NH Attorney General: Hospitals can't sue for Medicaid payments

Hospitals do not have the right to sue for or expect Medicaid payment under federal law, according to the New Hampshire state attorney general. Ten New Hampshire hospitals this summer sued the state to block the two-year budget that calls for lowered Medicaid funding by $115 million, reports The Concord Monitor.

Following the fallout of Medicaid reimbursements cuts, hospitals in the state have faced layoffs as a result. Elliot Health System, Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, and St. Joseph Hospital are among those who have had to cut jobs, totaling about 800 losses across the state, reports The Union Leader.

Although the hospitals contend they need Medicaid payments to care for poor patients, the state argues that the hospitals can absorb the reductions, while pointing to the generous executive salaries and extensive construction plans in recent years, according to the article.

"During this period the hospital sector generated over a half-billion in operating profits and when non-cash expenses (depreciations and amortization) are added back in, the sector generated cash from operations of over $1.2 billion dollars over the five-year period," according to a memorandum filed Friday.

Although the area hospitals may be biting their nails over the Medicaid reductions, the state said the budget will not affect patient care.

"Studies have indicated that when faced with financial pressure, hospitals can and do find ways to operate more efficiently," the state said. "Consistent with this principle, individual hospitals have publicly confirmed that they are often able to implement cuts in ways that do not directly affect patient care at all."

For more information:
- read the Concord Monitor article
- read the Union Leader article

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