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Cutting Medicaid Hospice Benefit Would Cost Florida More, Put Neediest Individuals at Risk
Date:12/30/2008

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Dec. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The State of Florida's proposed elimination of the Medicaid benefit that provides hospice care to some of the state's most fragile individuals actually would cost Florida millions more than the state currently spends - adding to the state's budget deficit rather than reducing it - according to a newly released study commissioned by Florida Hospices and Palliative Care (FHPC), the statewide group representing all of the state's hospice providers.

FHPC engaged The Moran Company, a Washington-based health care research and consulting firm, to examine the state's financial assumptions and develop an independent evaluation of the impact of eliminating the Medicaid Hospice Benefit, as recommended by Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). The study reviewed actual state data for fiscal year 2007 and concluded that if the cut had been in place at that time, the state's health care budget would have been $3.7 million more. In contrast to the findings of the Moran Company report, AHCA claims cutting the benefit for fiscal year 2009 would save the state $343 million in Medicaid payments.

FHPC Executive Director Paul Ledford said, "This report reinforces our view that Florida can't afford to take this misguided approach to dealing with its budget difficulties, especially since it will only make the budget situation worse. Cutting the Medicaid Hospice Benefit doesn't mean the needs of the terminal patient change; it just shifts those costs to more expensive ways of delivering those vital services.

"We appreciate the financial challenges that Florida's government faces, but cutting the Medicaid Hospice Benefit simply isn't the answer - or even a part of the answer," Ledford added.

The report contained the following major findings:

-- Eliminating the Medicaid Hospice Benefit will not save the state money,
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SOURCE Florida Hospices and Palliative Care
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