Martin M. Looney

Senate President Pro Tempore

Martin M. Looney

An Advocate for Us

July 23, 2021

Looney Applauds Governor’s Action Approving Cost-Saving Outpatient Treatment for Seriously Ill Undocumented State Residents

HARTFORD – Two months after he suggested that the State of Connecticut change its “inhumane and financially unsound” policy when it comes to permanently hospitalizing seriously ill undocumented residents, Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) today applauded Governor Ned Lamont for allowing such residents to receive less-costly outpatient medical treatment.

“The governor has taken a very positive public policy step forward in allowing undocumented residents to receive certain medical treatments on an out-patient basis, instead of requiring them to be treated via the enormously expensive inpatient basis that has been our state Medicaid policy for some time,” Sen. Looney said. “Not only does this free people from essentially living in hospitals away from their families and their community connections, but it’s a huge cost savings to taxpayers, in some cases on the order of hundreds of thousands of dollars per person. And this policy change affects more than 100 people. It’s a very welcome development.”

News reports today detail the governor’s policy change whereby the state Department of Social Services will now allow undocumented residents with serious, emergency medical conditions like kidney dialysis to have those services performed on a much-less expensive outpatient basis, instead of only covering costs for in-patient hospital stays.

In a May 25 letter, Sen. Looney detailed the problem, noting that undocumented persons living in Connecticut can receive Medicaid coverage for an Emergency Medical Condition (EMC), such as inpatient dialysis

But that inpatient dialysis treatment – costing upwards of $1 million a year – wouldn’t qualify as an EMC for Medicaid coverage for outpatient treatment, which costs about 90% less.

“This policy seems not only inhumane but also financially unsound,” Sen. Looney wrote in May. “Allowing Medicaid Coverage for outpatient dialysis would allow this patient to go home and it would also save money for the state. I urge you to make this change as soon as possible.”