State hospitals want quick answer on controversial tax
Published 7:54 pm, Monday, February 8, 2016
Connecticut hospitals want the state to decide sooner rather than later on the constitutionality and legality of the state’s controversial hospital tax.
The Connecticut Hospital Association and 24 hospitals, including Danbury, Bridgeport, Norwalk, Stamford and Greenwich, filed documents last fall requesting the state departments of revenue and social services issue declaratory rulings that the tax is invalid and unenforceable — a key step toward a possible legal battle with the state.
The state had 60 days to respond and did so in a five-page letter last week, asking for an extension to rule by Nov. 30. If the hospitals declined, the state said, it would rule by May 28.
“After speaking with our clients, we believe we can meet the shorter schedule for a declaratory ruling,” said Ronald W. Zdrojeski, an attorney representing the hospitals, in a Feb. 4 letter to the state.
“Candidly, as the Hospitals continue to be subject to a tax burden of $139 million a quarter and are receiving virtually none of the payments they are due, we believe a prompt ruling on our request for a declaratory ruling is in everyone’s interest,” Zdrojeski said.
Connecticut hospital officials and advocates have repeatedly said the way the hospital tax is administered is costing them millions of dollars and forcing hospitals to cut services and staff.
The governor and state officials have countered by shaming health care executives over their multi-million-dollar salaries and the hospitals’ profit margins, and by noting the increasing Medicaid payments going to the hospitals.