of benefits they submit to a patient or insured is written in language understandable to an average reader.

 

Disclosure of Allowed Amounts and Related Information

On and after January 1, 2016, the Act (Section 4) prohibits contracts between providers and carriers from restricting the disclosure of (1) billed or allowed amounts, reimbursement rates, or out-of-pocket costs or (2) any data to the state’s all-payer claims database for the purpose of helping consumers and institutional purchasers make informed decisions regarding their health care and informed choices among providers and allow comparisons between prices paid by various carriers to providers.

 

Notice when Provider Stops Accepting Insurer

Section 6 of this Act requires providers to send written notice to the applicable carrier within 30 days after they stop accepting patients enrolled in an insurance plan.

 

Surprise Bills

Pursuant to Sections 9 and 10 of this Act, if an insured receives a surprise bill, the insured will only be required to pay the coinsurance, copayment, deductible, or other out-of-pocket expense that would apply if the services had been rendered by an in-network provider. A health carrier must reimburse an out-of-network provider or insured, as applicable, for the services at the in-network rate under the plan as payment in full, unless the carrier and provider agree otherwise. The Act requires a health carrier to include a description of a surprise bill (1) in the insurance policy, certificate of coverage, or handbook given to a covered person and (2) prominently on its website. Under the Act, a “surprise bill” is a bill for non-emergency health care services received by an insured for services rendered by an out-of-network provider at an in-network facility during a service or procedure that was performed by an in-network provider or previously approved by the health carrier, and the insured did not knowingly elect to receive the services from the out-of-network provider. A bill is not a surprise bill if an in-network provider is available but an insured knowingly elects to receive services from an out-of-network provider.

 

Unfair Billing Practices by Health Care Providers

Effective July 1 2016, the Act (Sections 11 and 12) expands what constitutes an unfair trade practice by a health care provider. Under current law, it is an unfair trade practice for a health care provider to request payment from a managed care plan enrollee for covered services, except for a copayment or deductible. The Act instead makes it an unfair trade practice for a health care provider to request payment from a health care plan enrollee, except for a copayment, deductible, coinsurance, or other out-of-pocket expense, for: 1. covered health care services or facility fees, 2. covered emergency services rendered by an out-of-network provider, or 3. a surprise bill. The Act also makes it an unfair trade practice for a health care provider to report to a credit reporting agency an enrollee’s failure to pay a bill for the above listed items when a health carrier has primary responsibility for paying. Under current law, it is an unfair trade practice to report to a credit reporting agency an enrollee’s failure to pay a bill for medical services that an MCO has primary responsibility for paying. The Act requires contracts between HMOs and participating providers to reflect what constitutes an unfair trade practice, as described above. It also makes technical and conforming changes.

 

Report on Hospital Affiliations

Starting by December 31, 2015, the Act (Section 27) requires each hospital and hospital system to annually file a written report with the attorney general and DPH commissioner describing its affiliation with any other hospital or hospital system. The report must include: (1) the names and addresses of each party to the affiliation; (2) a description of the nature of the relationship among the parties; (3) the names of the business entities that provide services as part of the affiliation, including the addresses for each location where services are provided; (4) a description of the services provided at each location; and (5) the primary service area to be served by each location. Existing law already requires hospitals and hospital systems with affiliated group practices, and unaffiliated group practices of 30 or more physicians, to report annually to the attorney general and DPH commissioner in a similar manner.

 

Hospital and Health System Annual Reporting

Under current law, general and children’s hospitals must annually report certain information to OHCA. Among other things, this includes: (1) salaries and fringe benefits for the 10 highest paid positions and (2) salaries paid to hospital employees by each joint venture, partnership, subsidiary, and corporation related to the hospital. Sections 33 and 40 of this Act require hospitals, on and after July 1, 2015, to also report this information for health system employees. For this purpose, a “health system” is a business entity consisting of a parent corporation of one or more hospitals affiliated through governance, membership, or other means. For general or children’s hospitals that are parties to an ownership transfer approved under the CON law, the Act requires the hospital to report information on financial gain by certain individuals, as part of its annual report to OHCA in the year before the transaction’s approval. The report must include financial gain realized by the hospital’s officers, directors, board members, and senior managers as a result of the transaction. Current law requires all hospitals other than general or children’s hospitals to annually file with OHCA their audited financial statements. The Act allows a health system to submit one report with the audited financial statements for all of its hospitals. For this purpose, a health system is (1) a parent corporation of one or more hospitals and any entity affiliated with that corporation through ownership, governance, membership, or other means, or (2) a hospital and any entity affiliated with the hospital through any such means.

 

CON Exemption for Certain Scanners

Effective July 1, 2015, the Act (Section 39) eliminates the CON requirement to acquire certain types of scanners if they are replacements for scanners previously approved through the CON process. This applies to MRI, CT, PET, and PET/CT scanners.

 

CT SB 1502, June Special Session PA 15-5

An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education and Health and Human Services

 

Comprehensive Newborn Screening Tests Fees

Section 346 of this Act increases the fee that DPH charges hospital for administering newborn screen tests from $56 to $98.

 

Insurance Coverage for Behavioral Health Autism Spectrum Disorders

Section 347: (1) expands certain individual and group health insurance policies’ required coverage of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) services and treatment; (2) expands existing law’s group policy behavioral therapy coverage requirements for people with ASD and also applies it to individual policies; (3) eliminates maximum coverage limits on the Birth-To-Three program; and (4) makes technical and conforming changes. The coverage provisions apply to health insurance policies delivered, issued, renewed, amended, or continued in Connecticut that cover (1) basic hospital expenses, (2) basic medical-surgical expenses, (3) major medical expenses, or (4) hospital or medical services, including those provided through an HMO. Due to the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, state insurance benefit mandates do not apply to self-insured plans.

 

Ambulance Service Rates

Section 367 allows the DPH commissioner to increase the maximum allowable rates she sets for licensed and certified ambulance services, effective on or before July 1, 2015. The Act specifies that this does not otherwise alter the commissioner’s existing statutory rate-setting authority for emergency medical services.

 

Medicaid Reimbursement for Hospitals

Under current law, DSS must base Medicaid rates for acute care hospitals and children’s hospitals on diagnosis-related groups (DRGs). Such a system permits payment based on the severity of each patient’s illness. By law, DSS must annually determine in-patient payments for each hospital by multiplying the DRG relative weights by a base rate. Section 393 of this Act requires DSS to do this within available appropriations.

The Act establishes a four-year timeframe, beginning January 1, 2016, for DSS, within available appropriations and at the commissioner’s discretion, to transition hospital-specific DRG base rates to statewide DRG base rates by peer groups. DSS determines the peer groups, which the Act defines as groups of (1) privately operated acute care hospitals, which the DSS commissioner may subdivide into smaller peer groups at his discretion, (2) publicly operated acute care hospitals, or (3) acute care DPH-licensed children’s hospitals.

HEALTH CARE-CLINICAL

CT HB 5525, PA 15-10
An Act Concerning Cytomegalovirus. Starting January 1, 2016, this Act requires all health care institutions caring for newborn infants to test those who fail a newborn hearing screening for cytomegalovirus (CMV). It requires the testing to be done (1) within available appropriations and (2) as soon as is medically appropriate, unless, as allowed by law, their parents object on religious grounds.

 

CT HB 5913, PA 15-11
An Act Concerning Persons who Decontaminate Reusable Medical Instruments or Devices. This Act generally requires anyone who practices as a central service technician (CST) to pass a national exam and to be certified or have similar credentials. A CST is someone who decontaminates, inspects, assembles, packages, and sterilizes reusable medical instruments or devices in a health care facility whether the person is employed by the facility or provides contracted services. The Act allows those who were employed or contracted for services as a CST in a health care facility before January 1, 2016 to continue to do so without any examination or further credentials. It also exempts certain health-related professions, students, and interns that perform CST tasks or functions from these requirements. The Act requires CSTs and exempted people who have been deemed competent to perform CST functions to annually take 10 hours of continuing education.

 

CT HB 6856, PA 15-198

An Act Concerning Substance Abuse and Opioid Overdose Prevention. This Act makes various changes affecting prescription drugs, drug abuse prevention, and related topics. Among other things, it: (1) requires practitioners, before prescribing more than a 72-hour supply of any controlled substance, to check the patient’s record in the prescription drug monitoring program; (2) requires practitioners to review the patient’s record at least every 90 days if prescribing for prolonged treatment; (3) makes other changes to the prescription drug monitoring program, including exempting opioid agonists in certain situations; (4) allows pharmacists to prescribe opioid antagonists, used to treat drug overdoses, if they receive special training and certification to do so, and expands the existing immunity for all prescribers when prescribing, dispensing, or administering opioid antagonists; (5) requires physicians, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), dentists, and physician assistants (PAs) to take continuing education in prescribing controlled substances and pain management; (6) makes changes to membership and other matters concerning the Connecticut Alcohol and Drug Policy Council; and (7) adds pharmacists to the definition of “healing arts” in the health care center (HMO) statutes.

 

CT HB 6892, PA 15-129
An Act Concerning Hospital Training and Procedures for Patients with Suspected Dementia. This Act requires hospitals to train direct care staff in the symptoms of dementia. This requirement is expected to be incorporated into regularly provided training to staff members who provide direct care to patients.

 

CT HB 6949, PA 15-174

An Act Concerning Childhood Vaccinations. Existing law exempts children from school immunization requirements if the child presents a statement from his or her parents or guardians that the immunization would be contrary to the child’s religious beliefs. This Act additionally exempts children who present a statement that the immunization would be contrary to the parents’ or guardians’ religious beliefs. It requires any such statement to be officially acknowledged by a notary public, Connecticut-licensed attorney, judge, family support magistrate, court clerk or deputy clerk, town clerk, or justice of the peace. Under the Act, the child’s parents or guardians must submit the religious exemption statement annually in order for the child to remain enrolled in a public or private school.

 

CT HB 6987, PA 15-242
An Act Concerning Various Revisions to the Public Health Statutes

Physician Assistant Orders

Section 3 of this Act requires all orders written by a physician assistant to include his or her signature and printed name. (The signature requirement was inadvertently removed by PA 14-231.)

 

Nurses from Other States

Currently, a qualified registered nurse or licensed practical nurse from another state may temporarily care for a patient in Connecticut if he or she receives a temporary DPH permit. Section 6 of this Act allows such temporary care for up to 72 hours without a permit. A permit is still required for temporary care beyond 72 hours. As under current law, the nurse must not represent himself or herself as licensed in Connecticut.

 

Mandated Reporters of Elder Abuse

Section 9 of this Act requires mandated reporters of elder abuse to make the report within 72 hours to the Commissioner of Social Services or his or her designee. This Act also adds certified EMS providers to the list of mandated elder abuse reporters.

 

Clinical Laboratories

Sections 14 and 15 of this Act makes various changes concerning DPH’s disciplinary authority over clinical laboratories. By law, DPH may impose $100 to $300 fines on clinical laboratories for violations of certain laws. The Act specifies that each day a laboratory is out of compliance with the law or regulations is a separate violation for this purpose. Under current law, DPH may suspend or revoke a clinical laboratory’s license if the laboratory commits fraud, engages in fee-splitting inducements or bribes, violates the laws on reporting of medical errors, or violates other provisions of the licensing law. The Act allows DPH to impose its standard range of disciplinary actions, not just license suspension or revocation. These other disciplinary actions may include censure, a letter of reprimand, probation, or a civil penalty. The Act also allows DPH to take disciplinary action for violations of regulations adopted pursuant to the licensing law. It grants to the department similar investigative authority over clinical laboratories as it already has over licensed health care institutions. Thus, the Act allows the commissioner or an authorized agent to conduct any inquiry, investigation, or hearing needed to enforce the laws and regulations on clinical laboratory licensure. She or her agent may issue subpoenas; order the production of books, records or documents; administer oaths; and take testimony under oath. If a person disobeys a subpoena or refuses to answer a pertinent question or produce a requested document, the commissioner or agent may apply to Superior Court (in Hartford or the district where the person lives or the business is conducted) to order compliance.

 

Nuclear Medicine Technologists

Current law specifies that a radiographer license is not required for a nuclear medicine technologist certified by the International Society for Clinical Densitometry or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) if the technologist is operating a bone densitometry system under a licensed physician’s supervision, control, and responsibility. Section 28 of this Act extends this provision to technologists certified by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB).

 

Infectious Disease Notification

Section 51 of this Act changes the definition of infectious disease and airborne infectious disease to make them consistent with federal law and makes changes to how emergency service organizations and hospitals share information about patients and exposure of first responders to infectious disease. It requires each hospital to designate an employee to act as the hospital contact person to notify designated officers of cases where persons have possibly been exposed to airborne infectious disease and to receive and respond to requests from designated officers for information concerning the results of any test performed on a patient to determine the presence of an infectious disease. Hospitals must notify the DPH commissioner or her designee of its contact person no later than January 1, 2016.

 

Dietary orders

Sections 54-56 of this Act expand the capabilities of certified dietitian-nutritionists (CD-N) working in a facility setting to include the ability to write an initial order, including for a therapeutic diet order, and have licensed practical nurses (LPNs), registered nurses (RNs), and physician assistants (PAs) act on the order, as long as the order is later countersigned by a physician within 72 hours.  The expanded capability does not include the ability to administer enteral or parenteral diets, but a CD-N may administer oral diets and write orders for enteral and parenteral diets.

 

Veterans and Medical Education

Section 60 adds veteran-related topics to the list of required continuing medical education (no less than two contact hours are needed beginning January 2016) for the following professions:  alcohol and drug counselors, chiropractors, psychologists, marital and family therapists, professional counselors, social workers, physicians, and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs).

 

Advance Notice of Inspections

Section 18 prohibits advance notice of any inspection (other than initial inspection) by making it a crime for any DPH, Department of Social Services (DSS), or regional ombudsman to inform any healthcare institution, as defined under Section 19a-490, including hospitals.

 

CT SB 258, PA 15-39
An Act Concerning Infant Safe Sleep Practices. This Act requires hospitals, through their maternity programs, to provide newborn infants’ parents or legal guardians with written information on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations for safe sleep practices when the infants are discharged.

 

CT SB 290, PA 15-32
An Act Concerning Patient-Designated Caregivers. This Act requires a hospital, when discharging a patient to his or her home, to: (1) allow the patient to designate a caregiver at, or before, the time the patient receives a written copy of his or her discharge plan; (2) document the designated caregiver in the patient’s discharge plan; (3) attempt to notify the designated caregiver of the patient’s discharge home; and (4) instruct the caregiver on post-discharge tasks with which he or she will assist the patient at home. The Act specifies that it does not create a private right of action against a hospital or its employees, contractors, or consultants. It prohibits these entities and people from being held liable for services a caregiver provides or fails to provide to the patient in his or her home.

 

CT SB 467, PA 15-88
An Act Concerning the Facilitation of Telehealth. This Act establishes requirements for health care providers who provide medical services through the use of telehealth. Among other things, a telehealth provider must obtain a patient’s informed consent, at the first telehealth interaction, to provide telehealth services. The Act also requires certain health insurance policies to cover medical services provided through telehealth to the extent that they cover the services through in-person visits between an insured person and a health care provider.

 

CT SB 811, PA 15-146
An Act Concerning Hospitals, Insurers and Health Care Consumers. This Act includes numerous provisions affecting hospitals and health systems, health care providers, and health carriers. Bill Summary

 

Limits on Facility Fees

By law, a “facility fee” is any fee a hospital or health system charges or bills for outpatient hospital services provided in a hospital-based facility that is (1) intended to compensate the hospital or health system for its operational expenses and (2) separate and distinct from the provider’s professional fee. On and after January 1, 2017, Section 13 of the Act places certain limits on facility fees. It prohibits hospitals, health systems, and hospital-based facilities from collecting a facility fee for outpatient services that (1) use a current procedural terminology evaluation and management code and (2) are provided at a facility, other than a hospital emergency department, that is not on a hospital campus. For uninsured patients, it prohibits hospitals, health systems, or hospital-based facilities from collecting a facility fee for outpatient services, other than those provided in off-site emergency departments, that exceeds the Medicare facility fee rate. A violation is an unfair trade practice. If an insurance contract in effect on July 1, 2016 provides reimbursement for facility fees that are prohibited by these provisions, the hospital or health system may continue to collect reimbursement from insurers for these fees until the contract expires.

 

Billing Statement Notice

Beginning January 1, 2016, the Act requires each billing statement that includes a facility fee to:

(1) clearly identify the fee as a facility fee that is in addition to, or separate from, the provider’s professional fee, if any; (2) provide the comparable Medicare facility fee reimbursement rate for the same service; (3) include a statement that the fee is intended to cover the hospital’s or health system’s operational expenses; (4) inform the patient that his or her financial liability might have been less if the services had been provided at a facility not owned or operated by the hospital or health system; and (5) include notice of the patient’s right to request a reduction in the facility fee or any portion of the bill and a telephone number that the patient may use to make this request. These requirements do not apply to billing statements for Medicare or Medicaid patients or those receiving services under a workers’ compensation plan.

 

Patient Notification of Affiliated Providers

Section 15 of this Act requires health care providers to notify patients when they refer them to an affiliated provider. The notification must be in writing and (1) inform them that they are not required to see the affiliated provider and they have the right to seek care from the provider of their choice and (2) provide them with the web site and toll-free telephone number of their health carrier to obtain information regarding in-network health care providers and estimated out-of-pocket costs for the referred services. The Act applies to providers referring patients to another provider with whom they are affiliated but who is not a member of the same partnership, professional corporation, or limited liability company as the original referring provider. The Act exempts healthcare providers who provide a substantially similar notice pursuant to federal law. The Act specifies that “affiliated” means a relationship between two or more health care providers that permits them to negotiate, jointly or as a member of the same health care provider group, with third parties over rates for professional medical services.

 

Providers: Nonemergency Care

Beginning January 1, 2016, Section 3 of this Act requires all licensed health care providers, before any scheduled nonemergency admission, procedure, or service, to determine whether the patient is insured. If the patient is uninsured or the provider is out-of-network, the provider must notify the patient in writing, electronically or by mail, (1) of the charges for the admission, procedure, or service; (2) that the patient may be charged for unforeseen services that may arise, and is responsible for these charges; and (3) that if the provider is out-of-network, the admission, service, or procedure will likely be deemed out-of-network and applicable out-of-network rates may apply. The Act specifies that these provisions do not prevent a provider from charging for unforeseen services.

 

Hospitals: Nonemergency Procedures Listed in Commissioners’ Report.

Under Section 2 of this Act, beginning January 1, 2017, hospitals must notify patients at the time they schedule a nonemergency diagnosis or procedure included in the DPH and insurance commissioners’ report described above (e.g., the 50 most frequent outpatient procedures) of their right to request related cost and quality information. If they request such information, the hospital must provide written notice to patients within three business days after they schedule the diagnosis or procedure. The notice, which may be provided electronically or by mail, must include the following information:(1) for uninsured patients, (a) the amount to be charged if all charges are paid in full without a third party paying any portion, including any facility fee, or (b) if the hospital cannot predict the specific treatment or diagnostic code and is thus unable to provide a specific amount to be charged, the estimated maximum allowed amount or charge, including any facility fee; (2) the Medicare reimbursement amount; (3) for insured patients, the allowed amount, toll-free telephone number, and website of the patient’s health carrier where the patient can obtain information on charges and out-of-pocket costs; (4) The Joint Commission’s composite accountability rating and the Medicare hospital compare star rating for the hospital, as applicable; and (5) the websites for The Joint Commission and the Medicare Hospital Compare tool where the patient may obtain information on the hospital. If the patient is insured and the hospital is out-of-network, the notice must state that the diagnosis or procedure likely will be deemed out-of-network and applicable out-of-network rates may apply.

 

Plain Language on Notices, Bills, and Benefit Statements

The Act requires providers and carriers to ensure that any notice, billing statement, or explanation of benefits they submit to a patient or insured is written in language understandable to an average reader.

 

Health Information Access and Blocking

Effective October 1, 2015, the Act (Section 20) provides that electronic health records, to the fullest extent practicable, must (1) follow and be accessible to the patient and (2) be shared and exchanged in a timely manner with providers of the patient’s choice. The Act makes “health information blocking” an unfair trade practice, and specifies that a hospital, health system, or seller of electronic health record systems that engages in health information blocking is subject to civil penalties under the unfair trade practices law. It defines health information blocking as knowingly: 1. interfering with, or engaging in business practices or other conduct reasonably likely to interfere with, the ability of patients, providers, or other authorized persons to access, exchange, or use electronic health records or 2. using an electronic health record system to both (a) steer patient referrals to affiliated providers and (b) prevent or unreasonably interfere with referrals to non-affiliated providers.

 

Health information blocking does not include legitimate referrals between providers participating in an accountable care organization or similar value-based collaborative care model. For this purpose, an affiliated provider is one that is: (1) employed by a hospital or health system, (2) under a professional services agreement with a hospital or health system that allows the hospital or health system to bill on the provider’s behalf, or (3) a clinical faculty member of a medical school that is affiliated with a hospital or health system in a manner that allows the hospital or health system to bill on the faculty member’s behalf. A seller of electronic health records systems is any person or entity that directly, or indirectly through an employee, agent, independent contractor, vendor, or other person, sells, leases, or offers to sell or lease such a system or a license or right to use such a system. The Act also makes it an unfair trade practice for a seller of an electronic health record system to make a false, misleading, or deceptive representation that such a system is certified by the federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. In addition, the Act provides that (1) the attorney general must enforce these provisions and (2) these provisions must not be construed as limiting the power or authority of the state, the attorney general, or the consumer protection commissioner to seek administrative, legal, or equitable relief as provided by any state statute or the common law.

 

CT SB 855, PA 15-91
An Act Concerning Reports of Nurse Staffing Levels. This Act requires hospitals to report annually to the Department of Public Health (DPH) on their prospective nurse staffing plans, rather than make the plans available to DPH upon request. It expands, in two stages, the information that must be included in the plans, such as the (1) ratio of patients to certain nursing staff and (2) differences between the prospective staffing levels and actual levels. The Act requires the DPH commissioner to annually report, beginning January 1, 2016, to the Public Health Committee on hospital compliance with staffing plan reporting requirements and recommendations for any additional reporting requirements.

 

Workplace Violence Incident Reports. This Act also requires certain health care employers to annually report to DPH, rather than report upon the department’s request, on the number of workplace violence incidents occurring on the employer’s premises and the specific area or department where they occurred. The first report is due January 1, 2016, and the reports must cover incidents occurring the prior year.

 

CT SB 856, PA 15-34
An Act Concerning Language Interpreters in Hospitals. Effective October 1, 2015, this Act requires acute care hospitals to ensure that interpreter services are available to patients whose primary language is spoken by at least 5% of the population residing in the hospital’s geographic service area. Current law requires hospitals to do so only to the extent possible.

 

CT SB 1502, June Special Session PA 15-5

An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education and Health and Human Services

 

Newborn Screening

Section 346 of this Act increases the fee that DPH charges hospital for administering newborn screen tests from $56 to $98.

 

Section 506 requires the commissioner of DPH to execute an agreement with the New York State DPH to conduct a screening test for newborns for adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) as well as the development of a quality testing methodology for such test. There are approximately 40,000 newborns annually in Connecticut who would require testing. The cost would be dependent on the terms of the agreement between DPH and the New York State DPH.

 

Insurance Coverage for Behavioral Health Autism Spectrum Disorders

Section 347: (1) expands certain individual and group health insurance policies’ required coverage of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) services and treatment; (2) expands existing law’s group policy behavioral therapy coverage requirements for people with ASD and also applies it to individual policies; (3) eliminates maximum coverage limits on the Birth-To-Three program; and (4) makes technical and conforming changes. The coverage provisions apply to health insurance policies delivered, issued, renewed, amended, or continued in Connecticut that cover (1) basic hospital expenses, (2) basic medical-surgical expenses, (3) major medical expenses, or (4) hospital or medical services, including those provided through an HMO. Due to the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, state insurance benefit mandates do not apply to self-insured plans.

 

Genetic counselors

Subject to certain exemptions, sections 360-364 of this Act require anyone practicing genetic counseling to be licensed by DPH. The licensure application fee is $315 and licenses may be renewed annually for $190. The Act establishes licensure qualifications, application and renewal processes, and grounds for disciplinary action. It allows DPH to issue nonrenewable temporary permits under certain conditions. It also allows the commissioner to adopt regulations to implement genetic counselor licensing and specifies that no new regulatory board is established for genetic counselors. Under the Act, “genetic counseling” means providing services that address the physical and psychological issues associated with the occurrence or risk of a genetic disorder, birth defect, or genetically influenced condition or disease in an individual or family.

 

Interpreters for State Agencies

Section 425 of this Act requires state agencies unable to meet a request for deaf or hard of hearing interpreter services with their own staff to ask the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) to provide the services before requesting them from elsewhere. The Act allows a state agency to seek interpreting services elsewhere if (1) DORS cannot fulfill the agency’s request within two business days or (2) the agency shows good cause that it needs such services immediately. The Act applies to any office, department, board, council, commission, institution, or other executive or legislative branch agency. The Act exempts DORS from its requirements if the department needs interpreting services related to an internal matter and the use of department interpreters may raise confidentiality issues. The Act does not affect preexisting interpreting services contracts.

 

 

 

HEALTH CARE-DENTISTRY

CT HB 6937, PA 15-163
An Act Concerning the Department of Public Health’s Recommendations Regarding the Definitions of Sedation and General Anesthesia. This Act updates the statutory definitions of sedation and general anesthesia related to dentistry to reflect industry standards by: (1) eliminating the definition of “conscious sedation” in the dentistry statutes and replacing it with new definitions for “minimal sedation,” “moderate sedation,” and “deep sedation;” (2) updating the definition of “general anesthesia;” (3) extending to dentists using moderate or deep sedation existing permitting requirements for the use of general anesthesia; and (4) exempting dentists using minimal sedation from these permitting requirements. The Act authorizes the state Dental Commission to take disciplinary action against a dentist permitted to use moderate or deep sedation for failing to successfully complete an on-site evaluation of his or her office. Among other things, this includes license revocation or suspension; censure; a letter of reprimand; or a civil penalty. (The commission may already take these actions for general anesthesia permit holders who fail to complete the evaluation).

 

CT SB 1502, June Special Session PA 15-5

An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education and Health and Human Services

 

Reporting of Impaired Health Care Professionals

By law, physicians, physician assistants, and hospitals must notify the DPH if a physician or physician’s assistant is or may be unable to practice with skill and safety due to impairment. The law also establishes procedures for DPH to follow when it receives such notice. Under sections 470-480, the Act expands the reporting requirement to cover all licensed or permitted health care professionals. It establishes similar (1) requirements for hospitals and other licensed or permitted health care professionals to report to DPH suspected impairment that may limit a person’s ability to practice with skill and safety and (2) procedures for DPH to follow when it receives such notice. Under certain circumstances, the Act allows a health care professional or hospital to satisfy the Act’s reporting requirements by referring the impaired health care professional for intervention to the professional assistance program for DPH-regulated professionals (currently, the Health Assistance InterVention Education Network (HAVEN)). PA 15-244, § 137 establishes a professional assistance program account as a separate, nonlapsing account in the General Fund to hold any money that the law requires to be deposited in it effective July 1, 2015. The DPH commissioner must pay the account’s funds to the HAVEN program to provide various services (e.g., rehabilitation, intervention, and education, among others) to impaired health care professionals. But for FY 16 and FY 17, the Act requires up to $400,001 and $586,272, of the account’s funds, respectively, to be available to DPH to implement the expanded requirements for reporting impaired health care professionals described above, effective October 1, 2015. The commissioner must then pay any account balance to the HAVEN program.

 

Medicaid Coverage for Orthodontic Services

Section 390 of the Act requires that orthodontic services must be covered for a Medicaid recipient under age 21 when the Salzmann Handicapping Malocclusion Index (SHMI) indicates that the recipient’s correct assessment score is 26 points or greater, subject to prior authorization. The SHMI measures malocclusion (teeth misalignment) by using weighted measurements of various factors, such as tooth spacing, overbite, and missing teeth. If a recipient’s SHMI score is less than 26 points, DSS must consider additional substantive information when determining the recipient’s need for orthodontic services.

 

Interpreters for State Agencies

Section 425 of this Act requires state agencies unable to meet a request for deaf or hard of hearing interpreter services with their own staff to ask the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) to provide the services before requesting them from elsewhere. The Act allows a state agency to seek interpreting services elsewhere if (1) DORS cannot fulfill the agency’s request within two business days or (2) the agency shows good cause that it needs such services immediately. The Act applies to any office, department, board, council, commission, institution, or other executive or legislative branch agency. The Act exempts DORS from its requirements if the department needs interpreting services related to an internal matter and the use of department interpreters may raise confidentiality issues. The Act does not affect preexisting interpreting services contracts.

HEALTH CARE-MEDICAL STAFF

CT HB 6987, PA 15-242
An Act Concerning Various Revisions to the Public Health Statutes

Healthcare Licensing and Disciplinary Actions

Sections 16 and 17 allow the Department of Public Health to deny a permit, license, certification, or registration that was previously voluntarily surrendered, or not renewed or reinstated by agreement, and clarifies that professional discipline by a federal agency may result in state disciplinary action.

 

CT SB 1502, June Special Session PA 15-5

An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education and Health and Human Services

 

Reporting of Impaired Health Care Professionals

By law, physicians, physician assistants, and hospitals must notify the DPH if a physician or physician’s assistant is or may be unable to practice with skill and safety due to impairment. The law also establishes procedures for DPH to follow when it receives such notice. In sections 479-480, this Act expands the reporting requirement to cover all licensed or permitted health care professionals. It establishes similar (1) requirements for hospitals and other licensed or permitted health care professionals to report to DPH suspected impairment that may limit a person’s ability to practice with skill and safety and (2) procedures for DPH to follow when it receives such notice. Under certain circumstances, the Act allows a health care professional or hospital to satisfy the Act’s reporting requirements by referring the impaired health care professional for intervention to the professional assistance program for DPH-regulated professionals (currently, the Health Assistance InterVention Education Network (HAVEN)). PA 15-244, § 137 establishes a professional assistance program account as a separate, nonlapsing account in the General Fund to hold any money that the law requires to be deposited in it effective July 1, 2015. The DPH commissioner must pay the account’s funds to the HAVEN program to provide various services (e.g., rehabilitation, intervention, and education, among others) to impaired health care professionals. But for FY 16 and FY 17, the Act requires up to $400,001 and $586,272, of the account’s funds, respectively, to be available to DPH to implement the expanded requirements for reporting impaired health care professionals described above, effective October 1, 2015. The commissioner must then pay any account balance to the HAVEN program.

 

CT HB 7061, PA 15-244
An Act Concerning the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017, and Making Appropriations therefor, and other Provisions Related to Revenue, Deficiency Appropriations and Tax Fairness and Economic Development.

 

Professional Assistance Program Account

Section 137 of this Act creates an account to be known as the “professional assistance program account” which shall be a separate, nonlapsing account within the General Fund. The account shall contain any moneys required by law to be deposited in the account. Moneys in the account shall be paid by the Commissioner of Public Health to the assistance program for health care professionals established pursuant to section 19a-12a of the general statutes for the provision of education, prevention, intervention, referral assistance, rehabilitation or support services to health care professionals who have a chemical dependency, emotional or behavioral disorder or physical or mental illness.

HEALTH CARE-STUDIES

CT HB 5903 PA 15-203
An Act Concerning a Study of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. This Act requires the public health (DPH) commissioner to study chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). She must do so in consultation with the social services commissioner and representatives of (1) the Connecticut Hospital Association and (2) any other national patient organization with expertise in COPD. The Act requires her to report on the study’s results to the Public Health Committee by February 1, 2016. The Act also requires the DPH commissioner to post certain information about COPD on the department’s website. This includes information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other information that she believes may help people with COPD in talking with their health care providers about the disease.
CT HB 6987, PA 15-242
An Act Concerning Various Revisions to the Public Health Statutes

 

Licensure or Certification for Behavior Analysts

Section 32 requires the Departments of Health and Education to study licensure or certification for behavior analysts.

 

Childhood Nutrition

Section 34 establishes a task force to study childhood nutrition.

 

Rare Diseases

Section 35 requires the establishment of a task force to study rare diseases and make recommendations for the establishment of a permanent group of experts to advise DPH.

 

CT SB 287, PA 15-40
An Act Concerning a Study of Alternative Funding Sources for Nutritional Services for Senior Citizens. This Act requires the departments of Aging and Social Services, together with certain nutrition stakeholders, to study alternative sources of funding for nutrition services programs and report their findings and recommendations to the Aging Committee by July 1, 2016.

 

CT HB 841, PA 15-27

An Act Concerning the Implementation of a Comprehensive Children’s Mental, and Emotional and Behavioral Health Plan. This Act establishes a 34-member Children’s Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Health Plan Implementation Advisory Board.

 

CT SB 864, SA 15-5

An Act Requiring a Study of the use of Medicaid to Cover the Cost of Health Insurance for College Students. This Act requires the Department of Social Services, in collaboration with the Board of Regents for Higher Education and the University of Connecticut, to study the effectiveness of requiring state Medicaid to pay the cost of premiums for health insurance sponsored by a constituent unit and provide supplemental health insurance coverage for students enrolled in a constituent unit who are (1) not covered by any other health insurance plan, and (2) eligible for state Medicaid benefits.

 

CT SB 1502, June Special Session PA 15-5

An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education and Health and Human Services

 

DMHAS Psychiatric Services Study

Section 356 of this Act requires the DMHAS commissioner to study the current adequacy of psychiatric services. She must do so in consultation with the children and families (DCF) and social services (DSS) commissioners and behavioral health providers, including hospitals and advocacy agencies. The study must include: (1) a determination of how many short-term, intermediate, and long-term psychiatric beds are needed in each region of the state; (2) the average wait times for each type of bed; (3) the impact of wait times on people needing inpatient psychiatric services, their families, and providers of this type of care; (4) identification of public and private funding sources to maintain the necessary number of beds; (5) access to outpatient services, including wait times for initial appointments; (6) available housing options; and (7) access to alternatives to hospitalization, including peer-operated respite programs. The DMHAS commissioner must report on this study to the Appropriations, Human Services, and Public Health committees by January 1, 2017. The report must include recommendations on: (1) expanding utilization criteria to increase access to acute, inpatient psychiatric services statewide; (2) increasing the number of available long-term, inpatient hospital beds for people with recurring needs for inpatient behavioral health services; (3) funding to increase the number of psychiatric beds; (4) placing additional psychiatric beds in health care facilities throughout the state; and (5) funding to increase alternatives to hospitalization, including access to outpatient services, housing, and peer-operated respite programs.

 

Community-Based Health Services Study.

Section 359 requires the DSS and DPH commissioners to study the effectiveness of providing community-based health care services in the state. They must submit a preliminary report on the study by February 1, 2016, and a final report by June 1, 2016, to the Human Services and Public Health committees.

HEALTH INSURANCE

Please see bills under the topic Health Care –Administration and Finance for additional legislation passed that impacts health insurance coverage for health care and related services.

 

CT HB 6736, PA 15-122

An Act Extending to Optometrists the Prohibition on the Setting of Payments by Health Insurers and Other Entities for Noncovered Benefits. This Act prohibits a provider contract between an insurer and a licensed optometrist entered into, renewed, or amended on or after January 1, 2016 from requiring the optometrist to accept as payment an amount the insurer sets for services or procedures that are not covered benefits under an insurance policy or benefit plan.

 

CT HB 6868, PA 15-171
An Act Concerning the Connecticut Insurance Guaranty Associations. This Act makes changes in the laws governing the Connecticut Insurance Guaranty Association (CIGA) and the Connecticut Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association (CLHIGA). CIGA and CLHIGA pay certain insurance claims when an insurer becomes insolvent and is no longer able to meet its obligations.
An Act Concerning Conferences Between Health Carriers’ Clinical Peers and Health Care Professionals. This Act requires, rather than allows, health carriers (e.g., insurers or HMOs), after notifying a covered person or his or her authorized representative or health care professional of certain initial adverse determinations, to offer the health care professional the opportunity to confer with the health carrier’s clinical peer. As under current law, they must do so provided the covered person, representative, or health care professional does not file a grievance of the adverse determination prior to the conference. The Act requires health carriers to offer the conference on the request of the health care professional.

 

CT SB 811, PA 15-146
An Act Concerning Hospitals, Insurers and Health Care Consumers.

 

Disclosure of Allowed Amounts and Related Information

On and after January 1, 2016, the Act (Section 4) prohibits contracts between providers and carriers from restricting the disclosure of (1) billed or allowed amounts, reimbursement rates, or out-of-pocket costs or (2) any data to the state’s all-payer claims database for the purpose of helping consumers and institutional purchasers make informed decisions regarding their health care and informed choices among providers and allow comparisons between prices paid by various carriers to providers.

 

Notice when Provider Stops Accepting Insurer

Section 6 of this Act requires providers to send written notice to the applicable carrier within 30 days after they stop accepting patients enrolled in an insurance plan.

 

CT SB 864, SA 15-5
An Act Requiring a Study of the use of Medicaid to Cover the Cost of Health Insurance for College Students. This Act requires the Department of Social Services, with the Board of Regents for Higher Education and the University of Connecticut, to study the effectiveness of requiring state Medicaid to pay the cost of premiums for health insurance sponsored by a constituent unit, provide supplemental health insurance coverage for students enrolled in a constituent unit who are (1) not covered by any other health insurance plan, and (2) eligible for state Medicaid benefits. Not later than January 1, 2016, the department shall report on such study to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to higher education and human services.

 

CT SB 1023, PA 15-247
An Act Concerning Revisions to the Health Insurance Statutes. This Act makes numerous changes in the insurance statutes. It requires health insurers to file small employer group health insurance premium rates with the insurance commissioner and prohibits them from issuing or delivering policies or certificates in Connecticut to small employers unless the commissioner approves the rates (§7). By law, the commissioner already must review and approve rates for individual health insurance policies, HMO contracts, and hospital and medical service corporation contracts. The Act requires insurers, HMOs, and hospital and medical service corporations to include in their rate filings an actuarial memorandum, including pricing assumptions, claims experience, and premium rates and loss ratios from the policy’s or contract’s inception (§§ 1, 3, 5, & 7). It defines “loss ratio” as the ratio of incurred claims to earned premiums by the number of years of policy duration for all combined durations. The Act also prohibits individual and group health insurance policies from reducing a person’s coverage because he or she is eligible for Medicare due to age, disability, or end-stage renal disease (§§ 6 & 23). It allows a coverage reduction when a person is actually enrolled in Medicare, but only to the extent Medicare provides coverage. Current law prohibits group health insurance policies issued to employers with (1) fewer than 20 employees from reducing coverage when a person, because of age, is eligible for but not enrolled in Medicare and (2) 20 or more employees from discriminating against a person in terms of benefits because he or she turned age 65. Additionally, the Act makes numerous changes in the insurance statutes to conform state law to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148, as amended). It redefines “small employer” to mean, as of January 1, 2016, an employer with between one and 100 employees, not including a sole proprietor (§ 17). Current law defines it as an employer with one to 50 employees, including a self-employed person. The Act allows the commissioner to postpone the January 1, 2016 date if the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary postpones the change in definition under the ACA.

 

CT SB 1085, PA 15-226

An Act Concerning Health Insurance for Mental or Nervous Conditions. This bill expands the services certain health insurance policies must cover for mental and nervous conditions. By law, a policy must cover the diagnosis and treatment of mental or nervous conditions on the same basis as medical, surgical, or other physical conditions (i.e., parity).

HIGHER EDUCATION

CT HB 6117, SA 15-18

An Act Concerning the Use of Digital Open-Source Textbooks in Higher Education. The Act requires the Board of Regents for Higher Education and the University of Connecticut to each establish an open-source textbook pilot program to (1) assess the use of high-quality digital open-source textbooks, and (2) promote the use of and access to open-source textbooks within their respective constituent units. It also requires a report and establishes a task force to study best practices with regard to open educational resources. The task force includes the president and the chief academic officer from UConn.

 

CT HB 6118, PA 15-78

An Act Concerning Student Membership on the Board of Trustees for the University of Connecticut. This Act increases the number of UConn Board of Trustee members from 21 to 23 by adding two more student trustees to be elected by the student body. Thus, under the Act, the board will have a total of four student trustees, two undergraduate students and two graduate students. VETOED by the GOVERNOR

 

CT HB 6671, PA 15-18
An Act Concerning the Legislative Commissioners’ Recommendations for Technical and Minor Revisions to the Government Administration Statutes. This Act adds the Connecticut Student Loan Foundation to the list of entities classified as a quasi-public agency.

 

CT HB 6695, PA 15-63

An Act Concerning Revisions to the Higher Education Statutes. This Act makes technical changes to the education and higher education statutes.

 

CT HB 6812, PA 15-228
An Act Concerning Faculty Representation on the Committees and Subcommittees of the Board of Regents for Higher Education. This Act allows the chairperson and vice-chairperson of the Board of Regents for Higher Education’s (BOR) faculty advisory committee (FAC), who serve as nonvoting, ex-officio members of BOR, to attend BOR executive sessions at the BOR chairperson’s invitation. Current law excludes them from all executive sessions.

CT HB 6844, PA 15-82
An Act Concerning In-State Tuition Eligibility. This Act reduces, from four years to two, the number of years of high school education that certain students must complete in Connecticut to receive in-state tuition benefits at the state’s public higher education institutions. The Act also extends in-state tuition eligibility to nonimmigrant aliens who, as specified in federal law, (1) are human trafficking victims or (2) have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of certain criminal activity (8 USC § 1101(a)(15)(T-U)). Such individuals must meet certain requirements outlined in the Act. Under current law, no nonimmigrant aliens are eligible for in-state tuition. (A nonimmigrant alien is a person with a visa permitting temporary entrance to the U.S. for a specific purpose.)

 

CT HB 6907, PA 15-200

An Act Concerning the Duties and Authorities of the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority. This Act requires the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHESLA) to make a report to the legislative committees on higher education and banking about certain aspects of its lending practices and the interest rates it charges.

 

CT HB 6915, PA 15-162
An Act Concerning a Student Loan Bill of Rights. This Act creates a new student loan ombudsman position in the Banking Department, establishes the ombudsman’s duties, and requires the implementation and maintenance of a student loan borrower’s education course. The Act requires that the above be provided within available appropriations.

 

CT HB 6919, SA 15-20

An Act Establishing a Task Force Concerning Outcomes-Based Financing. This Act establishes a task force to develop a strategic outcomes-based plan for financing higher education that shall be aligned with the goals and benchmarks for higher education recommended by the Planning Commission for Higher Education. Among others, the membership of the task force from UConn includes the president, the chief academic officer, and the chairperson of the Board of Trustees, or their designees, and a faculty member.

 

CT HB 6959, SA 15-9
An Act Establishing a Task Force to Develop a Pilot Earn and Learn Program. This Act establishes a task force to develop a pilot earn and learn program. The task force includes the chief academic officer from UConn.

 

CT HB 6987, PA 15-242
An Act Concerning Various Revisions to the Public Health Statutes.

Ophthalmic Science Education Programs

Section 26 clarifies that students enrolled in certain ophthalmic science education programs are not required to have a DPH-issued permit.

 

CT HB 7007, PA 15-75
An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Planning Commission for Higher Education. This Act corrects a number of statutory changes that were enacted during the 2011 higher education consolidation that inadvertently gave the Board of Regents authority over the University of Connecticut. The Act also requires the state, the Board of Regents of Higher Education, and the UConn Board of Trustees to align their higher education policies with the goals of the Planning Commission for Higher Education’s strategic master plan for higher education. These goals aim to: increase the state’s adult population education levels, develop a globally competitive workforce and economy in the state, and ensure higher education affordability.

 

CT HB 7061, PA 15-244
An Act Concerning the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017, and Making Appropriations therefor, and other Provisions Related to Revenue, Deficiency Appropriations and Tax Fairness and Economic Development.

Administrative Caps

Section 49 provides for caps on administrative costs at the constituent units of higher education. For UConn, for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2016, and June 30, 2017, expenditures for institutional administration, defined as system office, executive management, fiscal operations and general administration, exclusive of expenditures for logistical services, administrative computing and development, shall not exceed 3.35% of the annual General Fund appropriation and operating fund expenditures, exclusive of capital bond and fringe benefit funds.

 

CT SB 319, PA 15-138
An Act Concerning Financial Literacy Education. This Act broadens the topics that must be included in the financial literacy instruction plan that, by law, the Department of Education, Board of Regents for Higher Education, and UConn Board of Trustees may develop. It must include: banking, investing, savings, and the handling of personal finance matters.

 

CT SB 393 PA 15-231
An Act Requiring a Report Concerning Institutional Financial Aid from the University of Connecticut and the Board of Regents for Higher Education. This Act requires UConn and the Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR), annually beginning by November 1, 2015, to report to the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee on how they awarded institutional financial aid to undergraduates in the previous academic year. At a minimum, the report must describe, separately for in-state and out-of-state students, the aggregate amount of institutional (1) financial aid available, (2) need-based financial aid awarded, and (3) merit-based financial aid awarded. Generally, institutional financial aid consists of aid originating from the institution and excludes federal or state financial aid awarded to students.

 

CT SB 399, PA-15-2
An Act Concerning Reporting Requirements of the University of Connecticut and the Board of Regents for Higher Education Regarding Financial Aid and Requiring Legislative Approval for the Closure of Certain College Campuses and Manufacturing Programs. This Act prohibits the Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR) from doing the following without the General Assembly’s approval: (1) closing, authorizing the closure of, or proceeding with any closure of any campus of Middlesex Community College or any other campus of any other public higher education institution under BOR’s jurisdiction or (2) suspending, authorizing the suspension of, or proceeding with any suspension of any manufacturing program offered by Middlesex Community College or any other manufacturing program offered by any other public higher education institution under BOR’s jurisdiction. The Act also requires the University of Connecticut and BOR, by November 1, 2015 and annually thereafter, to report to the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee on the institutional financial aid awarded to undergraduate students during the previous academic year. In general, institutional financial aid consists of aid originating from the institution and excludes federal or state financial aid awarded to students. VETOED by the GOVERNOR

(Note: financial aid reporting requirements were passed in SB 393, summarized above.)

 

CT SB 445, SA 15-11
An Act Concerning a Plan for the Connecticorps Program. The Act requires the Labor Department, in consultation with the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Board of Regents for Higher Education, and the University of Connecticut, to develop a plan to establish a program to capitalize on the skills of college students in the state to improve Connecticut’s quality of life.

 

CT SB 694 SA 15-1
An Act Concerning Services Available to Veterans on State College and University Campuses. This Act requires the Board of Regents for Higher Education and the Board of Trustees for the University of Connecticut to conduct a study to (1) evaluate and assess programming at Operation Academic Support for Incoming Service Members centers at public institutions of higher education; and (2) identify successful programming at such centers. Not later than January 15, 2016, the boards shall report the results of the study including any recommendations as to enhancing services at all such centers in the state, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to veterans and military affairs and higher education.

 

CT SB 859, PA 15-111
An Act Concerning Program Approval for Independent Institutions of Higher Education.
This Act gives independent institutions of higher education the authority to approve their ownacademic programs. VETOED by the GOVERNOR

 

CT SB 864, SA 15-5

An Act Requiring a Study of the use of Medicaid to Cover the Cost of Health Insurance for College Students. This Act requires the Department of Social Services, in collaboration with the Board of Regents for Higher Education and the University of Connecticut, to study the effectiveness of requiring state Medicaid to pay the cost of premiums for health insurance sponsored by a constituent unit and provide supplemental health insurance coverage for students enrolled in a constituent unit who are (1) not covered by any other health insurance plan, and (2) eligible for state Medicaid benefits.

 

CT SB 898, PA 15-37
An Act Concerning Professional Doctoral Degree Programs. This Act (1) grants special responsibility to the CSUS Board of Trustees to operate professional doctoral degree programs and (2) grants exclusive responsibility to the UConn Board of Trustees to operate programs leading to research doctoral, doctor of medicine, doctor of dental medicine, and juris doctor degrees. The Act removes from the UConn Board of Trustees the exclusive responsibility to operate post-baccalaureate professional degree programs.

 

CT SB 966, PA 15-16
An Act Concerning Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners at Institutions of Higher Education. This Act allows sexual assault forensic examiners (SAFEs) to treat sexual assault victims who are patients in a health care facility operated by a higher education institution. The health care facility must be: (1) licensed by the Department of Public Health (DPH) as an infirmary operated by an educational institution as an outpatient clinic and (2) accredited by the Joint Commission or the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. The Act also requires SAFE services to be: (1) aligned with the policies and accreditation standards of the respective health care facility and (2) pursuant to a written agreement between the health care facility and (a) DPH and (b) the Office of Victim Services, about the facility’s participation in the SAFE program.
CT SB 1091, PA 15-248

An Act Concerning the Board of Regents for Higher Education. This Act staggers the terms of student advisory committee members for the Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR). Under current law, this committee consists of one student from each institution in the Connecticut State University System (CSUS) (four total), one from each regional community-technical college (CTC) (12 total), and one member from Charter Oak State College. Each member serves two years.

 

HUMAN RESOURCES

CT HB 6850, PA 15-196
An Act Concerning Pay Equity and Fairness. This Act prohibits employers, including the state and municipalities, from taking certain steps to limit their employees’ ability to share information about their wages. Under the Act, such sharing consists of employees under the same employer (1) disclosing or discussing the amount of their own wages or other employees’ voluntarily disclosed wages or (2) asking about other employees’ wages. Specifically, the Act bans employers from (1) prohibiting their employees from such sharing; (2) requiring employees to sign a waiver or document that denies their right to such sharing; and (3) discharging, disciplining, discriminating or retaliating against, or otherwise penalizing employees for such sharing. The Act allows employees to bring a lawsuit to redress a violation of its provisions in any court of competent jurisdiction. The suit must be brought within two years after an alleged violation. Employers can be found liable for compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and costs, punitive damages, and any legal and equitable relief the court deems just and proper.
An Act Concerning Employee Online Privacy. This Act generally prohibits employers from requesting or requiring an employee or job applicant to (1) provide the employer with a user name, password, or other way to access the employee’s or applicant’s personal online account; (2) authenticate or access such an account in front of the employer; or (3) invite, or accept an invitation from, the employer to join a group affiliated with such an account. It bars employers from: (1) firing, disciplining, or otherwise retaliating against an employee who (a) refuses to provide this access or (b) files a complaint with a public or private body or court about the employer’s request for access or retaliation for refusing such access or (2) refusing to hire an applicant because the applicant would not provide access to his or her personal online account. Under the Act, a “personal online account” is an online account the employee or applicant uses exclusively for personal purposes unrelated to any of the employer’s business purposes, including e-mail, social media, and retail-based Internet web sites. It does not include any account created, maintained, used, or accessed by an employee or applicant for the employer’s business purposes. The Act provides exceptions for accounts and devices the employer provides and certain types of investigations. Covered employers include the state and its political subdivisions, but the Act does not apply to a state or local law enforcement agency conducting a pre-employment investigation of law enforcement personnel. The Act allows employees and applicants to file a complaint with the labor commissioner, who can impose civil penalties on employers of up to $25 for initial violations against job applicants and $500 for initial violations against employees. Penalties for subsequent violations can be up to $500 for violations against applicants and up to $1,000 for violations against employees.

 

CT SB 428, PA 15-56
An Act Protecting Interns from Workplace Harassment and Discrimination. This Act prohibits an employer including the state from discriminating against or sexually harassing interns, thus giving interns protections similar to those of paid employees. It defines an “intern” as a person working for an employer (1) who is not paid by the employer, (2) who the employer has not committed to hiring, and (3) where the internship designed the internship to supplement training that may enhance the intern’s employability. The Act makes a violation of its provisions a “discriminatory practice” under state human rights law, which means one may file complaints of alleged violation with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and pursue civil action in Superior Court.

 

CT SB 855, PA 15-91
An Act Concerning Reports of Nurse Staffing Levels

Workplace Violence Incident Reports. Section 2 of this Act requires certain health care employers to annually report to DPH, rather than report upon the department’s request, on the number of workplace violence incidents occurring on the employer’s premises and the specific area or department where they occurred. The first report is due January 1, 2016, and the reports must cover incidents occurring the prior year.

 

CT SB 1502, June Special Session PA 15-5

An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education and Health and Human Services

 

UConn Graduate Assistants Health Care

Sections 416-417 of this Act permit the UConn Board of Trustees to provide health care coverage for UConn graduate assistants (GAs), graduate fellows, postdoctoral trainees, and certain graduate students through the partnership plan, provided the university pays all related premiums and expenses. The partnership plan is the state-administered health insurance plan for non-state public or nonprofit employers. The Act prohibits UConn from charging premiums and expenses to the General Fund. Specifically the Act permits the following to be enrolled in the partnership plan: (1) UConn or the UConn Health Center graduate assistants, postdoctoral trainees, and graduate fellows; and (2) UConn graduate students participating in university-funded internships as part of their graduate program.

 

Workers’ Compensation

Section 52 of this Act allows an employer to require its injured employees to receive their workers’ compensation-related medical treatment from a list of approved medical care providers. The Act requires an employer who uses such a list to provide a copy of it to an injured employee within two business days after he or she reports a work-related injury or condition to the employer.

 

Paid Family and Medical Leave Implementation

Section 413 of this Act requires the labor commissioner, in consultation with the state treasurer, state comptroller, and commissioner of administrative services, to establish the procedures needed to implement a paid family and medical leave (FML) program. The Act requires the labor commissioner to contract with a consultant by October 1, 2015 to create an implementation plan for the program that must include, among other things, a process to evaluate and establish mechanisms by which employees shall contribute a portion of their salary into a paid family and medical leave program. The commissioner must also work with the State Treasurer to contract with a consultant to perform an actuarial analysis and report of the level of employee contributions necessary to ensure sustainable funding and administration of a paid family and medical leave compensation program. The commissioner must submit a report to the legislative Appropriations and Labor Committees no later than February 1, 2016, providing the plan and the actuarial report.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

CT SB 1501, June Special Session, PA 15-01
An Act Authorizing and Adjusting Bonds of the State for Capital Improvements, Transportation and Other Purposes

Electronic Medical Records

This Act provides $25 million in FY16 (Section 2) and $16 million in FY17 (Section 21) for the purchase and implementation of an integrated electronic medical records system (EMR) at UConn Health. Section 231 of the Act also includes language that gives the University flexibility to modify UCONN 2000 projects (within authorized funding amounts) to provide the remaining financing necessary to implement the EMR system, provided the Board of Trustees votes its approval.

 

CT HB 6317, SA 15-13
An Act Concerning a Study of Cybersecurity. This Act requires the Department of Administrative Services, and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, to conduct a study to identify cybersecurity issues facing the state and to make recommendations regarding specific actions that the state can implement to promote and coordinate communication between government entities, law enforcement, institutions of higher education, the private sector and the public to improve cybersecurity preparedness. The study is due to the General Assembly not later than January 1, 2017

 

CT SB 811, PA 15-146
An Act Concerning Hospitals, Insurers and Health Care Consumers

Health Information Access and Blocking

Effective October 1, 2015, this Act provides that electronic health records, to the fullest extent practicable, must (1) follow and be accessible to the patient and (2) be shared and exchanged in a timely manner with providers of the patient’s choice. Section 20 of the Act makes “health information blocking” an unfair trade practice, and specifies that a hospital, health system, or seller of electronic health record systems that engages in health information blocking is subject to civil penalties under the unfair trade practices law. It defines health information blocking as knowingly: (1) interfering with, or engaging in business practices or other conduct reasonably likely to interfere with, the ability of patients, providers, or other authorized persons to access, exchange, or use electronic health records or (2) using an electronic health record system to both (a) steer patient referrals to affiliated providers and (b) prevent or unreasonably interfere with referrals to non-affiliated providers.

 

Health information blocking does not include legitimate referrals between providers participating in an accountable care organization or similar value-based collaborative care model. For this purpose, an affiliated provider is one that is: (1) employed by a hospital or health system, (2) under a professional services agreement with a hospital or health system that allows the hospital or health system to bill on the provider’s behalf, or (3) a clinical faculty member of a medical school that is affiliated with a hospital or health system in a manner that allows the hospital or health system to bill on the faculty member’s behalf. A seller of electronic health records systems is any person or entity that directly, or indirectly through an employee, agent, independent contractor, vendor, or other person, sells, leases, or offers to sell or lease such a system or a license or right to use such a system. The Act also makes it an unfair trade practice for a seller of an electronic health record system to make a false, misleading, or deceptive representation that such a system is certified by the federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. In addition, the Act provides that (1) the attorney general must enforce these provisions and (2) these provisions must not be construed as limiting the power or authority of the state, the attorney general, or the consumer protection commissioner to seek administrative, legal, or equitable relief as provided by any state statute or the common law.

 

Statewide Health Information Exchange

Sections 21 and 22 of this Act establish a Statewide Health Information Exchange, and gives DSS administrative authority over it. The exchange’s purposes include (1) empowering consumers to make effective health care decisions; (2) promoting patient-centered care; (3) improving health care quality, safety, and value; (4) reducing waste and duplication of services; (5) supporting clinical decision-making; (6) keeping confidential health information secure; and (7) making progress toward the state’s public health goals.

 

Under the Act, within a year after the exchange’s launch, each hospital and clinical laboratory must (1) maintain an electronic health record system capable of connecting to and participating in the exchange and (2) apply to begin the process of connecting to and participating in it. Within two years after the exchange’s launch, each health care provider with such a system capable of connecting to and participating in the exchange must apply to begin the process to do so.

 

Hospital Electronic Health Records Systems

Effective October 1, 2015, the Act also requires each licensed hospital, to the fullest extent practicable, to use its electronic health records system to enable bidirectional connectivity and the secure exchange of patient electronic health records between the hospital and any other licensed providers who: (1) have a system that can exchange these records, including at least laboratory and diagnostic tests, radiological and other diagnostic imaging, continuity of care documents, and discharge notifications and documents, and (2) provide health care services to a patient whose records are being exchanged. For this purpose, an exchange of records is secure if it complies with all state and federal privacy requirements, including HIPAA. The Act requires hospitals to use any hardware, software, bandwidth, or other program functions or settings already purchased or available to the hospital to support this records and information exchange. Under the Act, a hospital is deemed to have satisfied these requirements if it connects to and actively participates in the Statewide Health Information Exchange. The Act specifies that the above provisions do not require a hospital to pay for any new or additional information technology, equipment, hardware, or software, including interfaces, when needed to enable this exchange. The Act also provides that a hospital’s failure to take all reasonable steps to comply with these provisions constitutes evidence of health information blocking (see § 20).

MARINE SCIENCES

CT HB 6733, PA 15-52
An Act Concerning Certain Commercial Fishery Licensure Reforms. This Act makes numerous changes to the commercial fishing statutes.

 

CT HB 6839, PA 15-66
An Act Concerning a Long Island Sound Blue Plan and Resource and Use Inventory. This Act requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) commissioner, within available resources, to: (1) coordinate the completion of an inventory of Long Island Sound’s uses and natural resources by a University of Connecticut (UConn) subcommittee (the “Long Island Sound Resource and Use Inventory”) and (2) develop a plan to preserve and protect the Sound that may include maps, illustrations, and other media (the “Long Island Sound Blue Plan”). The commissioner must do these things in conjunction with a 16-member Long Island Sound Resource and Use Inventory and Blue Plan Advisory Committee, which the Act creates. The Act establishes a process for developing the inventory and plan, including provisions for public input. The draft inventory and plan must be completed by March 1, 2019 and the public must have at least 90 days for review and comment. The commissioner must adopt a final draft plan within 90 days after the public comment period ends. Once final, the Act requires the plan to be (1) reviewed by the Environment Committee and (2) submitted to the General Assembly for a vote before it can take effect. The Act requires the inventory and plan to be reviewed and updated every five years. Under the Act, the plan’s policies, locations, or standards must apply in a spatial planning area as depicted on a map the advisory committee prepares. DEEP and other state or local agencies must consider the plan when reviewing applications to conduct certain coastal activities.

 

CT SB 1502, June Special Session PA 15-5

An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education and Health and Human Services

Aquaculture/Shellfish

Section 116 of this Act establishes a 13-member Aquaculture Advisory Council and places it in the Agricultural Experiment Station for administrative purposes. The council must meet quarterly and, beginning July 1, 2016, report annually to the governor and Environment Committee on the status of the state’s shellfish industry and any related recommendations. Under the Act, the Aquaculture Advisory Council must: (1) develop a recommended plan to expand the state’s shellfish industry, (2) recommend procedures for having maps with the names of state shellfish bed lessees publicly available, (3) review the state shellfish leasing process and recommend to the governor and Environment Committee any changes to the leases or leasing process, (4) review health and safety standards relating to the state’s shellfish industry, (5) review existing laws and procedures on recreational shellfishing, (6) review other coastal states’ laws and regulations on shellfish size and recommend changes to Connecticut’s related law, (7) coordinate with other states to inform recommendations on how to further develop the state’s shellfish industry, and (8) provide recommendations on policies to the Department of Agriculture’s (DoAg) Bureau of Aquaculture. The council is made up of (1) the DoAg, public health (DPH), and energy and environmental protection (DEEP) commissioners, or their designees; (2) three members appointed by the governor; and (4) seven other appointees, appointed by the legislative leaders. The ten appointees must meet specified qualifications. Appointments must be made by October 1, 2015. The governor must designate the chairperson and the council must elect a vice-chairperson from among the members.

MEDICAID

CT HB 6155, PA 15-154

An Act Concerning Notification of Medicaid Waiver and Medicaid State Plan Amendment Proposals. By law, whenever the Department of Social Services (DSS) commissioner applies to the federal government to waive certain federal program requirements or amend the Medicaid state plan, he must first submit the waiver application or proposed amendment to the Human Services and Appropriations committees. This Act conforms law to current DSS practice by requiring the commissioner to submit applications for waiver renewals to these committees and applying other requirements for waiver applications and state plan amendments to waiver renewals. These include requirements that the: (1) committees hold a public hearing within 30 days of receiving the waiver renewal and following the hearing, approve, deny, or modify the renewal (denied renewals, like denied amendments or waivers, may not be submitted to the federal government) and (2) DSS commissioner (a) provide notice for a waiver renewal in the Connecticut Law Journal, (b) allow individuals to submit written comments before he submits the renewal to the committees, and (c) submit the written comments to the committees along with the renewal.

 

CT HB 6770, PA 15-165
An Act Concerning Medicaid Coverage for Over-the-Counter Drugs and Products and Requirements for Medicaid Benefit Cards and Notice of Regulations. This Act expands the types of over-the-counter drugs and products that the Department of Social Services (DSS) may pay for through its medical assistance programs to include those the DSS comsmissioner determines to be appropriate for coverage based on their clinical efficacy, safety, and cost effectiveness. The law generally bans DSS from paying for over-the-counter drugs and products, with certain exceptions. By law, DSS may require prior authorization for any covered over-the-counter drug. The law allows the DSS commissioner to implement policies and procedures to administer DSS programs while in the process of adopting them as regulations, as long as he gives notice of his intent to adopt the regulations. Prior law required him to print the notice in the Connecticut Law Journal within 20 days after the date of implementation. The Act instead requires DSS, within the same time period, to print the notice on the department’s website and the eRegulations system. The Act repeals a law that required DSS, by January 1, 2016, to require state-issued Medicaid benefit cards to include the name of and contact information for the beneficiary’s primary care provider, if he or she had one.

 

CT SB 864, SA 15-5

An Act Requiring a Study of the use of Medicaid to Cover the Cost of Health Insurance for College Students. This Act requires the Department of Social Services, in collaboration with the Board of Regents for Higher Education and the University of Connecticut, to study the effectiveness of requiring state Medicaid to pay the cost of premiums for health insurance sponsored by a constituent unit and provide supplemental health insurance coverage for students enrolled in a constituent unit who are (1) not covered by any other health insurance plan, and (2) eligible for state Medicaid benefits.

 

CT SB 1502, June Special Session PA 15-5

An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education and Health and Human Services

Medicaid Coverage for Orthodontic Services

Section 390 of this Act requires that orthodontic services must be covered for a Medicaid recipient under age 21 when the Salzmann Handicapping Malocclusion Index (SHMI) indicates that the recipient’s correct assessment score is 26 points or greater, subject to prior authorization. The SHMI measures malocclusion (teeth misalignment) by using weighted measurements of various factors, such as tooth spacing, overbite, and missing teeth. If a recipient’s SHMI score is less than 26 points, DSS must consider additional substantive information when determining the recipient’s need for orthodontic services.

 

Medicaid Reimbursement for Hospitals

Under current law, DSS must base Medicaid rates for acute care hospitals and children’s hospitals on diagnosis-related groups (DRGs). Such a system permits payment based on the severity of each patient’s illness. By law, DSS must annually determine in-patient payments for each hospital by multiplying the DRG relative weights by a base rate. Section 393 of the Act requires DSS to do this within available appropriations. This Act establishes a four-year timeframe, beginning January 1, 2016, for DSS, within available appropriations and at the commissioner’s discretion, to transition hospital-specific DRG base rates to statewide DRG base rates by peer groups. DSS determines the peer groups, which the Act defines as groups of (1) privately operated acute care hospitals, which the DSS commissioner may subdivide into smaller peer groups at his discretion, (2) publicly operated acute care hospitals, or (3) acute care DPH-licensed children’s hospitals.

 

PHARMACY

CT HB 5771, PA 15-116

An Act Authorizing Pharmacists to Dispense Drugs in Ninety-Day Quantities. This Act allows a pharmacist to refill a prescription for a drug, other than a controlled drug, in an amount greater than the initial quantity prescribed by the practitioner if: (1) the refill is made after the initial prescription is dispensed and does not exceed (a) a 90-day supply and (b) the total quantity authorized by the practitioner; (2) the practitioner does not indicate that the initial or refill quantity cannot be changed; (3) the pharmacist informs the practitioner of the refill at the earliest reasonable time, but no later than 48 hours after the refill; and (4) the patient’s health insurance policy or health benefit plan, if any, will cover the refill quantity at no additional coinsurance, deductible, or other out-of-pocket expense from the patient. By law, controlled drugs (1) are generally those with a depressant, stimulant, or hallucinogenic effect upon the higher functions of the central nervous system and (2) tend to promote abuse or dependence (CGS § 21a-240).

 

CT HB 6856, PA 15-198

An Act Concerning Substance Abuse and Opioid Overdose Prevention. This Act makes various changes affecting prescription drugs, drug abuse prevention, and related topics. Among other things, it: (1) requires practitioners, before prescribing more than a 72-hour supply of any controlled substance, to check the patient’s record in the prescription drug monitoring program; (2) requires practitioners to review the patient’s record at least every 90 days if prescribing for prolonged treatment; (3) makes other changes to the prescription drug monitoring program, including exempting opioid agonists in certain situations; (4) allows pharmacists to prescribe opioid antagonists, used to treat drug overdoses, if they receive special training and certification to do so, and expands the existing immunity for all prescribers when prescribing, dispensing, or administering opioid antagonists; (5) requires physicians, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), dentists, and physician assistants (PAs) to take continuing education in prescribing controlled substances and pain management; (6) makes changes to membership and other matters concerning the Connecticut Alcohol and Drug Policy Council; and (7) adds pharmacists to the definition of “healing arts” in the health care center (HMO) statutes.

 

CT SB 28, PA 15-219
An Act Concerning Manufacturer Names, Medwatch Reporting Information and Brand Names on Generic Drug Containers. This Act expands the information pharmacists must provide with a generic name prescription drug.

For drugs sold only by generic name, the Act requires pharmacists to include the (1) manufacturer’s name and (2) website and toll-free telephone number for MedWatch, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s drug safety and reporting program. This information may be placed on the prescription container’s label, other similar packaging that contains the prescription, or a receipt. If a pharmacist substitutes a generic name drug for a brand name drug, the Act requires the pharmacist to include on the prescription container’s label the name of the (1) generic drug in the container and (2) brand name drug prescribed. The law already requires pharmacists to put, on all prescription drug labels, (1) the quantity of the prescribed drug, (2) an expiration date, and (3) any other information required by law. By law, a “generic name” is the chemical name or formula or the established name given by the United States Pharmacopoeia, official Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States, or official National Formulary. A “brand name” is the name a manufacturer puts on a drug or pharmaceutical or on its container, label, or wrapping when it is packaged (CGS § 20-14a).

 

CT SB 998, PA 15-49
An Act Concerning Prescription Drugs. This Act expands current prohibitions concerning counterfeit drugs and devices to include knowingly dispensing, importing, or reimporting into the state such drugs or devices. The law already prohibits knowingly purchasing for resale, selling, offering for sale, or delivering these items.

PUBLIC SAFETY AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES

CT HB 5907, SA 15-8
An Act Concerning Supplemental First Responders. This Act allows the Department of Public Health to issue a certificate of authorization for a supplemental first responder to an emergency medical services provider who operates only in a municipality with a population between 105,000 and 115,000. The Act clarifies that, if a primary service area responder and a supplemental first responder are both on the scene of an emergency medical call, the primary service area responder shall control and direct emergency activities at such scene.

 

CT HB 6498, PA 15-207
An Act Concerning Evidence in Sexual Assault Cases. This Act makes various changes affecting evidence in sexual assault cases and establishes deadlines for transferring and processing sexual assault evidence police obtain from health care facilities that collect such evidence. If an accused seeks to introduce evidence of a victim’s sexual conduct in a sexual assault case, the Act requires the hearing on the motion to be held in camera (i.e., in private), rather than allowing the court to grant a motion to hold the hearing in that manner. By law, evidence of a victim’s sexual conduct in these cases is admissible only in certain limited circumstances. The Act requires motions, supporting documents, and related court documents concerning these hearings to be sealed, and unsealed only if the court rules that the evidence is admissible and the case goes to trial. If the state discloses any such evidence, the Act limits further disclosure of that evidence by defense counsel.

 

CT HB 6987, PA 15-242
An Act Concerning Various Revisions to the Public Health Statutes

Primary Service Area Responders and EMS Vehicle Inspections

Section 8 of this Act allows certain primary service area responders (PSARs) to apply, on a short form application, to change the address of their principal or branch locations within the primary service area, without necessarily going through the standard hearing process. This applies to licensed or certified volunteer, hospital-based, or municipal ambulance services that are PSARs. By law, a primary service area is a specific geographic area to which DPH assigns a designated emergency medical services provider for each category of emergency medical response services. These providers are termed PSARs. Under the Act, applicants must notify in writing all other PSARs in the municipality or adjacent municipalities. The application is deemed approved 30 days after filing, unless one of the notified PSARs objects in writing to the commissioner and requests a hearing within 15 days after receiving notice. At the hearing, the applicant must demonstrate the need to change its address, following existing procedures requiring a public hearing when an emergency medical services (EMS) organization requests approval of permits for new or expanded emergency medical services.

 

The Act requires the commissioner to develop the short form application. The application must at least require the applicant to provide (1) the applicant’s name, current address, and new address, (2) an explanation for moving the principal or branch location, and (3) a list of the providers to whom it sent notice and proof of notification.

 

Mandated Reporters of Elder Abuse

Section 9 of this Act requires mandated reporter of elder abuse to make the report within 72 hours to the Commissioner of Social Services or his or her designee. This Act also adds certified EMS providers to the list of mandated elder abuse reporters.

 

EMS Vehicle Inspections

Section 10-12 of this Act make a variety of technical changes to EMS services, including changes to definitions relating to EMS staff and equipment, as well as updates to the forms and application process for location changes of the primary service area of an ambulance service.  It also changes the yearly rate application filing date from July 15 to August 31 and updates ambulance inspection requirements.

 

First Responders and Infectious Disease Notification

Section 51 changes the definition of infectious disease and airborne infectious disease to make them consistent with federal law and makes changes to how emergency service organizations and hospitals share information about patients and exposure of first responders to infectious disease. It requires each hospital to designate an employee to act as the hospital contact person to notify designated officers of cases where persons have possibly been exposed to airborne infectious disease and to receive and respond to requests from designated officers for information concerning the results of any test performed on a patient to determine the presence of an infectious disease. Hospitals must notify the DPH commissioner or her designee of its contact person no later than January 1, 2016.

 

CT HB 7103, June 2015 Special Session, PA 15-4
An Act Concerning Excessive Use of Force. This Act makes a number of changes regarding law enforcement training, procedures, equipment, use of force, hiring, and lawsuits. Regarding training, procedures, and equipment, it:

(1) requires police basic and review training programs conducted by the State Police, Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST), and municipal police departments to include training on (a) using physical force; (b) using body-worn recording equipment and retaining the records it creates; and (c) cultural competency, sensitivity, and bias-free policing (§ 1); (2) creates new grants from the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) for municipal police departments to purchase body-worn equipment that records audio and video (body cameras); (3) requires the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) and POST, by January 1, 2016, to jointly create a list of minimal technical specifications for body cameras and digital data storage devices or services, specifies certain activities that officers cannot record with body cameras and when certain images do not need to be disclosed to the public, and requires DESPP and POST to develop guidelines on equipment use and data retention; and (4) requires sworn officers of municipal police departments receiving certain OPM grants, the State Police, and public university police departments, beginning July 1, 2016, to use body cameras while interacting with the public in their law enforcement capacity.

 

Regarding use of force, the Act: (1) expands the circumstances when the Division of Criminal Justice must investigate a death involving a peace officer to include cases involving any use of physical force, not just deadly force; (2) requires, rather than allows, the chief state’s attorney to appoint a prosecutor from a judicial district other than the one where the incident occurred or a special prosecutor to conduct those investigations; and (3) requires law enforcement units to record information about incidents in which a police officer discharges a firearm or uses physical force that is likely to cause serious physical injury or death.

 

Regarding hiring, the Act: (1) requires law enforcement units, by January 1, 2016, to develop and implement guidelines to recruit, retain, and promote minority police officers; (2) prohibits a law enforcement unit from hiring an officer who was previously dismissed from a unit for malfeasance or serious misconduct or resigned or retired during an investigation for such conduct; and (3) requires a law enforcement unit to inform another unit about an officer’s dismissal, resignation, or retirement under the circumstances described above if it knows the officer is applying for a position as a police officer with the other unit. Regarding lawsuits involving law enforcement, with some exceptions, the Act makes a peace officer’s employer liable in a court or other proceeding if the officer interferes with someone taking a photo or digital still or video image of the officer or another officer performing his or her duties.

 

CT HB 7104, June Special Session, PA 15-2
An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government Provisions Relating to Criminal Justice. This Act replaces the current penalty structure for drug possession crimes, which punishes possession of most types of illegal drug as felonies. It creates a new structure that punishes possession of .5 ounces or more of marijuana or any amount of another illegal drug as a class A misdemeanor but allows the court to (1) suspend prosecution for a second offense and order treatment for a drug dependent person and (2) punish third-time or subsequent offenders as persistent offenders, which subjects them to the penalties for a class E felony. It also reduces the enhanced penalty for drug possession near schools or day care centers from a two-year mandatory prison sentence to a class A misdemeanor with a required prison and probation sentence.

 

CT SB 253, PA 15-110
An Act Concerning Payment to an Ambulance Service. This Act requires an ambulance service to make a good faith effort to determine whether a person has health insurance before attempting to collect payment from the person for services provided. If the ambulance service determines that the person is insured, the Act prohibits the service from trying to collect payment, other than a coinsurance, copayment, or deductible, from the person for covered medical services, before receiving oral or written notice from the insurer that it is not paying for the services. If the insurer has not paid for the service or provided notice that it declines to do so within 60 days after receiving the Act, the ambulance service may attempt to collect payment from the person.

 

CT SB 802, PA 15-26
An Act Concerning Liability for Damage Caused by a Police Dog. The law imposes strict liability on the owner or “keeper” of a dog for any damage to a person or property the dog causes, except in cases where the damage was done to someone who was teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog or committing trespass or another tort (CGS § 22-357). By law, a “keeper” is any person, other than the owner, harboring or possessing a dog. This Act creates a rebuttable presumption that a member of a law enforcement officer’s household where the officer keeps a dog assigned to him or her by the town, state, or federal government is not the dog’s keeper. Therefore, in any action against such a household member for damage done by the dog, the plaintiff has the burden of proof to establish that the household member was the dog’s keeper and had exclusive control of the dog. (A “rebuttable presumption” is an assumption of fact accepted by the court until disproved.)

 

CT SB 855, PA 15-91
An Act Concerning Reports of Nurse Staffing Levels

 

Workplace Violence Incident Reports. Section 2 of this Act requires certain health care employers to annually report to DPH, rather than report upon the department’s request, on the number of workplace violence incidents occurring on the employer’s premises and the specific area or department where they occurred. The first report is due January 1, 2016, and the reports must cover incidents occurring the prior year.

 

CT SB 966, PA 15-16
An Act Concerning Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners at Institutions of Higher Education. This Act allows sexual assault forensic examiners (SAFEs) to treat sexual assault victims who are patients in a health care facility operated by a higher education institution. The health care facility must be: (1) licensed by the Department of Public Health (DPH) as an infirmary operated by an educational institution as an outpatient clinic and (2) accredited by the Joint Commission or the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. The Act also requires SAFE services to be: (1) aligned with the policies and accreditation standards of the respective health care facility and (2) pursuant to a written agreement between the health care facility and (a) DPH and (b) the Office of Victim Services, about the facility’s participation in the SAFE program.

 

CT SB 999, PA 15-223
An Act Concerning the Department of Public Health’s Recommendations Regarding Emergency Medical Services. This Act makes various changes to the emergency medical services (EMS) laws, including emergency scene responsibilities, data reporting requirements, and credentialing. Among other things, the Act: (1) establishes a hierarchy for determining which EMS provider is responsible for making patient care decisions at the scene of an emergency call, giving decision-making authority to the provider holding the highest classification of licensure or certification; (2) specifies that these provisions do not limit the authority of the fire officer-in-charge to control and direct emergency activities at the scene; (3) establishes a $100 per day civil penalty for an EMS organization’s failure to report data as required, in addition to existing penalties; (4) allows the public health (DPH) commissioner to adopt regulations on the EMS data collection system; and (5) specifies certain exemptions from EMS provider certification, extending an existing exemption from paramedic licensure.

 

CT SB 1502, June Special Session PA 15-5

An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education and Health and Human Services

 

Police Officer Certification Costs

Section 508 of this Act requires that if a police unit hires a police officer within 2 years of the officer receiving certification, the costs of which were paid by a different police unit, the hiring unit must reimburse the original unit 50% of the costs.

 

Ambulance Service Rates

Section 367 of this Act allows the DPH commissioner to increase the maximum allowable rates she sets for licensed and certified ambulance services, effective on or before July 1, 2015. The Act specifies that this does not otherwise alter the commissioner’s existing statutory rate-setting authority for emergency medical services.

 

ULTURE

RESEARCH

CT HB 5707, PA 15-201
An Act Requiring Certain Higher Education Facilities that Conduct Research Using Cats or Dogs to Offer Such Cats or Dogs to Animal Rescue Organizations Prior to Euthanizing Any Such Cat or Dog. This Act requires public and private higher education institutions, under certain circumstances, to offer any cat or dog on which they have conducted research or testing to an animal adoption or rescue organization for adoption. An adoption offer must only occur when (1) the research or testing is complete, (2) destruction of the animal is not required, and (3) the animal is no longer needed by the institution. The Act allows the institutions to enter into agreements with the adoption or rescue organizations for this purpose. It specifies that these organizations may be either collaborations of individuals or nonprofit organizations whose purposes include selling or placing animals removed from animal shelters, municipal dog pounds, or homes.

 

CT HB 6987, PA 15-242
An Act Concerning Various Revisions to the Public Health Statutes

 

Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Section 4 of this Act eliminates DPH’s authority to (1) enforce specified laws concerning stem cell research and (2) adopt implementing regulations. Among other things, these laws establish conditions under which someone may conduct research involving embryonic stem cells. By law, this research must continue to be overseen by an embryonic stem cell research oversight committee established under national guidelines. The Act also eliminates the requirement for a researcher to provide documentation to the department before someone may perform this research, verifying the voluntary nature of the donation of the stem cells and related materials or adherence to national guidelines for embryonic stem cells derived from out of state.

 

Release of Patient Identifiable Data

Section 13 Allows DPH to release patient-identifiable data for medical and scientific research, consistent with existing regulations.

 

CT HB 7061, PA 15-244
An Act Concerning the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017, and Making Appropriations therefor, and other Provisions Related to Revenue, Deficiency Appropriations and Tax Fairness and Economic Development.

 

Grant funding for an Early Childhood Regression Discontinuity Study

Section 44 of this Act allows for the transfer of up to $150,000 in FY 16 from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to the Other Expenses account within the Office of the State Comptroller. The transferred funds will allow OSC to provide a grant to the University of Connecticut to conduct an Early Childhood Regression Discontinuity Study.

 

Biomedical Research Trust Fund to UConn Health for CICATS

Section 47 transfers $ 1,000,000 from the Biomedical Research Trust Fund to the University of Connecticut Health Center, in each of the fiscal years ending June 30, 2016, and June 30, 2017, for the purpose of supporting the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, and $ 250,000 of such amount in each such fiscal year shall be used for breast cancer research to be conducted by said institute.

 

Biomedical Research Fund

Section 90 provides $4 million to the Biomedical Research Trust Fund for FY 16 and FY 17.

 

CT SB 957, PA 15-222
An Act Concerning Revisions to the Regenerative Medicine Research Fund and the Connecticut Bioscience Innovation Fund, and the Consolidation of Certain Funds of Connecticut Innovations, Incorporated.
This Act makes several programmatic and administrative changes to Connecticut Innovations, Incorporated (CI) programs. It: (1) allows CI to award additional forms of financing from the Regenerative Medicine Research Fund (RMRF), (2) requires RMRF’s advisory committee to contract with a third party to select peer reviewers to review financial assistance applications, (3) expands eligibility for financial assistance from the Bioscience Innovation Fund to include businesses operating for three to seven years, (4) limits Bioscience Innovation Fund eligibility to businesses in certain clinical trial phases, and (5) folds two CI funds into the Connecticut Growth Fund.

 

CT SB 1502, June Special Session PA 15-5

An Act Implementing Provisions of the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2017 Concerning General Government, Education and Health and Human Services

 

Bioscience Innovation Fund Administrative Costs

Sections 53-55 of this Act allow Connecticut Innovations, Inc. (CI) to use Bioscience Innovation Fund money to pay for its administrative costs, including peer review costs, professional fees, allocated staff costs, and other out-of-pocket costs related to administering and operating the fund. Under the Act, CI may use no more than 5% of the total amount allotted for the year in the fund’s operating budget to pay for its administrative costs, and expenditures from the fund for administrative costs do not have to be approved by the fund’s advisory committee. The Act also specifies that it does not require CI to risk or spend CI’s funds to administer the Bioscience Innovation Fund.

 

Energy Test Bed Technology

Under current law, the State Agency Energy Efficiency or Renewable Energy Technology Test Program allows the DEEP commissioner to direct state agencies to test technologies, products, or processes (“test subjects”) that (1) he finds would promote energy conservation, efficiency, or renewable energy technology and (2) meet certain other standards. Acquisitions under the testing program are not considered purchases under the state procurement law and are thus exempt from certain competitive bidding requirements. Section 467 of this Act requires the commissioner to administer pilot test programs at state agencies for test subjects that meet the program’s criteria and fulfill its purposes. Applicants interested in participating in the programs must submit an application to the commissioner on forms he prescribes. The Act requires the commissioner to (1) review an application for sufficiency within 30 days and (2) determine whether the application meets the program’s requirements within 90 days, after receiving the application. The Act also allows another agency’s commissioner to request the DEEP commissioner’s approval to test a test subject that the other commissioner identifies (1) on his or her own or (2) as a test subject that has been procured, installed, and tested in a municipality and meets the program’s requirements. The DEEP commissioner must evaluate the test subject and approve or disapprove the other commissioner’s request within 30 days after receiving it. An agency that is directed or approved to test a test subject must use it in its operations on a trial basis as prescribed by the DEEP commissioner.

SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

CT HB 6987, PA 15-242
An Act Concerning Various Revisions to the Public Health Statutes.

Ophthalmic Science Education Programs

Section 26 clarifies that students enrolled in certain ophthalmic science education programs are not required to have a DPH-issued permit.

VETERANS’ ISSUES

CT HB 6375, PA 15-117
An Act Establishing a Veterans to Agriculture Program. This Act creates incentives for certain veterans to become farmers. It applies to veterans who have never owned or leased property for commercial agricultural production or who have owned or leased property for commercial agricultural production for less than two years. It does this by extending an exemption from the sales and use tax on personal property sold for use in agricultural production to such veterans. The Act also allows the Agriculture Department (DoAG) to collaborate with the Labor and Veterans’ Affairs departments and UConn Cooperative Extension Service to (1) encourage and help veterans start or expand an agricultural business and (2) provide education and training opportunities to veterans in farming and agricultural operations. By law, DoAG, under the Connecticut Farm Link program, must maintain a database of farmers and land owners who intend to sell their farm operations or agricultural land and provide certain educational information about the program on its website.

 

CT HB 6987, PA 15-242
An Act Concerning Various Revisions to the Public Health Statutes

Veterans and Medical Education

Section 60 adds veteran-related topics to the list of required continuing medical education (no less than two contact hours are needed beginning January 2016) for the following professions:  alcohol and drug counselors, chiropractors, psychologists, marital and family therapists, professional counselors, social workers, physicians, and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs).

 

CT SB 694 SA 15-1
An Act Concerning Services Available to Veterans on State College and University Campuses. This Act requires the Board of Regents for Higher Education and the Board of Trustees for the University of Connecticut to conduct a study to (1) evaluate and assess programming at Operation Academic Support for Incoming Service Members centers at public institutions of higher education; and (2) identify successful programming at such centers. Not later than January 15, 2016, the boards shall report the results of the study including any recommendations as to enhancing services at all such centers in the state, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to veterans and military affairs and higher education.

 

CT SB 904, PA 15-8
An Act Establishing the Connecticut Women Veterans’ Program. This Act requires the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to establish, within available resources, a Connecticut women veterans’ program. The program must: (1) reach out to women veterans to improve awareness of eligibility for federal and state veterans’ benefits and services;

(2) assess women veterans’ needs for benefits and services; (3) review programs, research projects, and other initiatives designed to address or meet Connecticut women veterans’ needs; and (4) incorporate women veterans’ issues in strategic planning on benefits and services. The program must also annually submit recommendations for improving benefits and services for women veterans to the veterans’ affairs commissioner and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee beginning January 15, 2016. The commissioner may adopt regulations to supplement and implement the program. Under the act, a “veteran” is anyone discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from active service in the armed forces (U. S.  Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Air Force and any reserve component of these branches, including the Connecticut National Guard performing duty under Title 32 of federal law).

 

CT SB 1016, SA 15-3
An Act Concerning the Digitization of Military Records. This Act requires the State Librarian and the Military Department to conduct a study regarding the establishment of a searchable online database containing the military records of Connecticut veterans.