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Sunday, July 14, 2024

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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

CT telehealth law made permanent, helps senior health access

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Thursday, June 6, 2024   

Newly signed Connecticut laws can improve access and the quality of health care for seniors.

One significant change is extending a pandemic-era telehealth law slated to sunset this month. The law authorizes more types of health care providers to offer telehealth services and lets out-of-state authorized providers practice in Connecticut.

Nora Duncan, state director for AARP Connecticut, said the law also makes it a cost-effective health care option.

"You can't charge an uninsured patient more than the Medicare reimbursement rate for telehealth services, for instance," Duncan explained. "An HMO, for instance, can't reduce the amount of reimbursement they pay to telehealth providers for covered services appropriately provided through telehealth instead of in person."

She added the law prevents reimbursement rates from biasing providers for or against telehealth. Surveys show seniors use telehealth more with 70% of adults 50 and older saying they are comfortable with the services. But some older adults prefer in-person visits for diagnosis accuracy, thoroughness, and providing a personal touch.

Some bills failed to pass through the General Assembly. One bill would have put enforcement mechanisms in place for the My CT Savings program. It would require businesses with five or more employees to provide payroll deductions into retirement savings.

Duncan emphasized compliance with the program is important.

"Employees don't have to participate in this program, they can opt out, but employers do need to offer it," Duncan noted. "I think a stick associated with failing to comply with the law is important and we'll be back to get that done next year."

While the bill passed through the Senate, it did not make it through the House. Along with reintroducing the bill, Duncan added in the 2025 legislative session, work will be done to build off other legislation like continuing to improve the quality of care in nursing homes.

Disclosure: AARP Connecticut contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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