Sunday, February 23, 2014

If you didn't believe me before about the failure to expand Medicaid, maybe you will now

Southwest Regional Medical Center in McComb let five of its doctors go this past week.  In an AP interview, its CEO, Norman Price, said what I've been saying all along:
"The Affordable Care Act will force the acute care delivery system to evolve to accommodate a new reimbursement reality. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, the non-expansion of Medicaid will have the effect of over-running the emergency departments with non-paying patients. The inevitable cuts and changes will not be popular nor easy to accomplish. However, all will be necessary in order to move this medical center forward into the new Affordable Care Act world." (Emphasis added.)
And remember those DSH payments I've mentioned before (here, here, here, here, here, here and here)?
"We know we're going to be cut $8 million by the federal government, and we also know we're going to be cut 2% by Medicaid. That's going to equate to about $8.5 million to $9 million," Price said. 
The $8 million refers to the amount of money the hospital receives per year for taking on a disproportionate share of patients who are on Medicare or Medicaid.
DSH stands for "disproportionate share hospital".  The DSH program was established to give financial help to hospitals that provide care for an inordinate number of indigent patients.  As you can imagine, Mississippi hospitals are pretty dependent upon payments from the DSH program.  Under the Affordable Care Act, which is the law of the land regardless of how you feel about it, DSH payments are being severely restricted.  Why? Because patients that were causing hospitals to get DSH payments in the past were supposed to be covered by Medicaid expansion.  A Medicaid expansion, mind you, funded almost entirely by the federal government, not the state.

So as our Governor and his cohorts in the Legislature keep whistlin' Dixie, our health care system is burning to the ground.  

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for the clarification. I heard this interview on the radio, and I couldnt understand the correlation between the new healthcare law and increase ER visits. If I remember correctly, working 30 hours a week at a minimum wage job puts a person in the income gap between Medicaid and Healthcare subsidies. That would include a lot of people in Mississippi, especially since employers are cutting hours to avoid providing employees with insurance.