Safety net hospitals criticize Florida Senate's Medicaid payment proposal

April 4, 2013 

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida hospitals that treat the state's neediest patients say the Senate is taking the wrong approach in how it plans to pay for Medicaid services.

The Senate and the House have come up with different formulas for reimbursing hospitals under a new system called diagnosis-related groups, or DRG. This system is similar to how the federal government pays hospitals for Medicare. It pays according to services patients receive instead of the old way that was based on hospital costs and length of patient stays.

Safety net hospitals panned the Senate budget committee's proposal, and the business community has come to the Senate's defense.

Teaching hospitals such as Miami's Jackson Memorial and Tampa General would collectively lose $65 million under the Senate proposal, according to a preliminary analysis by the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida. All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg is projected to lose $6.5 million.

For-profit hospital would benefit from the Senate proposal, the alliance said, to the tune of $73 million.

"Our state’s teaching, public and children’s hospitals are alarmed that the Senate’s plan would result in such deep funding cuts to facilities that educate our next generation of doctors and provide specialized care to some of our state’s sickest children," said alliance president Tony Carvalho. "The Senate’s plan is starkly different from the House, which is guided by fairness and recognizes the critical importance of safety net hospitals."

Carvalho believes the House proposal is fairer.

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