Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont recently signed two important pieces of legislation that affect hospitals and certain Medicaid providers and programs.  First, Public Act No. 23-39, “An Act Requiring Discharge Standards Regarding Follow-Up Appointments and Prescription Medications for Patients Being Discharged From a Hospital or Nursing Home Facility” addresses new hospital discharge obligations for state hospitals.  Second, Public Act No. 23-186, “An Act Concerning Nonprofit Provider Retention of Contract Savings, Community Health Worker Medicaid Reimbursement and Studies of Medicaid Rates of Reimbursement, Nursing Home Transportation and Nursing Home Waiting Lists”, which implements various changes affecting the state Medicaid program and enrolled providers. Certain legislative changes implemented by these Acts are summarized below.

Act 23-39: New Hospital and Nursing Home Discharge Planning Requirements

Current Department of Public Health (DPH) regulations establish minimum standards for hospital discharge planning services which address certain criteria (including having a written discharge plan and a procedure for advance notice of discharge).  Act 23-39 adds mandatory criteria that DPH must include in its hospital discharge regulations, including a requirement that written discharge plans expressly include the date and location of a patient’s follow-up appointments scheduled prior to discharge, and a list of all medications the patient is currently taking and will continue post-discharge (to the extent known by the hospital). For patients discharged to home, Act 23-39 also requires a hospital to electronically transmit each prescription ordered by a hospital employee for the patient’s use post-discharge to the patient’s pharmacy.  Act 23-39 also makes parallel changes to the Connecticut law governing the regulations applicable to nursing home discharges.

Act 23-39 will take effect on October 1, 2023.

Act 23-186: New Avenues for Medicaid Reimbursement; Transport in Nursing Homes

Act 23-186 includes a range of provisions regarding allocation of Medicaid funding and transport for nursing home residents.

Section 2 of Act 23-186 requires state agencies that contract with nonprofit provider organizations to allow those organizations to retain any savings accrued during each fiscal year from state funding unless it would be contrary to federal funding requirements, federal law, or regulation. Any nonprofit organization allowed to retain such savings must submit an application to the agency stating how the funds will be reinvested into the organization. Notably, retained funds may be used only for the purposes of: “strengthening quality, investing in deferred maintenance, and making asset improvements.”

Sections 2 of Act 23-186 took effect on July 1, 2023.

Section 5 of Act 23-186 allows nursing homes to transport nonambulatory patients to their family members’ homes under the following conditions:

  1. A physician, physician’s assistant, or advanced practice registered nurse approves the transport at least 5 business days in advance;
  2. The nursing home has vehicles that are equipped to transport the resident; and
  3. The family members live within 15 miles of the nursing home.

This section states that it does not authorize or require payment or reimbursement to a nursing home for such nonemergency transportation, but also directs the Department of Social Services to evaluate whether the need for transportation of nonambulatory patients may qualify as a health-related social need, and whether it may consequently qualify for federal funding.

Section 5 of Act 23-186 took effect on July 1, 2023.

*This post was co-authored by Ivy Miller, legal intern at Robinson+Cole. Ivy is not admitted to practice law.