Pediatric hospitals brace for massive Medicaid cuts

Pediatric hospitals in Ohio may already be feeling the dreaded effects of federal health reform legislation that would slash "disproportionate share" payments to hospitals that care for large numbers of Medicaid patients as more consumers purchase individual health insurance. 

And while the Ohio cuts stem from state budget shortfalls, the result is the same: Hospitals in Buckeye state could lose millions of dollars--each--in the coming year if a new state budget is approved that would slash $1.4 billion from the state's Medicaid spending, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

The cuts will impact all hospitals that accept Medicaid, though pediatric hospitals will likely get hit the hardest, since they tend to take on large numbers of low-income patients from other states, and often receive no reimbursement for their care, Gary Moody, the state’s Director of Health Transformation, told the newspaper. Case in point: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center relies upon Medicaid for 44 percent of its annual revenue.

But Ohio pediatric hospitals aren't alone. In Texas, Medicaid is short $9.9 billion, and state legislators are proposing a ten percent cut to the program. It's a move that could prove catastrophic for children's facilities there, Bryan Sperry, president of the Childrens' Hospitals Association of Texas told HealthCare Finance News just a month ago.

"Children's hospitals are very dependent on Medicaid, because they care for low-income [patients]. Between 50 percent and 80 percent of inpatients to children's hospitals are on Medicaid, so 10 percent can have a pretty major impact," he said.

For more information:
- read the Cincinnati Enquirer article
- check out this Government Grants blog post
- read this related article in Healthcare Finance News

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