Florida safety net hospitals scrambling to prevent $65 million Scott veto

May 16, 2013 

Gov. Rick Scott may veto $65 million in hospital Medicaid funding, although safety net hospitals are mustering all their resources in order to change his mind.

The money is related to the state's transition to a new formula for paying hospitals for Medicaid, one that depends on services provided to patients instead of how long they are in a particular hospital's care. The Legislature provided the extra funding to help reduce the losses over 40 hospitals faced under the new formula, with safety nets among the worst hit.

That extra money was not a part of Scott's initial budget proposal, but the House insisted on it and the Senate agreed. If Scott vetoes it, Miami's Jackson Memorial hospital would lose the most cash: $23.3 million. Shands Teaching Hospital in Gainesville would lose $11 million and Tampa General Hospital would see its funding slashed by $2 million. A range of rural and specialty hospitals would also lose funding, such as a $1 million loss for Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.

Scott's office is still finalizing his veto list, and the governor has until May 24 to sign the budget and announce the funding he eliminated. His office wouldn't say if DRG funding will be on the list.

"We are reviewing the matter, along with the entire budget," spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said.

Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, and the House's health care budget chief, fought for that money to be included in the budget and said the governor's office hasn't told him it's in jeopardy. The money includes $27 million from the general fund and another $38 million in federal dollars.

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