Martha Marx


Martha Marx



September 28, 2023


This week, State Senator Martha Marx (D-New London) is proud as two of her first introduced bills, which will respectively improve patient outcomes and reduce rehospitalizations for those released from hospitals and cut pesky and frustrating charges from consumer bills, will become law on October 1 after being approved by legislators and signed into law earlier this year.

Senate Bill 956, which passed the Senate in May and the House in June with unanimous bipartisan support and will become law on October 1 after being signed by Governor Lamont, sets new standards for hospital and nursing home discharge planning services. Under its changes, written discharge plans will include dates and locations of follow-up medical appointments scheduled prior to patient discharge. Such plans will be made in consultation with patients, their families or representatives and their physicians; the information regarding prescriptions will also be sent to patient pharmacies electronically, making pharmacists part of the discharge plan. If a patient cannot see a specialist for at least three months, then their discharge plan will change based on the amount of medication they will require during that time.

“This bill is an example of why I wanted to become a State Senator – to introduce legislation that would help people,” said Sen. Marx. “I’m confident this bill will save lives and improve patient outcomes for those leaving hospitals and long-term care facilities. It will make sure that people who are discharged after receiving medical care have their follow-up appointments ready and that they and their pharmacists will know the medication they need to take. These seem like simple steps, but too many patients struggle to know what they need to do after exiting care. This legislation will reduce the number of people who return to hospitals needing further aid.”

This new law comes as the Patient Safety Network found that nearly 20% of hospital patients discharged experience adverse events within three weeks of discharge and nearly 75% of those events could have been prevented or improved. Adverse drug events are the most common discharge complication of this nature and nearly 20% of Medicare patients are rehospitalized within 20 days of discharge. This law can help improve patient medical costs, hospital care capacity and improve public health upon its passage.

Additionally, at the beginning of the 2023 Legislative Session, Sen. Marx introduced Senate Bill 398, which would prohibit businesses from charging consumers for the receipt of paper bills instead of electronic bills. This policy was included in House Bill 5314, which passed both chambers and was signed by Governor Lamont; the legislation also requires certain companies to provide bills to consumers in paper form. Customers without reliable internet access, senior residents with limited knowledge in using digital devices and customers experiencing financial difficulties all are sometimes charged for receiving paper bills for services; removing this charge will save them dozens of dollars annually.

“It doesn’t cost much for a company to send a paper bill, but they feel comfortable charging several dollars a month for the privilege,” said Sen. Marx. “I heard from my constituents who found these fees frustrating, and even punitive. Changing this policy will support and benefit thousands of consumers.”

Some companies, such as telecommunications providers, charge several dollars per month to customers who prefer receiving paper bills to digital ones; according to the website PaperAge, it costs less than 75 cents for a company to produce and mail a statement to a customer, indicating these several-dollar charges are an opportunity to benefit from consumer preferences. New York and Pennsylvania have passed similar laws.