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Photo of Senator Terry Gerratana.

STATE SENATOR

Terry Gerratana

Healthy Families, Healthy Communities

2018 Legislative Progress Report

As Chair of the Public Health Committee, I worked hard this past year to introduce and lead legislative passage of groundbreaking reforms that will have a lasting impact on Connecticut's health care policy. Despite the 18-18 party tie in the state Senate, we were able to work together as a team, and in a collaborative, bipartisan way, to make the 2018 session the most productive and significant year of my legislative service.

This e-news is the third in a series of weekly articles that provide you with an update and analysis of my legislative accomplishments for this past 2018 session.

Follow this link for a full listing of my 2018 Legislative Progress Report.
 

Emergency

Protection from Unnecessary Fees & Coverage for Prosthetic Devices

Protection from Unnecessary Emergency Room Fees

Too many people find it difficult to tell whether an office is a freestanding emergency room or an urgent care clinic. The charges at a freestanding emergency room are much higher. This bill creates a definition of a Free Standing Emergency Department, changes the definition for an Urgent Care Center, and creates a signage requirement for a Free Standing Emergency Department. Now patients will not be surprised when they get an Emergency Department-level bill but think they went to an urgent care clinic.

Health Insurance Fairness for Prosthetic Devices

Connecticut has approximately 20,000 residents that are living with limb loss. This bill will require health insurance coverage for prosthetic arms and legs to help those living with limb loss. 20 other states have similar health insurance requirements, and this will bring Connecticut in line with those states.
 

Heat Wave Precautions

As you are well aware, heat and humidity have built across the region over the next several days, with average daytime temperatures ranging from 90-100 degrees.

When you add in dew points (humidity) in the high 60’s to mid-70’s, daytime temperatures will feel much hotter.

Summer

A heat wave is defined as three or more consecutive days with temperatures 90 degrees or above, so Connecticut is definitely in the midst of a major heat wave!

Here are some tips to deal with this extreme heat:

  • CALL 211 TO FIND A COOLING CENTER near you. The elderly, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at highest risk. Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. If your home is not air-conditioned, you can reduce your risk for heat-related illness by spending time in a cooling center that is air-conditioned.
  • Several factors affect your body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather. When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly. Other conditions related to risk include age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use.
  • Drink Plenty of Fluids. During hot weather you will need to increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. If you’re exerting yourself in a hot environment, drink 16-32 ounces (two to four glasses) of cool fluids every hour.
  • Replace Salt and Minerals. Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body, but these are necessary for your health and must be replaced. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. However, if you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage or taking salt tablets.
  • Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen. Wear as little clothing as possible when you are at home. If you must go outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) along with sunglasses, and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels) 30 minutes prior to going out. Continue to reapply it according to the package directions.
  • Schedule Outdoor Activities Carefully. If you must be outdoors, try to limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. Try to rest often in shady areas so that your body’s own internal thermostat will have a chance to recover.
  • Monitor People at High Risk. Infants and young children are sensitive to the effects of high temperatures and rely on others to regulate their environments and provide adequate liquids. People 65 years of age or older may not compensate for heat stress efficiently and are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. People who are overweight may be prone to heat sickness because of their tendency to retain more body heat. Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.
  • Do Not Leave Children or Pets in Cars, even for a moment, even with the windows down!