Medicaid cuts could slam teaching hospitals

New proposals being developed by the Bush administration would cut Medicaid money that currently pays treatment of patients by residents. Teaching hospitals use the money, which comes in as a match for state Medicaid funds, to fund residency programs. However, Bush officials argue that Medicaid funding shouldn't be used to train residents, and say the cuts would save about $1.7 billion which could be used for other purposes. In a move that would give teaching hospitals a chance to prepare, Sen Dick Durbin (D-IL) has filed an amendment which would delay the cuts for two years, but his proposal is mired down in other discussions related to Iraq war funding.

If the Bush administration cuts are implemented, teaching hospitals could lose millions. For example, Missouri hospitals stand to lose about $75 million a year, and could end up cutting back on the number of residents they train. One institution which would be particularly hard hit is St. Louis-based Barnes-Jewish Hospital, which could lose a full $20 million annually, possibly forcing cutbacks within its 700-resident program.

To find out more about the cuts:
- read this piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch