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News from State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr.

March 11, 2016

Capitol address
Legislative Office Building
Room 3200
Hartford, CT 06106-1591

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On the Web

Capitol: 860-240-0455
Toll-free: 1-800-842-1420
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Working with Advocates to Improve Our State Parks

state parks
This week, I had the opportunity to speak with the Friends of Connecticut State Parks about a number of initiatives I am working on to better support our parks. Connecticut's state parks are some of our state's greatest assets, and I am committed to supporting them so that they can continue to operate for many years to come. Hammonasset Beach State Park and other state parks provide great recreational opportunities for Connecticut residents, but are also a vital piece of our economy. A 2011 study conducted at UConn shows that Connecticut's parks make an annual contribution of over 9,000 private-sector jobs and $1 billion to the economy. According to this study, every $1 spent on state parks returns $38 to Connecticut's economy.

The Environment Committee held a public hearing on several bills concerning state parks, including one that would create a sustainability fund to pay for maintenance and operation. I believe it is critical that we support Connecticut's state parks system. Don't hesitate to contact my office and let me know if you have any thoughts on these two bills or any of your own ideas on how to improve the state parks system.

Taking Part in Connecticut Business Day at the Capitol

This week, I had the opportunity to meet with business leaders and trade groups from across the state as part of "Connecticut Business Day" at the State Capitol. This was a great opportunity to speak about how we can use state policy to better support our business community. Later this month, I will be hosting a similar event for businesses in the communities I represent. It is critical that we look to business leaders and encourage them to share their ideas about how we can work together to break down barriers and drive further economic activity and growth in the region. I will continue to work with business leaders from our region and our state to promote new, innovative ideas that will help us build a stronger economic future for Connecticut.

Bringing Fairness to Mental Health Coverage in Connecticut

healthcareThis week, the Public Health Committee voted unanimously to support a bill I introduced that aims to prevent the unfair treatment of people in need of mental health care. There is sufficient evidence that health insurers in Connecticut are far more likely to ask for and to deny preauthorization for mental health care than they are for surgical or medical services. This bill would require health providers to report the number of pre-authorization requests and denials for mental health-related services compared with statistics for other forms of medical care. This information would allow us to determine if an unfair discrepancy of denials exists and take action to ensure that Connecticut residents receive the care they need.

During the public hearing for this bill, multiple Connecticut medical professionals testified that they have encountered a concerning amount of resistance from health insurers when trying to get mental health care for patients. Last year, the state of New York determined that many health plans denied nearly 40 percent of their members' claims for inpatient psychiatric treatment and nearly 50 percent of claims for inpatient substance abuse treatment, more than double the denial rate for inpatient medical or surgical claims. In 2012, the denial rate for mental health services was nearly seven times the rate for other claims. If similar conditions exist in Connecticut, many of our residents will not be able to access these services, dramatically reducing our state's ability to address the growing addiction epidemic.


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My mailing address is:
Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr., Legislative Office Building, Room 3200, Hartford, Connecticut 06106
Capitol telephone: 860-240-0455, or Toll-free: 1-800-842-1420

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