HCA, for-profit hospitals to fall under state Medicaid changes

Some of the nation's most powerful for-profit hospital chains could see some significant hits to their revenue if Texas's plan for revamping its Medicaid program is approved by the federal government, reports Kaiser Health News.

Advocates for the revamp say that too many private hospital operators are benefiting too much from Medicaid without treating enough of its patients. Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) is at the top of the most vulnerable list, having received $657 million in supplemental payments from the Texas Medicaid program last year. Nearly half of those payments were pure profit.

The Texas proposal includes rerouting some Medicaid payments to more public hospitals, as well as to facilities that treat a disproportionate share of poor and uninsured patients--categories into which none of HCA's 21 facilities in the Lone Star State fit. It would also spur the creation of healthcare infrastructure for the poor outside of the hospital realm, such as the creation of new community clinics, notes KHN.

HCA's position in the Texas market benefited it disproportionately, some lawmakers claim. HCA's share of the funds is "not based on seeing patients that were poor or could not pay. It was based on a formula that skewed in their benefit," said state Rep. Garnet Coleman, a Houston Democrat who chairs a legislative committee overseeing the proposal.

For more:
- read the Kaiser Health News article