Connecticut reconsiders funding for UConn Health amid budget strain

Connecticut lawmakers are questioning the long-term viability of funding increases for the financially strapped UConn Health, the Hartford Courant reports.

Expenses for the Farmington, Conn.-based public teaching hospital have grown 54 percent since 2010, from $744 million to $1.2 billion. UConn Health officials say the growing cost of health and retirement benefits for staff, as well as the raises the state negotiated with unions are central to its budgetary woes.

The state gave UConn Health $244 million in 2019, and $286 million is earmarked for the system in fiscal 2020. The state greenlighted a $33 million increase in funding for the health system in 2020, and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont's proposed budget for 2021 would temporarily maintain that increase, according to the report.  

However, the health system said it needs a $50 million bump in funding from the state next year, with $25 million increases over that for the next two subsequent years, according to the report. UConn Health says it covers 60 percent of health and pension benefits for staff, which is a higher percentage than other state agencies pay.

Legislators say the health center's losses are only partially due to rising costs of health and pension benefits. They told the Hartford Courant they plan to review UConn Health's budget in detail to determine the best path forward long-term.

One-third of the health system's expenses are tied to employee benefits, according to the Hartford Courant.

Read the full story here.

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