MI hospital group says members need help

The eviscerated economy is wreaking havoc on Michigan hospitals, with many facing substantial financial problems that endanger their existence, according to the state's hospital association.

The Michigan Health and Hospital Association, which just released data on third-quarter 2008 hospital losses, wants the state legislature to give members a hand. The money could potentially come from federal Medicaid funding the state could receive through the federal Medicaid dollars included in the pending economic stimulus package.

According to the report, the state's hospitals posted an average margin of negative 2.9 percent in third-quarter '08, down from a positive 2.2 percent margin during the same period in 2007. Another sign of trouble found in the data was that 15 hospitals were forced to lay off at least 1,320 workers, with more layoffs expected.

Meanwhile, Michigan's existing Medicaid program, which reimburses hospitals at the lowest rates of any state health insurer, hit 1.6 million recipients in 2008, and should go up this year.

To learn more about the hospitals' issues:
- read this Detroit Free Press piece

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