Hospitals react to proposal to change Medicaid reimbursement rates

Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 10:31 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It’s been less than a week since the Governor announced proposed changes to the way hospitals are reimbursed by Medicaid.

The hospitals will be taxed more but they’ll also be drawing down significantly more federal dollars.

Neshoba General Hospital CEO Lee McCall says the changes to Medicaid reimbursements couldn’t come at a better time.

“I mean, we’re projected out around a two-and-a-half million dollar operating loss this year, this fiscal year,” explained McCall. “The proceeds that we’ll receive will get us above an operating deficit to about a 1% operating margin. So, you can say the lines are still razor-thin. But it’s better than a deficit.”

McCall does make this note.

“I want to be clear that the funds or are very helpful for our operations for all of our hospitals,” added McCall. “But it does not cover additional lives, in any form at all.”

Covington, Simpson, and Magee hospitals are all managed together and for them, they believe the additional money could have a direct impact on what you see available at their hospitals.

“It’s certainly an opportunity for those rural hospitals to reinvest back into their facilities into their employees, you know, and be able to offer more services to cater to those communities,” described David Culpepper, Director of Marketing at Covington County Hospital. “And I think the biggest thing here that a lot of people are not seeing is, this is a great strategic way to incentivize hospitals to offer more service lines to offer better service to their communities that they serve.”

St. Dominic’s echoes that while the specifics of the reimbursement are complex, the impact is simple.

“We are just like every other hospital, in the process and continuing to look for opportunities to tighten our belt,” explained David Estorge, Vice President of Governmental Relations at St. Dominic’s. “This additional funding could not have come at a better time, it’s going to allow us to continue to...retain our staff, invest in our physical plant, invest in our community.”

If approved federally, the money will be retroactive to July of this year.

We received these other responses from hospitals around the state about the impact of the changes to reimbursements.

“A strong statewide hospital system is essential to the health and well-being of all Mississippians, and I am grateful for efforts to ensure hospitals in our state receive funds that adequately reimburse them for the services they provide.”

Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs.

“The health and well-being of all Mississippians depends on a strong statewide hospital system. On behalf of North Mississippi Health Services, I am grateful for efforts to ensure hospitals in the state receive funds that adequately reimburse them for the services they provide. We have been working with the Governor’s Office and other leaders across the state for months on this important issue. We are hopeful the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approves both waivers as submitted.”

Shane Spees, President/CEO North Mississippi Health Services

“I appreciate the Governor and his staff for working with us to find funding solutions which will go a long way towards ensuring access to healthcare is maintained. These efforts are the result of healthcare leaders across the state sitting down with the Governor’s office over several months exchanging ideas and looking for common areas that would help solve our issues.”

R. Andy Woodard President and CEO Forrest Health

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