SIKESTON -- Missouri Delta Medical Center administrators are bracing themselves for changes in Medicaid payments to hospitals that will cut how much the hospital receives.
The impact of two Medicaid funding changes proposed by the Missouri Department of Social Services to take effect Jan. 1 could cut a total of $139 million per year from Missouri hospitals, according to one estimate cited by the Associated Press.
"I received a memo on Sept. 11 that confirms the proposed cuts," said Jon Branstetter, vice president of finance for MDMC. "Our Medicaid direct payment is going to go down about $131,000 on Jan. 1."
In 2005, former Gov. Matt Blunt dropped the ceiling for Medicaid eligibility to 20 percent of the federal poverty level to cut 100,000 people from the program in Missouri.
Following the cut, which Blunt said was necessary to balance the state budget, the Missouri Hospital Association persuaded the Department of Social Services to allow an alternative method of calculating hospital Medicaid payments to "soften the impact" on the state's hospitals, according to Steven Renne, who was the department's deputy director at that time.
Gov. Jay Nixon's administration is seeking to end this arrangement and attempt to redirect the money toward expanding Medicaid coverage for low-income families.
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