State plan makes hospital charity care funding more equitable

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has announced a plan where the state's hospitals would share $675 million in disproportionate share healthcare payments in a more proportionate manner, reported the Newark Star-Ledger.

Under the proposal, 90 percent of the money will be used to maintain similar payments made to hospitals in 2010. The other 10 percent will be shifted away from hospitals that treated relatively fewer uninsured patients, according to the New Jersey Hospital Association.

The top recipients of the largesse received sums of between $265,000 and slightly more than $300,000. Among those that lost revenue, the shifts ranged from about $250,000 to more than $437,000, noted the article.

"We made a concerted effort to maintain predictability. In years past, you would have seen multimillion-dollar variations," Mary O'Dowd, New Jersey's commissioner of health and senior services, told the Star-Ledger.

The decision by the Christie administration to share the payments in such a way was praised by the New Jersey Hospital Association, which had been pushing for a more equitable sharing formula.

"We are glad to say some of the principles we have raised concern are reflected here--that money should follow the care," NJHA spokesperson Kerry McKean Kelly told the Star-Ledger.

For more information:
- read the Star-Ledger article
- here's the list of DSH recipients (.pdf)
- more info from the NJHA