Florida Hospitals Stand to Lose $1.0 Billion in State Funding
The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) of the State of Florida is planning to cut funding to hospitals within the state.
The government agency overseen by the Florida Governor Rick Scott is proposing to slash Medicaid reimbursements made to the state hospitals by as much as $1.0 billion. These cuts follow the already announced $500.0 million in funding cuts approved in the state budget this year.
The AHCA has drafted a budget proposal that includes six spending cuts. Four of these proposed cuts will reduce payments to the statewide hospitals by nearly $1.0 billion—possibly making it difficult for many to keep their doors open to patients.
The proposal put forth by the AHCA lays out the six spending cuts in the order of priority—from highest to lowest.
The top proposal suggests that the agency may trim a Medicaid beneficiary’s eligibility to claim insurance retroactively from 90 days prior to his/her application to just 30 days. It is estimated that hospitals may lose over $58.0 million if this change is approved.
The second proposal on the priority list is to eliminate automatic rate enhancements on Medicaid claims. If approved, this will strip hospitals of another $318.0 million in Medicaid reimbursements from the state.
Other proposals include putting restrictions on the state’s “Medically Needy” program, which could affect 27,000 pregnant women and children in Florida, and eliminating the “Meds Ad” program, which could affect over 51,000 aged, blind, and disabled Medicaid beneficiaries.
The AHCA expects to save $558.0 million in spending from the initiative—in other words, it will be taking that money away from the hospitals.
The fifth and sixth proposals are likewise expected to save the agency an additional $600.0 million or more in state spending.
Most local hospitals rely on Medicaid reimbursements from the state as their primary source of revenue to pay for their operational expenses. If the revenue stream is disrupted, many of these hospitals will not have enough money to pay their physicians and nurses.
The proposals come at a time when the state is forced to spend its savings on the unforeseen expenses arising out of Hurricane Irma. Meanwhile, Governor Scott had declared a state of emergency ahead of tropical storm Nate.
In the wake of these calamities, hospitals have been timely in their response to patient needs. The state funding cuts to hospitals are likely to make aid services worse for the people affected in the state.
“Scott administration eyes hospitals in proposed Medicaid spending cuts,” Palm Beach Post, October 9. 2017.