Medicaid cuts looming for Louisiana hospitals

The Louisiana House of Representatives approved a $25 billion budget that includes $81 million of healthcare-related cuts, many of which are likely to be directed to the state's hospitals, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The cuts are meant to be directed toward Louisiana's new Medicaid managed care program, whose implementation would be delayed by a year, according to House Speaker Jim Tucker, a Republican.

However, officials from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration claimed the delay would save only $22 million, and the rest would have to be taken in the form of payment cuts to hospitals and nursing homes.

Louisiana Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein termed the cuts "dangerous and reckless," noting that along with a drop in federal Medicaid matching funds, the loss of revenue could total as much as $192 million.

The state's Medicaid program has faced significant budget deficits in recent years. In late 2010, it abandoned a decade-old medical homes program for its Medicaid enrollees because it was not improving care delivery in a significant fashion.

For more:
- read the Times-Picayune article
- read the American Medical News article