HARTFORD – Representative Arthur J. O’Neill (R-69) has proposed legislation this session of the General Assembly which would provide transportation to nonemergency medical appointments for elderly and disabled residents of Southbury. The aim of the legislation is to expand busing service for those who need transportation to Danbury Hospital and other medical offices in Danbury.
Danbury Hospital used to provide transportation to Southbury residents who needed medical services there, but due to a $34 million budget cut over two years which was proposed and enacted by Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Danbury Hospital ceased this service to Southbury residents in November of 2013.
“Many Southbury residents that relied on that transportation service from Danbury Hospital have approached me,” said Rep. O’Neill. “I opposed the cuts in Governor Malloy’s last budget which caused this service to be terminated, and I have continually supported proposals to restore that critical funding. In the meantime, I am proposing a statutory expansion of the transportation service area to residents in Southbury so that they will now be able to travel to Danbury for their medical needs. I am hoping this will help those residents in need in the meantime.”
The bill, HB 5157, An Act Concerning Nonemergency Transportation Services for Elderly and Disabled Residents of Southbury, would require the existing transportation provided by the Department of Social Services and the Department of Transportation in Southbury to expand to the Danbury area. It has been referred to the legislature’s Appropriations Committee and awaits action there.
O’Neill, who has been working with Danbury Hospital, Heritage Village and local officials to find solutions to the service issue, said the funds cut from hospitals needs to be restored, and he pledged to continue to work to make that happen this session. Thus far, Governor Malloy has not proposed restoring the funds despite a projected $500 million budget surplus this fiscal year.
The 2014 session of the Connecticut General Assembly commenced on February 5th, and will conclude at midnight, May 7th.