Tag Archives: Connecticut

Paying for success

Source: Jason Axelrod, American City and County, February 6, 2017

Several local and state governments are pioneering a new investment model to finance projects in their areas that uses success as a payment benchmark. Social impact bonds (SIBs) — also known as pay-for-success models — involve public-private partnerships (P3s) in which private entities invest in public projects that are overseen by governments, organized by nonprofit intermediaries, executed by service providers and are ultimately evaluated by independent entities. Such projects generally tackle social issues like homelessness or family welfare, and they aim to reduce government dollars spent on existing measures. Unlike a municipal bond, an SIB has no fixed rate of return for investors. An SIB’s ROI yield depends entirely on the project’s success, based on outcomes defined in the SIB contract. At pre-defined points in the project’s execution, a study of the program’s effectiveness will be carried out, and the government will accordingly pay funders pre-defined amounts based on how certain benchmarks are met. …

… The Denver Social Impact Bond program provides up to five years of supportive housing and Assertive Community Treatment for 250 homeless repeat offenders who cost taxpayers over $7 million per year in legal and health care-related expenses, city documents show. … In 2013, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) sought and obtained technical assistance from the Harvard Kennedy Government Improvement Lab in constructing and executing an SIB project to address its greatest unmet service need at the time— parent and caregiver substance use, according to DCF Chief of Staff Elizabeth Duryea. … In 2015, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, became the first U.S. county to institute an SIB-funded program with a similar mission to Connecticut’s SIB-funded project. The county’s Partnering for Family Success Program seeks to reduce the amount of days children spend in foster care, which was one of the more expensive items in the county’s budget. …

Nonprofits: More privatization can save state $1.3 billion

Source: Susan Haigh, Associated Press, January 18, 2017

Nonprofit human services providers say they can help solve Connecticut’s budget problems by taking over more state-operated programs, an idea that appears to be gaining steam among some legislative Democrats as well as Republicans. The Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance on Wednesday unveiled a proposal to shift developmental disability residential services and mental health and substance abuse treatment programs from the state to the private sector. The group says its plan would save $1.3 billion over three years. The proposal comes as Connecticut faces a projected $1.5 billion deficit in the fiscal year beginning July 1. Connecticut has a system where both state employees and private nonprofit providers deliver state services. While many Republicans have pushed to privatize those programs, more Democrats, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, support the idea.

Connecticut officials seek dismissal of school choice suit

Source: Dave Collins, The Associated Press, November 21, 2016

Connecticut officials on Monday asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the state’s restrictions on magnet schools, charter schools and school choice programs. The state attorney general’s office filed a motion in federal court in Hartford saying the lawsuit is not allowed under a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that bars federal courts from interfering with states’ sovereign right to determine public education policy. A group of parents sued state officials in August, aided by the nonprofit group Student Matters, of Menlo Park, California. They argue the restrictions are unconstitutional and have forced thousands of low-income and minority students to attend low-performing schools. The lawsuit challenges state laws that place a moratorium on new magnet schools, prevent public charter schools from opening or expanding, and penalize school districts that accept inner-city students under a state inter-district school choice program. … The state Education Department has said that Connecticut has high-quality public education. The agency said more state resources are going to schools that need help the most, and improvements to the education system continue to be made. A lawyer for the plaintiffs did not immediately return messages seeking comment Monday. The plaintiffs include a Hartford mother, a Bridgeport mother, a Bridgeport father and their children, and a Bridgeport woman and her granddaughter. They’re suing Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other state officials. They say they have tried to enroll their children in magnet schools, charter schools or other school alternatives, but their applications have been rejected and they must send their children to public schools they say are failing. …

Connecticut Substance Abuse/Child Welfare Project: State Will Pay for Success, But Hasn’t Defined It

Source: John Kelly, Chronicle for Social Change, October 13, 2016

Connecticut has announced it is underway with a pay-for-success venture that will reward private funders if they are successful in using a substance abuse treatment model to curb re-referrals to, and out-of-home placements made by, child protective services. One wrinkle: It’s not clear yet what the definition of “successful” will be. It’s not looking good for the Family First Preservation Services Act, which would have opened up federal IV-E entitlement funds for several services aimed at preventing the need for foster care in certain maltreatment cases. … The agency announced a pay-for-success (PFS) project through which 500 families will receive family-based recovery (FBR), a model of substance abuse treatment developed at Yale University that provides in-home, attachment-based parent-child therapy and substance abuse treatment. Each family is assigned two clinicians and a family support specialist. … And here is where it gets somewhat murky. Pressed by Youth Services Insider for details on what level of achievement would actually trigger repayment by the state – either in full or in part – representatives from DCF and its intermediary partner, Social Finance, did not provide specifics to Youth Services Insider. So we know that re-referrals and out-of-home placements will be the significant standards by which success will be measured, and the method for gauging success on those counts will be a randomized control study. But stakeholders on the project have not disclosed is how much better than the control group this project needs to be in order to get paid back by Connecticut. It suggests that either the exact benchmarks for success haven’t been worked out, or for some reason the partners do not want to release those benchmarks yet. …

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State launches Pay for Success substance abuse program for parents
Source: Karen Florin, The Day, September 28, 2016

Five hundred families with substance abuse problems will be receiving treatment in their homes over the next 4.5 years, and the state of Connecticut will be paying the $11.2 million price tag for the first-of-its-kind program only if it works. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Department of Children and Families Commissioner Joette Katz and Rafael López, the commissioner of the U.S. Administration of Children, Youth and Families, gathered at the Community Health Center on Main Street Wednesday with clinicians, families and lenders to launch the Family Based Recovery program. The state has partnered with the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab and with Social Finance, a London-based nonprofit company, to launch the program. … he program will serve 11 communities in Connecticut, including Norwich and Willimantic, and will be managed at community health centers operated by United Child & Family Services, Community Mental Health Affiliates and Community Health Resources. “Finding innovative ways to support promising programs that tackle chronic social issues is a continuous endeavor,” Malloy said. “Pay for Success is the right tool at the right time.” Substance abuse is involved in at least half of the cases DCF investigates — 18,118 out of 36,131 in 2013 — and the agency has been striving, under Katz’s administration, to keep children in their homes while helping their parents. … Some of the lenders were in the audience, including Hervé P. Duteil, regional coordinator for corporate social responsibility in North America for BNP Paribas, a Paris-based bank and financial services company. Duteil said that by the end of June 2016, BNP Paribas had 840 million Euros of commitments in support of microfinance and social businesses. He said it is fair that the supporters of the program would be repaid based on performance, and that the money could then be recycled and used for another project. Duteil said that the Family Based Recovery Program, which has been two years in the works, sounded even better than it had on paper after he listened to the experiences of the mothers who have received help. …

Letter to the Editor: More accountability needed for private companies

Source: Tom DeLucia, President of AFSCME Local 287, New Haven Register, September 6, 2016

I, too, am a school custodian, but my employer is the New Haven Board of Education. When I was hired, I had to go to the police station to be finger-printed. There was also a background check to make sure I did not have a criminal record. Employees of private companies do not have to go through the same process we do. That’s one of the problems with outsourcing, but it’s a problem that can be fixed by demanding greater accountability and transparency on the part of the company hired to provide a service.

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Felon arrested on New Haven gun charge worked for company contracted by city schools
Source: Estaban L. Hernandez, New Haven Register, August 2, 2016

A man police identified as a convicted felon facing gun possession charges was working as a supervisor for a company contracted by the school board for facilities services at the time of his arrest last weekend. Jorge Rivera, 35, was arrested Saturday after police said he pointed a stolen gun at another man’s face during an altercation. … Clark said Rivera worked for ABM since 2014. Mitchell Burns, project manager for ABM’s New Haven offices, said Tuesday he couldn’t comment on the matter. Burns declined to confirm that Rivera worked at ABM. Clark said the district has asked ABM to remove Rivera from the staffing they provide the district. Similar to Whaley, Rivera likely had minimal contact with students, if any. The district doesn’t have a say on Rivera’s employment with the company, Clark added. … What’s also unclear is what school facilities Rivera staffed. Clark said ABM supplies the district with more than 150 part-time custodians assigned across the district. Rivera’s duties included reviewing attendance sheets, assigning work and ensuring proper cleaning. …

Pushing Working Families into Poverty: Assessing the New Haven Plan to Privatize the Public Schools’ Custodial Services
Source: Jeannette Wicks-Lim, Political Economy Research Institute University of Massachusetts, Amherst, March 2011

The City of New Haven is considering outsourcing its public school custodial services to a private firm, GCA Services Group, to reduce the City’s projected $42 million deficit for fiscal year (FY) 2011-12. Outsourcing to this firm would cut the cost of the school custodial services in half, saving the City $8.1 million, equal to 19 percent of the deficit. This report assesses the major cuts in wage and benefits that this proposal will impose on New Haven’s currently employed custodians, including their impact on the families of the custodial workers.

The main findings are:
• The GCA Services Group proposed contract to provide public school custodial services would:

○ Reduce the current average wage among the New Haven Public School (NHPS) custodians by 40%, from $20.90 to $12.50 per hour;

○ Replace 186 full-time custodial positions with a largely part-time workforce; at minimum, 2/3 of the new positions will be part-time;

○ Eliminate health insurance benefits, overtime pay and bonuses for all part-time workers; eliminate retirement benefits for all workers.

• These severe pay and benefit reductions would effectively force the 186 lower-to-middle-income NHPS custodians and their families to bear the burden for fully 19 percent ―$8.1 million ―of the city’s projected $42 million budget deficit for FY2011-12. Yet, these 186 families represent less than one-half of one-percent of the 46,000 households in New Haven.

Connecticut regulators OK Prospect Medical’s purchase of Waterbury Hospital

Source: Erica Teichert, Modern Healthcare, July 18, 2016

Two Connecticut regulators have approved Prospect Medical Holdings’ proposed purchase of the Greater Waterbury (Conn.) Health Network, paving the way for the not-for-profit hospital to become a for-profit provider. In separate decisions on Friday, Connecticut’s attorney general and Department of Public Health both signed off on the $43.3 million deal that will transfer virtually all of Greater Waterbury Health Network’s assets to Los Angeles-based Prospect Medical Holdings. … Under the terms of the regulatory approvals, Prospect Medical will transfer all of Greater Waterbury Health’s charitable assets to an independent foundation, and it will continue to follow Waterbury’s policies for charitable and indigent care for at least five years. Prospect has a successful track record of turning around financially challenged hospitals like Waterbury Hospital, the company said in a statement. Prospect currently owns and operates 18 hospitals, as well as 140 clinics and outpatient centers. The company is also acquiring a two-hospital system in Manchester and Rockville, Conn. …

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Third Time Could Be The Charm For Waterbury Hospital Purchase
Source: Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie, June 27, 2016

It looks as if the third time might be the charm for the sale of Greater Waterbury Health Network and Waterbury Hospital to Prospect Medical Holdings Inc. for $100 million. The state Public Health Department’s Office of Health Care Access and the state attorney general’s office announced Friday that it was ready to approve the application filed by California-based Prospect Medical Holdings. … Friday’s draft deal with Prospect Medical Holdings comes with several conditions, including reporting changes in patient care or services to state regulators, health and community need assessments, submission of plans to consolidate or reduce services, and reports to state regulators about how $55 million promised for capital improvements will be spent. … Prospect Medical Holdings is also in the process of purchasing nonprofit Eastern Connecticut Health Network for $105 million. …

State tentatively OKs hospital purchases in Manchester, Vernon
Source: Mark Pazniokas, CT Mirrow, May 25, 2016

The consolidation of the hospital industry progressed Wednesday as state regulators gave tentative approval to the $105 million purchase of Manchester Memorial and Rockville General hospitals by Prospect Medical Holdings, a for-profit company based in Los Angeles. The office of Attorney General George Jepsen and the Office of Health Care Access posted their proposed final decisions for Prospect Medical’s purchase of the two hospitals, which are the major assets of the Eastern Connecticut Health Care Network. … The Office of Health Care Access, or OHCA, is responsible for reviewing the transaction for its effect on the availability and quality of health care in the region served by ECHN and the two hospitals. Manchester Memorial and Rockville General are in the contiguous eastern Hartford suburbs of Manchester and Vernon. In addition to the $105 million purchase price, Prospect Medical is required to invest no less than $75 million in capital improvements over five years, and both facilities must remain as acute-care hospitals for at least three years. Nearly all employees will be offered employment by Prospect. …

Parent of Manchester, Rockville Hospitals Near Merger Deal With California Chain Hospitals and Clinics
Source: Dan Haar, Hartford Courant, June 26, 2015

For-profit hospital chain is in merger talks with parent of Manchester Memorial, Rockville General hospitals The parent of Manchester Memorial and Rockville General hospitals said Friday it is near a merger agreement with Prospect Medical Holdings, a Los Angeles-based chain that is seeking a greater presence in New England. Prospect, which owns 13 hospitals in California, Texas and Rhode Island, is also in talks to acquire Waterbury Hospital….

Will The Third Time Be The Charm for Waterbury Hospital?
Source: Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie, May 5, 2015

Darlene Stromstad, President and CEO of Waterbury Hospital, said the Los Angeles-based Prospect Medical Holdings was chosen because of its “coordinated regional care” approach to healthcare, which will strengthen and enhance access to and the delivery of high quality, cost-effective services for the community. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed Tuesday. The deal comes several months after Texas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. withdrew its proposal to purchase Waterbury Hospital, Saint Mary’s, and three other hospitals in Connecticut. …. With a signed letter of intent, the two organizations will now work on creating an agreement they will need to begin the “certificate of need” process, which is the first step in receiving approval from the Office for Health Care Access and the Attorney General. The transaction also will require approval from federal regulatory agencies. There are 29 acute care hospitals in Connecticut and all but one operate as nonprofits. Last year, the General Assembly passed legislation it felt would make it easier for these for-profit hospital chains to acquire non-profit hospitals. After going through that new process, Tenet withdrew its application after spending at least two years trying to acquire Connecticut hospitals. ….

Waterbury Hospital Strikes New Deal
Source: Harriet Jones, WNPR, May 5, 2015

Waterbury Hospital has found a new buyer. The financially troubled institution could be acquired by a California-based hospital group. Prospect Medical Holdings is the latest suitor for Waterbury Hospital. Prospect currently operates 13 hospitals and 40 clinics and outpatient centers in California, Texas, and Rhode Island. This latest partnership has come together after Tenet Healthcare pulled out of a deal to buy Waterbury and four other hospitals in the state, complaining about overly burdensome state regulations. …
Waterbury Hospital has new plans to be purchased, turn for-profit
Source: Arielle Levin Becker, CT Mirror, May 5, 2015

Waterbury Hospital Waterbury Hospital has announced plans to be acquired by a private Los Angeles-based health care company, the latest move in the hospital’s quest for long-term stability. Prospect Medical Holdings, which operates 13 hospitals and 40 clinics and outpatient centers in California, Texas and Rhode Island, is Waterbury’s third potential buyer in five years….On Tuesday, Waterbury Hospital released https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/2072180/waterbury-hospital-and-prospect-medical-holdings.pdf a series of questions and answers about the proposed transaction, including some blunt questions related to the legacy of the previous deals. …“Prospect has a strong reputation as an ethical and responsible healthcare company, and maintains positive, collaborative relationships with its physicians, employees, labor unions and payers, as well as with the communities served by its hospitals,” the document said.

Tenet’s Plan To Buy Connecticut Hospitals Is Dead
Source: Matthew Sturdevant and Christopher Keating, Hartford Courant, February 5, 2015

A final effort to salvage plans by a for-profit hospital chain to buy five nonprofit hospitals in Connecticut fell apart Wednesday afternoon as both Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Tenet Healthcare Corp. said that they could not reconcile their differences. “We believe it is best for the hospitals, their employees and the communities they serve to move forward exploring other options,” Malloy and Tenet said in a joint announcement. ….

Tenet CEO Skewers Regulatory Environment, But Is Open To A Deal
Source: Matthew Sturdevant, Hartford Courant, January 22, 2015

Tenet Healthcare’s CEO Trevor Fetter skewered Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration and state regulators in a Jan. 16 letter, saying the state put “excessively onerous” conditions on Tenet’s plans to buy five non-profit hospital in the state. Fetter, however, did leave the door open to negotiate a deal, and laid terms for the start of an agreement. …. “It has been reported that our unfortunate experience was due to pressure placed on your administration by labor unions,” Fetter wrote. “As I mentioned to you in our initial meeting, roughly 20 percent of our total employee base of over 100,000 people is represented by unions.”

Tenet ready to renegotiate hospitals deal with Malloy Waterbury Hospital deal part of discussions
Source: Republican American, January 22, 2015

Tenet Healthcare Corp. is accepting Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s offer to discuss the possibility of Tenet reviving its plans to acquire five Connecticut hospitals. A Malloy spokesman said Tenet Senior Vice President Trip Pilgrim and Mark Ojakian, the governor’s chief of staff, are now in direct communications. In a letter dated Monday, Tenet Healthcare CEO Trevor Fetter laid out a framework for productive negotiations upon which a mutually acceptable agreement could possibly be reached.

Editorial – ‘Termination fee’ could be a start in reducing ECHN deficit
Source: Journal Inquirer, Janaury 21 ,2105

A “termination fee” of $3.15 million from the Tenet Healthcare Corp. to Eastern Connecticut Health Network would help to balance the hospital network’s budget for at least one year. Hopefully someone at ECHN already has asked Tenet for the money, since Tenet walked away from the proposed merger. Perhaps Waterbury Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury also have such a contractual “termination fee” deal with Tenet. If so, they should also demand payment….

Waterbury Hospital CEO Calls on Gov. Malloy to Help Salvage Tenet Deal
Source: Lucy Nalpathanchil, WNPR, December 16, 2014

Five hospitals in Connecticut are contemplating their next steps after Texas-based Tenet Healthcare withdrew a bid to buy the hospitals last week. The CEO of one of the biggest hospitals in the failed deal said they’re now looking to Hartford for help. Last week, Tenet Healthcare cited the state’s approach to regulatory oversight as the reason it pulled its bid to buy Waterbury Hospital, St. Mary’s, Manchester Memorial, Bristol, and Rockville General hospitals….

Waterbury hospital on life support
Source: Tony Terzi, FoxCT, December 16, 2014

Hospital execs express frustration over failed Tenet deals
Source: Brad Kane, Greg Bordonaro, Matt Pilon, Hartford Business, December 12, 2014

After warning state regulators on Wednesday that conditions placed on its acquisition of Waterbury Hospital could scuttle the deal, Tenet Healthcare pulled the plug on its plans to purchase five Connecticut hospitals. Tenet notified the state Office of Health Care Access and the attorney general late Thursday evening that it would not continue its purchase of Waterbury, St. Mary’s, Bristol, Manchester Memorial, and Rockville General hospitals and convert them from nonprofit to a for-profit model….All Connecticut hospitals that were vying for a Tenet acquisition are in need of capital injections. If Tenet doesn’t come back to the negotiating table, the hospitals will need to find other partners, or ask the state legislature for significant funding increases. But the hospital’s merger options have now been significantly narrowed, because there are few other Connecticut hospitals with the capital to take on financially struggling care providers. At the same time, the state may have alienated the entire for-profit hospital industry with the strict conditions it imposed on Tenet, including requiring the appointment of an independent monitor, the freezing of pricing and staff levels for five or more years, the filing of strategic spending and hiring plans, and various other oversight and disclosures….

Waterbury Hospital Could See Layoffs, Reduced Services After Tenet Deal
Source: Brian Dowling, Christopher Keating, Hartford Courant, December 12, 2014

….The deal for for-profit Tenet to purchase not-for-profit Waterbury Hospital was part of a broader plan by Tenet to buy five hospitals in Connecticut that seemed to be rounding the final turn of a process stretching through at least two legislative sessions of intense lobbying. Despite the hospital’s precarious financial position, the state speaker of the house said he would not support a taxpayer-funded bailout of Waterbury Hospital if it came to that point in the future….

Collapse of Tenet’s Connecticut deals shows fissures on for-profit entry
Source: Beth Kutscher, Modern Healthcare, December 12, 2014

….But the deal encountered roadblocks in Connecticut, which has only one investor-owned medical center, 78-bed Sharon (Conn.) Hospital, part of RegionalCare Hospital Partners. The state also has a particularly broad corporate practice of medicine law, and the trend toward physician employment has been controversial in the state. To circumvent those restrictions, Tenet in March formed a partnership with Yale that would have created joint clinical networks, with Yale trading its brand and expertise in exchange for a minority stake in the newly acquired hospitals. As a not-for-profit entity, Yale’s participation also would have created another avenue for the hospitals to employ physicians.
Earlier this month, Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen approved Tenet’s deal for Waterbury (Conn.) Hospital with 21 conditions that were largely financial. The state’s Office of Health Care Access also seemed to offer its support to the takeover but imposed 47 more-arduous conditions…..

Fears realized – Manchester mayor had warned state restrictions threatened Tenet deal
Source: Eli Freund, Journal Inquirer, December 13, 2014

Mayors in Manchester and Waterbury, two towns that are home to hospitals involved in the now-defunct sale to Tenet Healthcare Corp., in recent days had aired their displeasure with the extensive list of restrictions the state placed on the deal — restrictions they feared would cause the sale to crumble.
And on Thursday, the Texas-based, for-profit Tenet announced it would abandon its plans to acquire five hospitals in Connecticut. The deal — more than two years in the making— would have seen Tenet acquire Waterbury Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, Bristol Hospital, and Eastern Connecticut Health Network, which owns Rockville General Hospital in Vernon and Manchester Memorial Hospital….

Unions Continue To Express Concerns Over Hospital Conversions
Source: Cara Rosner, CT News Junkie, October 24, 2014

A senior official at the Dallas-based corporation trying to buy community hospitals in Bristol, Vernon, Manchester and Waterbury says privatizing them is the best way to keep them viable, but employee representatives have major concerns about the potential buyouts….

For-profit hospital deal gets done. Then, doubts behind the scenes
Source: Arielle Levin Becker, CT Mirror, May 9, 2014

Late Wednesday night, lawmakers managed to accomplish something many doubted would be possible: Crafting a compromise that could clear the way for four Connecticut hospitals to be acquired by a for-profit company, in a way that would mollify both unions critical of the transactions and hospitals wary of additional state oversight. The measure cleared the House and Senate by wide margins. Union leaders supported the deal. Hospital lobbyists looked pleased. But for some legislators key to the deal, any sense of celebration after the deal was short-lived. Their concern: The response to the bill by Tenet Healthcare and the Yale New Haven Health System, which are partnering to acquire Waterbury, Bristol, Manchester Memorial and Rockville General hospitals. ….

Hospital Privatization Debate Takes Hold In General Assembly
Source: William Weir, Hartford Courant, February 27, 2014

Several Connecticut hospitals are looking to form partnerships with for-profit companies — a change that some say is necessary for hospitals to survive but that others charge would emphasize money over health care and community needs. Thursday, the legislature’s labor and public employees committee heard arguments for and against a bill that would put restrictions on hospitals seeking to convert from nonprofit to for-profit. The bill would require, among other things, that hospitals maintain staffing levels for at least three years after receiving the attorney general’s approval for converting to for-profit status, and to maintain the same employee salaries and benefits that were in place before the conversion. Tenet Healthcare Corp., a Dallas-based for-profit company that has partnered with Yale New Haven Health System, is negotiating to acquire Waterbury Hospital. Bristol Hospital and Eastern Connecticut Health Network are also in merger talks with Tenet. …

Gov. Malloy says ‘progress is being made’
Source: Michael Schroeder, Bristol Press, February 27, 2014

Gov. Dannel Malloy says “progress is being made” on legislation related to the long-awaited sale of Bristol Hospital to Tenet Healthcare, although there is much work to be done. The governor responded to questions about the hospital negotiations during a telephone conference call with editors of state newspapers Wednesday. The focus of the call was on the billion-dollar United Technologies expansion agreement announced the previous day. Malloy recommitted to evaluating privatization of nonprofit hospitals based on how such a move would impact patient care, hospital employees and contributors to the hospitals involved, adding that evaluation and legislation on a case-by-case basis would likely be necessary. He said he would be open to privatization if necessary, but his preference was for the hospitals “to remain in the same hands as they are now.” Bristol Hospital — along with the hospitals of Eastern Connecticut Health Network in Manchester — have purchase agreements pending with Tenet, which purchased Vanguard Healthcare, the originators of the acquisition….

Workers want protections in hospital mergers
Source: Don Michak, Journal Inquirer December 4, 2013

The General Assembly should not allow the state’s nonprofit hospitals to be converted to for-profit entities without taking steps to ensure safe nurse-to-patient ratios, preserve the jobs of support workers, and protect employee pensions, union officials say….Similarly, the leader of the union that represents 400 nurses at Waterbury Hospital said lawmakers should require “for-profit converters” to make certain guarantees. Waterbury Hospital, along with Bristol Hospital and Eastern Connecticut Health Network’s Manchester Memorial and Rockville General hospitals, has been targeted for takeover by the Texas hospital chain Tenet Healthcare. Barbara Simonetta, president of Connecticut Health Associates, said such guarantees would include agreements to maintain access to current health services and affordable care. She said the for-profits also should agree to maintain “quality staffing and hospital employees’ standard of living” and to comply with “community benefits” provisions, including patient and worker protections. Simonetta also complained that Waterbury Hospital was making “cuts to woo investors to its fire sale” and accused Tenet of “stealing our retirement security to line investors’ pockets.”…

Committee Hears Pros & Cons of For-Profit vs. Nonprofit Hospitals
Source: Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie, December 4, 2013

Tempers flared at the end of the this year’s legislative session over a bill that would have made it easier for a private, for-profit hospital company to purchase physician practices from a nonprofit hospital that it planned to take over….Waterbury Hospital was the first to start courting for-profit suitors like Vanguard Health Systems, a Tennessee-based for-profit hospital operator that was recently acquired by another Texas-based for-profit company called Tenet HealthCare Corporation. Tenet has been in negotiations with Waterbury Hospital and has been courted by Bristol Hospital, and Eastern Connecticut Health Network. But the question lawmakers will have to answer is: Would a for-profit risk quality care in order to achieve savings for shareholders?…

Officials on hospital takeovers: Not so fast
Source: Don Michak, Journal Inquirer, July 30, 2013

…Barnes and other administration officials say the out-of-state companies and corporate buyout firms that would acquire or merge with the hospitals and convert them into for-profit providers should not be allowed to make the switch without a major public “discussion.”… The officials spoke with the Journal Inquirer in recent days as Eastern Connecticut Health Network, the nonprofit owner of Manchester Memorial and Rockville General hospitals, is poised to “partner” with one of two larger for-profit hospital systems based in Tennessee and Texas….

…Attorney General Jepsen, who along with the commissioner of the state health department has power of approval over sale of nonprofit hospitals, agreed with Barnes that conversions are “kind of the wave of the future,” adding, “We’re not going to be able to turn back the clock.” Asked if he is concerned that a community’s needs no longer would be the priority of a former nonprofit, Jepsen demurred, asserting that the attorney general’s role in a conversion is limited…. Jepsen added that Sharon Hospital “is the only completed conversion,” referring to the Litchfield County facility acquired in 2002 by the Tennessee for-profit system, Essent Healthcare….

Commentary: Say no to outsourcing custodians

Source: Michael Zilles, President of Newton Teachers Association, Wicked Local, June 10, 2016

The Newton Teachers Association is appalled by the efforts of the School Committee, under Chairman Matt Hills, to outsource the work of the school custodians. It is bad enough that, having outsourced the work of cafeteria workers, Newton already employs the working poor to serve its children lunch; now the committee wants the working poor to clean their schools. … To date, members of the NTA have publicly stated two critical reasons why outsourcing is wrong:

  1. Outsourcing is unsafe. Our custodians are trusted and valued members of the school communities where they work. Contract custodians would not be a part of these communities, and the schools they work in would be neither as clean nor as safe as they are now.
  2. Outsourcing is hypocritical. Newton has prioritized improving the achievement of poor and minority students— closing the achievement gap. Yet by replacing solid middle-class jobs with low- paying contract jobs, Newton would be contributing to the very economic conditions that create that gap.

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Newton School Committee, custodians at odds over outsourcing
Source: Laura Lovett, Wicked Local, May 18, 2016

After almost two years of contract negotiations, custodians and the School Committee are at a stalemate, the issue of outsourcing emerging as one obstacle to reaching an agreement. A jurisdiction clause dating back to the 1990s allows only union custodians to perform custodial work in the school buildings. At issue is whether the clause will be removed from a new contract. If the clause were to be removed some custodians could be replaced with contract employees making lower wages, according to Alan McDonald, the attorney representing the Newton Public School Custodians Association. Currently there are roughly 80 custodians in the schools. … In the response, outsourcing was discussed at length. The response said the School Committee presented several proposals with the goal of efficiency in operations and saving money. A consultant’s report by Core Management Services LLC, commissioned by the School Committee in 2015, identified potential annual cost savings through outsourcing of up to $3 million. …

DMV Computer Error Means 50,000 Will Receive Incorrect Car Tax Bills

Source: Jon Lender, Hartford Courant, June 8, 2016

The Department of Motor Vehicles admitted Wednesday that about 50,000 incorrect car tax bills will be mailed to Connecticut drivers as a result of its continuing computer nightmare, which has sent faulty information to municipal assessors about what vehicles are in their towns. … Local tax officials complained early this year of errors on tax lists after the DMV switched to an upgraded, supposedly improved computer system for vehicle registrations. Wednesday’s announcement served notice that the fears of those officials are about to become a reality. … The foul-up with the tax bills is the latest result of the problem-plagued $26 million computer upgrade performed for the state by contractor 3M Company. When the new system for registrations went live last summer, near-chaos descended on the DMV as customer wait times tripled and customers waited as long as eight hours for service. In January, the DMV commissioner in charge of the change, Andres Ayala Jr., resigned after apologizing to motorists whose registrations were revoked erroneously. …

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Malloy hires corporate customer-service expert at DMV
Source: Mark Pazniokas, CTMirror, March 16, 2016

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy named a new team Wednesday, including a retired corporate executive with experience fixing customer service systems, to oversee the outsized headache the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles has become. The governor, who accepted the resignation of the DMV commissioner in January amid chronic computer problems and near-nightly television stories about long lines and angry customers, named Michael Bzdyra as commissioner and Judeen Wrinn as deputy. Wrinn’s title, however, is a misnomer. The former executive of Aetna, ING and Voya will have one full-time job: to diagnose and repair a customer-service disaster that DMV officials blame on a new computer system that went live in August.

DMV Head Says Privatizing Services May Reduce Waiting
Source: Alban Murtishi, Hartford Courant, February 29, 2016

At a public hearing of the General Assembly’s Transportation Committee Monday, Acting Commissioner Dennis Murphy detailed a few ways the DMV can further reduce wait times. One strategy would be to allow the DMV to enter into contracts with independent contractors and delegate simple transactions to them and provide motorists with more options. For example, the American Automobile Association already processes some driver’s license renewals, and the proposal could expand their services to process vehicle registration. This would include a $5 convenience fees for the transactions. … One potential roadblock facing the proposal is that some DMV processes require special licensing and regulation that would be difficult to implement at AAA, such as license registration. Additionally, some DMV employees are opposed to more privatization after the fallout from glitches with the $26 million computer system, which was installed by a private company, 3M.

Editorial: Outsourcing more Connecticut DMV services is a worthy idea
Source: New Haven Register, February 11, 2016

But drivers who spend hours waiting in line to conduct business at the DMV probably could not care less about who is providing the service as much as whether it can be provided efficiently and expeditiously. The answer to that right now is a resounding no. … According to the America Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, at least 18 states outsource some of their DMV services and at least 10 states outsource driving tests for licenses to private companies. Allowing the state to enter into contracts with private contractors — such as AAA, which already provides non-commericial drivers license services — will reduce frustration at DMV branches, allow people to get things done more quickly and relieve stress levels for overworked DMV employees and cusotmers.

Malloy proposes expanding outsourcing of DMV services
Source: Mike Savino, Journal Inquirer, February 10, 2016

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Tuesday that he is proposing a bill that would expand the services Connecticut outsources from the Department of Motor Vehicles. The proposal, “An Act Decreasing Wait Times,” would allow outside contractors like AAA to provide vehicle registration services — currently the drivers’ club provides only non-commercial license services. … While Malloy said the changes are needed to make the DMV more efficient, state AFL-CIO President Lori Pelletier said the performance of the software, purchased by 3M, should serve as a warning to those calling for more outsourcing.

Malloy Proposes Bill To Outsource Some DMV Services
Source: Christine Stuart, Connecticut News Junkie, February 9, 2016

Malloy introduced legislation last week that allows the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to contract with a third party to offer vehicle registration services, postpones issuance of vessel titles until 2018, and permits residents to register their vehicle even if they haven’t paid property taxes or parking tickets. The title of the legislation is called “An Act Decreasing Wait Times at the Department of Motor Vehicles.” … “The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles is already an outsourcing disaster,” Lori Pelletier, president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, said. She said over the past year the public has witnessed what happens when work is outsourced and there’s no data on whether it will save the state money in the long run. …

Wallingford Board of Education abandons plans to outsource food service

Source: Luther Turmelle, New Haven Register, May 25, 2016

The Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday night to abandon efforts to outsource the district’s food service operations to a private company in time for the 2016-17 school year. The voted ended weeks of anxiety on the part of the district’s food service workers, who now will have an opportunity to prove to the board that they can run cafeterias at Wallingford’s school without losing money. The board’s decision came after a 90-minute meeting behind closed doors with the attorney for the school district. The board began exploring having an outside vendor run the district’s cafeterias after the board had to prop up the food service operations with a $127,000 influx of cash at the end of 2015. … But the decision to abandon the outsourcing efforts had as much to do with the tight timeline the board was facing to bring in a vendor as it did with concern for the district’s cafeteria workers. State Department of Education officials told the board that because of a snafu earlier in the bidding process this year, the outsourcing of the food service contract had to be completely reopen to proposals from multiple vendors. …

Middletown School Board Ends Contract With Outside Firm To Hire Facilities Director

Source: Shawn R. Beals, Hartford Courant, May 11, 2016

The board of education will end its relationship with facilities management company Sodexo, opting to hire its own facilities director instead of outsourcing the duties. … The board voted unanimously against renewing Sodexo’s contract for the 2016-17 fiscal year. The contract was set to increase about $20,000 in the next fiscal year to about $1.97 million. The current contract will expire at the end of the fiscal year June 30. The board had paid the company to bring in a manager and handle a host of duties within the $7.8 million facilities budget including day-to-day supervision, purchasing and project management. … AFSCME Local 466 has been asking the school board to end the contract for three years. The union is pleased with the vote, said union spokesman Larry Dorman. …

Related:

Middletown School Board Extends Sodexo Contract Despite Union Objections
Source: Shawn R. Beals, Courant, June 11, 2015

The board of education on Tuesday night extended the contract of facilities management company Sodexo for the 2015-16 school year, despite objections from both the union representing facilities staff and Republican board members. Those who supported the contract said they expect better performance from Sodexo in personnel matters, but are pleased with much of the company’s performance in cutting costs and accomplishing projects that have been delayed for years. The board voted 4-3 to extend the contract, which will cost $1.95 million. …

Sodexo comes under fire at Middletown school board meeting
Source: Brian Zahn, Middletown Press, March 12, 2015

Members of the Board of Education authorized Superintendent Patricia Charles to find a disinterested party to conduct an independent review of how much the facilities management company Sodexo is saving the school district Tuesday. …. Thibodeau also referenced a Jan. 6 incident in which Woodrow Wilson Middle School cafeteria workers reported a gas odor in the morning, and Sodexo facilities management director Judy Yoder ordered employees to continue working, which he believes put the employees and students’ lives at risk. Woodrow Wilson building Superintendent Denise Privott also told the board that the savings Sodexo approved for things such as garbage bags and cleaning supplies provided her with low-quality equipment that made custodial work excessively difficult….

Middletown Union Objects To School District Outsourcing
Source: Shawn R. Beals, Hartford Courant, May 2, 2014

The city employee union said it objects to the board of education’s outsourcing of cafeteria and facilities management. The board approved hiring Sodexo, a Maryland-based national company, about a year ago in an attempt to stop yearly deficits from the school cafeterias. The contract did not include layoffs, but replaced the facilities director and food service director, who both took an early retirement incentive offer. …. Union officials say they remain unconvinced about the benefits of outsourcing local operations. “It’s very easy to say it’s providing savings, but it’s a lot harder to prove,” said Larry Dorman, a spokesman for AFSCME Council 4, the parent union for Middletown Local 466. “These are complicated agreements so there definitely is a problem with transparency too.”