Healthcare reform struggles plague hospitals

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, hospitals across the country face multi-million-dollar losses. Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, for instance, expects a $45 million shortfall once the law fully kicks in, WSB-TV Channel 2 reported.

The healthcare law cut federal funding for hospitals that care for the poor but intended for Medicaid expansion to offset those losses. While Grady provides medical care to more uninsured patients than any other hospital in Georgia, the state has refused to expand its Medicaid program. The Medicaid opt-out and resulting $45 million loss means 950-bed Grady may have to cut services.

"If Georgia were to expand, we estimate we'd have an additional 40,000 patients that would be eligible under the new rolled out expansion of Medicaid," Grady President and CEO John Haupert told Channel 2.

Meanwhile, Central Georgia Health System, which owns the Medical Center of Central Georgia, faces a potential $30 million loss due to healthcare reform, The Telegraph reported. As a result, the system laid off about 50 employees and implemented other budget-cutting changes, such as adjustments to some employees' hours and salaries.

What's more, Central Georgia Chief Financial Officer Rhonda Perry told the Telegraph she sees about eight to 10 reports a week from hospitals across the country using similar measures to overcome challenges related to healthcare reform.

Some hospitals are turning to drastic solutions. For instance, in North Carolina, the owners of Pungo Hospital plan to shut down the facility because the state has chosen to forgo Medicaid expansion.

With reform implementation well underway, it seems hospitals still blame Medicare reimbursement cuts and state challenges to expanding Medicaid benefits under federal healthcare reform for layoffs and losses.

To learn more:
- read the Channel 2 article
- here's the Telegraph article

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