Texas hospitals have a pointed message for the lawmakers hashing out the final details of the 2012-13 budget: The proposed cuts hit them too hard.
Steep Medicaid rates cuts, coupled with a 23 percent reduction in trauma funding, "will curtail growth in the health care sector, lead to more unemployment and reduce access to health care services in communities statewide," Dan Stultz, president and CEO of the Texas Hospital Association, wrote in a letter to Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden, R-Bryan.
Hospitals say that neither the House nor the Senate budget adequately fund anticipated growth in Texas' Medicaid population, leaving a huge fiscal burden on hospitals. The projected cuts leave hospitals to potentially finance more than $780 million in cuts, the hospital association says, "reductions disproportionate to those affecting any other industry in the budget."
Among their requests, hospitals ask that the budget conferees:
- Limit Medicaid rate cuts to no more than 8 percent.
- Expand managed care in a way that protects large federal matching dollars for uncompensated care.
- Maintain cost-based reimbursement for children's and rural hospitals.
- Be careful in setting a statewide hospital payment rate.