Gov. Ned Lamont celebrated the signing of two bills that seek to prevent gun deaths, violence and suicides.
It’s a big deal. It recognizes the work Andrew Wood and his team has been doing for years to prevent gun violence in the city of Hartford.
“They’re on call 24/7. They show up at the hospital when someone has been shot. They provide this intervention in the ER waiting room to ensure that there isn’t retaliatory shootings,” Rep. Jillian Gilchrest, D-West Hartford, said.
That’s the work that Wood and “Hartford Communities that Care” does.
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“Big thanks to the governor for now being the first in the nation to sign this historical legislation into law,” Wood said.
Lamont said he was proud.
“I think this Medicaid expansion is the first in the country. First in the nation, thank you,” Lamont said.
The law allows for Medicaid reimbursement of trauma care provided to victims of violence.
Wood and his team have been going to the hospital following a shooting incident to prevent retaliation and provide follow-up care for the victims and their families.
“We all know community-based gun violence is preventable,” Gilchrest said.
There have been few if any funds for the work Wood and similar community groups have been doing.
“All while living with the trauma they have experienced gun violence day in and day out in their community,” Gilchrest said.
“With the signing of this bill we’re putting our money where our mouth is. We’re saying this needs to be treated and reimbursed has health care prevention,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said.
“This workforce has been instrumental in addressing violence for decades, but has never been given the honor of really being seen as health care professionals,” Fatimah Loren Drier, executive director of the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention, said.
Gilchrest added: “This is a huge step because it legitimizes the work that these amazing men and women have been doing for years.”
Lamont also signed an update to Connecticut’s red flag laws.
“It’s going to save lives by shifting suicide attempt methods to less lethal means. We know this law works,” Jeremy Stein, executive director of CT Against Gun Violence, said.
Stein says the new law may have prevented his uncle’s suicide.
“We’re creating a new process whereby individual family members or medical professionals have more accurate timely information can begin the process and apply for a risk protection order,” Rep. Steve Stafstrom, D-Bridgeport, said.
“We know there was a 13% reduction in suicide. We know the laws effective,” Stein said.