- Louisiana has passed two constitutional amendments that will provide additional funding to struggling hospitals in the state, which continues to face steep Medicaid cuts according to Louisiana Hospital Association CEO Paul Salles.
- "The cuts that we had received totaled about 26% over a period of several years," Salles said. "Our interest is in protecting services hospitals provide services to those vulnerable [Medicaid and uninsured] patients." 18% of the state population is uninsured, often placing hospitals in a difficult position.
- The first amendment provides protections to the Louisiana Medical Assistance Trust Fund and puts in place a set compensation rate for nursing homes and other providers. The second amendment allows hospitals to draw more Medicaid funds and establishes a hospital stabilization fund.
The legislation puts in place programs that are already commonly used in other states.
"The basis of those programs essentially allows hospitals, in partnership with the state, to pool their funding and utilize those funds under the appropriate criteria that's set up by [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] and the federal government to maintain or attract available federal funding for hospital services within the Medicaid and uninsured realm," Salles said.
While the first amendment does not increase taxes or other fees, the second does require hospitals to pay for assessments. In theory, this cost is made up for by reimbursements, which are protected by the amendment.
The legislation does have its critics, who suggest that patients and payers will wind up bearing the brunt of the cost of the assessments. As yet, plans for implementation of the new regulations have not been set.