La. hospitals brace for impact of deep cuts

Annual Dog Day Afternoon & Pet Photos this weekend
October 13, 2009
Richard Anthony Savoie
October 15, 2009

Dear Editor:

Louisiana’s hospitals and health-care providers will be facing some of the toughest financial challenges in years because of national health-care reform, state reductions in reimbursement for Medicaid, federal payment limitations for rural hospitals and a decrease of federal matching dollars in the Medicaid program.

These reductions will limit access to health-care services, which could lead to overcrowding and longer wait times in our hospital emergency rooms. Our community hospitals may even have to eliminate or reduce some services.

The immediate problem facing the state is the federal match for the Medicaid program, also known as Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP).

The current federal funding formula for our Medicaid program is flawed, because it includes increases in the state’s per capita personal income resulting from public and private recovery dollars that were infused into the state after two of the most devastating and costly hurricanes in the country’s history.

The FMAP decrease facing Louisiana in January 2011 is staggering. Without an adjustment to the federal formula, Louisiana stands to lose close to $1.2 billion in health-care funding for our most vulnerable patients – the poor and the elderly.

When there is a crisis, such as the H1N1 flu, or a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, communities rely on their hospitals to be there 24/7. Our community leaders, business leaders, state and federal officials and health-care providers must pull together during this difficult time to avert the impending health-care crisis facing our state.

John A. Matessino,

President/CEO, La. Hospital Assoc.