Hospitals, state battle over reimbursements for care of illegals

Hospitals in the Sunshine State are fighting a state policy attempting to recoup Medicaid payments for undocumented patients for any care provided beyond their medical stabilization, reported The Miami Herald.

The rule, issued by Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration, would prohibit any Medicaid payments to hospitals who care for patients presumed to be in the United States illegally beyond what is required to stabilize them, the article noted. However, the rule is retroactive to 2005--meaning hospitals could be on the hook for potentially millions of dollars worth of care they provided in the past and had been paid for.

"What the state is saying is: 'We don't care if the patient is in the hospital or not or if the services are medically necessary, we're not going to pay for anything beyond the point of stabilization'--whatever that is,"  Joanne Erde, an attorney representing hospitals challenging the rule, told the Herald.

Seven hospitals in the Miami and Tampa Bay areas are challenging the rule, claiming that since the agency implemented it without first holding public hearings it was invalid.

It is unknown if such a rule is on the books in other states where anti-immigrant sentiments run high, such as Arizona. However, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act excludes undocumented immigrants from enrolling in Medicaid or receiving tax subsidies to buy insurance coverage. And a variety of states, including Florida, have said they would not expand their safety net programs in the wake of reform, reported the Indianapolis Business Journal.

For more:
Read the Miami Herald article
Read the Indianapolis Business Journal article