UT hospitals struggling under Medicaid cuts

Hospitals in Utah are reeling under a 25 percent Medicaid reimbursement cut that was much larger than anticipated, and now are warning that they might be forced to offset costs by increasing fees on insured patients or cutting back on charity care.

Hospital association leaders said the hospitals failed to factor in the effects of using a funding stream to offset the cuts occurring in 2009. Meanwhile, technical changes in the payments to hospitals for "nonphysicians services" such as nursing care also had an impact on such reimbursement. To help address this huge change in funding, the state is looking at increasing its tobacco tax or imposing a tax on hospital stays.

If the state can't come up with a solution, state hospitals could theoretically refuse to treat Medicaid beneficiaries entirely, observers note.

To learn more about Utah's Medicaid situation:
- read this Kaiser Daily Health Policy Review item

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