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News from State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr.

May 11, 2016

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

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Toll-free: 1-800-842-1420
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Promoting Equality in Mental Health

healthcareLast week, the General Assembly gave final legislative approval to a bill I introduced to broaden the scope of the working group on behavioral health utilization. The bill allows the working group to compare data on the number of approvals and denials of requests for behavioral health services and other health care services. It passed with a strong bipartisan backing, receiving unanimous support in the state Senate and passing by a vote of 122-23 in the House of Representatives.

I have heard from countless families from across Connecticut that health plans are still refusing to pay for mental health treatments. Doctors and hospitals are frustrated and upset that they cannot get coverage for needed mental health and addiction services approved for their patients. By requiring better transparency on reimbursement data, which health plans already collect but do not always disclose, we will be able to determine if an unfair pattern of unreasonable denials actually exists across the industry. This information will enable the legislature to determine whether further action is needed to ensure that Connecticut citizens that stand to benefit from mental health coverage reforms are not shortchanged. Without good data, parity laws will be very hard to evaluate and enforce.

Fighting Connecticut’s Opioid Crisis

opioid drugsHeroin and prescription drug overdoses are claiming more lives in Connecticut every year. Expanding access to Narcan, a medication used to block the effects of opioids, is an important step in this public health crisis. Allowing more first responders to carry Narcan will save lives.

The Connecticut General Assembly passed legislation that will impact the state's opioid crisis. The legislation will improve access to Narcan; cap first-time painkiller prescriptions to a seven-day supply; strengthen the prescription monitoring program; and release health care professionals and Good Samaritans from liability when they administer an opioid antagonist, such as Narcan, to treat an overdose.

Cutting Down on Wasteful and Costly Packaging

packagingConnecticut recently set a goal to reduce solid waste in our state by 60 percent by 2024. The dramatic increase in internet shopping has made this goal difficult, if not unobtainable. The increase in shipping materials, boxes, and other pieces of consumer packaging clog Connecticut’s waste stream and cost communities millions of dollars. I introduced and led passage of legislation that establishes a task force that will research and recommend the best practices for reducing consumer packaging waste through improving Connecticut’s recycling infrastructure, working with businesses to reduce the amount of packaging they create and increasing the amount of biodegradable and recyclable materials used in consumer packaging. The recommendations of this task force will be used to reduce the amount of consumer packaging in the state’s waste stream by at least 25 percent by January 1, 2024.


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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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