Legislators blast state budget cuts to Bristol Hospital

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By MIKE CHAIKEN

Bristol’s state legislators are protesting budget rescissions made by the governor that will impact Bristol Hospital.

“I am extremely disappointed by the governor’s decision to cut state aid to municipalities and specifically funding for Bristol Hospital by $5.9 million. This past legislative session I worked with the House Democrat leadership to develop and pass a budget that increased municipal aid to Bristol and provided $4.8 million for Bristol Hospital which was approved by the General Assembly,” said state Rep. Frank Nicastro, D-Bristol in a press release.

“I am proud to be the only member of Bristol’s legislative delegation to vote for a budget that delivered $4.8 million to the Bristol Hospital. The future of the Bristol Hospital and its great employees deserved my support and they got it with my budget vote,” said Nicastro in the press release.

“House Speaker Brendan Sharkey has expressed his disappointment and opposition to the governor’s action,” said Nicastro. “I will be working with Speaker Sharkey as he has said to continue to monitor the status of the budget and look to mitigate the cuts during the next session of the General Assembly.”

“It is evident through these latest cuts by Gov. Malloy that we can now add our community hospitals to the list of businesses that are not welcome in this state,” said State Rep. Whit Betts (R-Bristol) in a press release. “It is disingenuous for the governor to claim that creating jobs and stimulating the economy is a priority but then unilaterally put cuts into motion that will inevitably force hospitals to lay off their staff, only further exacerbating the burden carried by Connecticut taxpayers, and to cut programs that the state’s most vulnerable patients rely on, risking the health of the residents of our state.”

“It is unconscionable that the governor’s ‘balancing of the budget’ is not only on the backs of the taxpayers, but also is now at the expense of their health and well-being,” said Betts in his news release.

State Rep. Cara Pavalock said in a press release, “I am very concerned about the action taken by Gov. Malloy with these latest cuts to our community hospitals. Our community hospitals, including Bristol Hospital, are a staple part of our local economies as well as the state’s economy. This action will inevitably force hospitals to lay off staff, which will have severe consequences on their ability to continue to provide healthcare services and programs for those most in need.”

“It is unfortunate that the governor is choosing to balance the state budget not only on the backs of, but now at the expense of, the health and well-being of the people of Connecticut,” said Pavalock in the press release. “I stand with all community hospitals and my fellow Republican legislators in calling for a special session to address this very serious issue. The best solutions come from productive discussion among all of those involved. Let’s go back to the table, and let’s have those conversations and develop equitable solutions. Jeopardizing the health and well-being of Connecticut residents is not the answer to this problem.”

State Sen. Henri Martin (R-Bristol), Pavalock (R-Bristol), and Betts have joined with Republicans in the House and Senate to call for a special legislative session to be 0held.

The special session, they said in a press release would allow Democrats and Republicans to reject the governor’s proposed cuts and make broad changes to the state budget.

“This is about Bristol Hospital’s future, this is about the future of health care access in Connecticut, and we need everyone to make their voices heard,” Martin said in a press release. “An aggressive letter writing campaign has begun, and it aims to get the governor to rethink these budget cuts. Visit www.bristolhospital.org for more information about the campaign and please spread the word.”

“This is an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to right a wrong,” Pavalock said in the press release. “We should get back into special session as soon as possible to restore these funds for Bristol Hospital. We really need the public’s help, so please speak out by visiting www.bristolhospital.org today.”

The Republicans also said the public may contact Malloy’s office during business hours at (860)566-4840.