PA Hospitals: Proposed State Budget Will Threaten Health Care Safety Net, Health Care Jobs

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - Tuesday, February 9, 2010 

The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) today issued the following statement from President and CEO Carolyn F. Scanlan in response to Governor Ed Rendell's proposed 2010-2011 state budget, which cuts hospital Medicaid payments by nearly $31.9 million (state funds; approx. $73.4 million with federal matching funds):

"At a time when Medicaid enrollment is increasing and more people are losing health insurance due to unemployment, payments to hospitals who are the health care safety net for these Pennsylvanians cannot be cut.

"Statewide unemployment is hovering near the highest level in 25 years, and with continued high unemployment on the horizon, Pennsylvania's hospitals continue to be the largest and most stable employers in their communities. While non-farm employment in Pennsylvania decreased by 2.59 percent last year, direct hospital employment remained steady, with only a slight decline of 0.15 percent.

"Pennsylvania's hospitals are mindful of the budget realities facing Pennsylvania. But the Governor and lawmakers need to ensure that hospitals remain viable employers in their communities, where they can provide access to quality care, jobs and job-growth opportunities, support to other businesses, and overall stimulus to local economic activity.

"With the potential infusion of approximately $850 million in additional federal Medicaid dollars, it is essential that those funds be used for their intended purpose-to ensure continued patient access to hospital care-and not diverted to fill holes elsewhere in the state budget.

"The Governor's proposed state budget cuts put the state's leading employers at risk, by threatening one of the commonwealth's few sources of economic and employment stability-and jeopardizing patient access to the healing, health, and hope our hospitals provide to Pennsylvanians 24 hours a day, every day of the year."