Publicly funded safety-net hospitals often face financial woes, and those troubles may lead Nashville leaders to end inpatient services at the city facility.
Mayor Megan Barry has proposed ending inpatient care at Nashville General Hospital and called for Nashville to rethink how the city funds care for uninsured residents, according to an article from Marketplace. However, advocates argue that the hospital still performs a vital function.
Nashville General only has enough money to operate through Jan. 30, according to the article. The mayor's proposal is for the organization to provide specialty services on an outpatient basis and offer a fund to help patients pay inpatient bills at private facilities. But advocates like Katina Beard, CEO of Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center, a neighboring nonprofit clinic, worry that uninsured patients will still not receive needed care, or that they could be "billed into oblivion," according to the article.
Despite widespread healthcare industry reform and a significant reduction in the uninsured population under the Affordable Care Act, many patients still need and use safety-net facilities. However, many such hospitals face reimbursement cuts and are at risk for closure.
The financial issues plaguing these facilities are not likely to go away any time soon, either. Congress recently repealed the ACA's individual mandate as part of the Republicans' tax plan, which is likely to lead to notable increases in the uninsured population. Plus, likely changes or cuts to Medicaid loom, which would significantly impact safety-net providers.