2020 census

2020 Census: Why it Still Matters

Population count determines federal funding for hospitals, Medicare and Medicaid.

NBC Universal, Inc.

The coronavirus pandemic is impacting just about every aspect of modern life. While things like hair appointments and dining out have fallen to the wayside, the 2020 census should not be one of them.

In fact, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, who is leading the census charge in Connecticut, says this public health crisis highlights why an accurate count matters.

"Census numbers determine federal disaster relief for states. And we have been designated by the president as a disaster relief recipient," Bysiewicz said. "Also the census determines how much funding the hospitals will get based o the number of people in their service area."

Bysiewicz said census figures determine funding for 55 federal programs including Medicare, Medicaid, emergency preparedness and school lunch programs. Connecticut stands to receive $11 billion from the federal government.

Dr. Ajay Kumar, chief clinical officer for Hartford Healthcare, said his focus right now is on caring for patients. But that care is quickly adding up. For example, Hartford Healthcare implemented a telehealth network in order to see patients remotely. Kumar said he doesn't know how much that cost.

"I can tell you that every institution in the country, healthcare or otherwise, is seeing financial challenges and are going to continue to see [them] over time. But how this funding and other census related information is going to shape into that, it's too early to tell at the moment," he said.

Bysiewicz said filling out the survey should only take a few minutes.

So far, approximately 37% of Connecticut residents have responded to the census online or by phone. Bysiewicz said paper forms will be mailed out later this month.

"This is a moment that's critical to our state," she said. "It will help your community. It will help your family."

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