Public, private hospitals battle over state Medicaid payments

Public and private hospitals in Texas are battling over hundreds of millions of dollars in supplemental Medicaid payments, The Houston Chronicle reported. With public hospital payments shrinking as private hospitals provide more Medicaid care, the public facilities are calling for a program overhaul that will redirect some of the funds spent on Medicaid care to the uninsured.

Under the existing supplementary Medicaid program, they expect to see $78 million in supplemental payments from the Texas Medicaid program this year, compared to private hospitals getting $721 million, Harris County Hospital District President David Lopez told the Chronicle.

But some private hospitals have concerns with changing the program, especially if health reform expands the state's Medicaid enrollment by 2 million in 2014.

"At a time when hospitals need to build infrastructure for the looming expanding Medicaid population, the proposal appears to support services to the non-Medicaid eligible population at the expense of serving those who legitimately qualify for Medicaid," Texas Association of Voluntary Hospitals Chairman Steve Hanson wrote in a letter to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which oversees Medicaid in Texas, the article noted.

Moreover, some of the nation's most powerful for-profit hospital chains could experience some major hits to their revenue if Texas overhauls the program, FierceHealthFinance previously reported. Hospital Corporation of America appears to be the most vulnerable, having received $657 million in supplemental Medicaid payments last year.

For more information:
- here's the article
- read the FierceHealthFinance article