The Capitol Beat: December 23-27, 2013

From Gaffney, Bennett & Associates

   December 23, 2013 – December 27, 2013

We want to raise a toast to you –- our readers and friends — in hopes that you are enjoying some well-deserved R&R over the holidays and preparing for a new year full of new possibilities and promise!  Gaffney, Bennett and Associates wishes you Good Luck and Godspeed in 2014.

  • CNN Poll Indicates Many Americans Not Feeling Recovery

On a somber note, in a new poll conducted by CNN/ORC released Friday, nearly 70% of respondents said the economy is generally in poor shape, and only 32% rated it good.  These numbers represent the long-term unemployed, the under-employed and those who have dropped out of — or never entered — the workforce. Many of them will be facing the loss of unemployment benefits before long, and hence aren’t buying big-ticket items like furniture or appliances. In fact, 36% said they were cutting back spending on food or medicine, up from 31% in late 2008.

The poll includes 1,035 adults surveyed by telephone between Dec. 16 and 19. It had a sampling error of plus or minus three points.

  • State Enters into 3-year Anti-Fraud Contract

The Malloy administration this week announced that three state agencies — the Office of Policy and Management, the Department of Social Services and the Department of Revenue Services — have entered into a three-year contract with a Texas firm –- 21CT –- to begin rooting out fraud and waste in state programs and contracts with the aim of recovering and saving millions of dollars.  The 2014-15 biennial budgetanticipates the anti-fraud effort can achieve $65 million in recoveries and cost-avoidance this year and $104 million next year. It is anticipated that over time, additional state agencies and their data will be added to this initiative with a resultant expansion of the scope of work.

  • Advisory Committee Appointed to Oversee Bioscience Fund

Connecticut Innovations, the state’s quasi-public venture capital authority, this week announced the appointees who will serve on the 13-member Bioscience Innovation Advisory Committee.  The Committee is charged with overseeing the operations and expenditures of the $200 million Connecticut Bioscience Insurance Fund, created by Public Act 13-239. The Advisory Committee members include:  Steven Hanks, M.D., vice president of medical affairs for Hartford Healthcare-Central Region; Peter Farina, PhD, executive in residence, Canaan Partners; Joseph Kaliko, J.D., CEO of Gaming Innovations International; Marc Lalande, PhD., Health Net Professor and chair of the Department of Genetics and Developmental Biology, and executive director of Genomics and Personalized Medicine Programs, UConn; William LaRochelle, PhD., head of healthcare and key opinion leader management, Roche 454 Sequencing Solutions International; Charles Lee, PhD., scientific director, The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine; Jewel Mullen, M.D., Commissioner of the CT Department of Public Health (ex-officio); Claire Leonardi, CEO of CT Innovations (chair); Alan Mendelson, general partner, Axiom Venture Partners; Edmund Pezalla, M.D., M.P.H., national medical director for pharmaceutical policy, Aetna; Carolyn Slayman, PhD., Sterling Professor of Genetics, professor of cellular and molecular physiology and Deputy Dean, Yale School of Medicine; Catherine Smith, Commissioner of the CT Department of Economic and Community Development (ex-officio); and Eleanor Tandler, founder and CEO, Novatract Surgical.

  • Mental Health Parity Featured on Insurance Department’s Website

The CT Department of Insurance has launched a new web page on its website to promote mental health parity and provide families with resources and insurance coverage information.  The site’s Behavioral Health Toolkit offers a template that families and providers can use to submit to insurance companies for preauthorization of medically necessary behavioral health services.   Other available resources can help consumers navigate the claims process and gain a better understanding of their lawful rights. For more info, right click here:

  • DESPP Commissioner to Retire in Early 2014

CT Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) Commissioner Reuben F. Bradford, one of Governor Malloy’s early appointments, has announced he will hang up his cleats come February 1, 2014.  Bradford spearheaded a top-to-bottom revamp of the agency and steered it through the Sandy Hook tragedy, along with 5 presidential emergency declarations.

  • Did You Know…

There are numerous 2013 Public Acts that take effect with the advent of the New Year.  To have a look, right click here:

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