Mass. to use $764M of stimulus money for healthcare

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced on Wednesday that his state will use $764 million in federal stimulus money to help hospitals reduce job cuts, and to keep in tact benefits for residents who receive subsidized health insurance, among other things. The money will be provided to the state through its Medicaid program, and also will help to preserve programs for those with mental illnesses and other disabilities. 

The state's two largest safety-net hospitals--Cambridge Health Alliance and Boston Medical Center--will receive a combined $280 million in stimulus funds. While both are scheduled to receive their money in July, Cambridge is getting $40 million next month to restore a cut announced earlier in the year. The money still won't save the 300 jobs, inpatient services, or pediatric and addiction units that will be cut at Somerville Hospital, which is part of the Cambridge Health Alliance. 

"If we didn't get these funds restored, we'd be looking at further impact on literally hundreds of jobs," Cambridge CEO Dennis Keefe said. 

Boston Medical Center faces similar problems, with more cuts still expected, despite the stimulus aid. "What we do know is that there is a gap of $173 million between the expenses we incur and the payments we receive for treating Medicaid patients," said Elaine Ullian, president of the facility. "We're hopeful we can work with the administration to bridge this gap." 

To learn more:
- here's the Boston Globe article