by JAMILA YOUNG
Members of the local business community gathered for a Legislative Roundtable on Thursday, Oct. 17. The event held at Bristol Hospital was hosted by the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce.
The guest speaker was Keegan Shepardson, a US Small Business Administration advocacy rep who works with the White House, Congress, and regulatory agencies to push for reform and/or repeal.
Deputy district director of SBA in Connecticut, Julio Casiano, spoke about how the SBA can help small businesses. He said that they are the largest lender to businesses, aside from banks. They can lend anywhere from $5,000 to $5 million. The SBA program is a taxpayer program with capped low interest rates.
President and CEO of Bristol Hospital Kurt Barwis also spoke about some issues faced by the local institution.
Barwis said the hospital recently received glowing reviews from its Joint Commission survey
Barwis also spoke about community health needs and the continuing issue surrounding the state hospital tax. He also noted concerns with the Medicare Advantage programs. Although it is an asset to the senior population, it needs regulation.. He said while it is an asset to seniors, it needs regulation.
Currently, he said, insurance companies will not authorize services on weekends or holidays. This leaves patients with no choice but to stay in the emergency room.
Barwis gave an example of a situation in his hospital where a cancer patient came in one Friday afternoon, and needed acute rehab. Since it was after 5 p.m., an insurance provider was not reachable. Barwis said he couldn’t leave the patient in the emergency room so they were admitted as an in-patient. There was no insurance authorization until Tuesday, and the n they had denied all services.
Barwis said Medicare Advantage recipients need to be informed about the details of the coverage.
“Medicare Advantage recipients are saving money until they need services,” said Barwis. “Federal rules need to change.”