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Hospital Leaders Urge Legislators Not to Further Destabilize Florida's Healthcare Landscape
Date:3/11/2008

458 million in Medicare cuts in 2009 to Florida's hospitals -- and $5 billion in cuts over five years. Last fall, the Florida Legislature cut hospital Medicaid reimbursements by $132 million. This spring, the Legislature is making additional Medicaid cuts and the state's Low Income Pool -- a crucial source of Medicaid reimbursement for safety net hospitals that provides most of the care to Florida's poor and uninsured -- is facing a $103 million deficit.

"With Florida in a historic economic downturn and more budget cuts certain, legislators must protect safety net hospitals that provide most of the state's Medicaid and charity care," said Frank Sacco, President and CEO of Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood, and board chair of the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida. "With all of these challenges upon us, it simply isn't the time to consider eliminating the state's planning process for new hospitals."

Limited service hospitals have rapidly proliferated in growing states such as Texas and Arizona, where the planning process for new hospitals was eliminated. Limited service hospitals thrive by providing limited, profitable services to healthier patients with private insurance. They provide limited or no emergency services and very little care to charity, uninsured or Medicaid patients -- most of whom access hospital care through the emergency room.

If limited service hospitals were allowed in Florida, full-service hospitals would carry the burden for providing emergency services, caring for the poor and uninsured, and offering the vital, yet unprofitable health services to the community -- such as trauma, burn and neonatal care.

Attending the press conference was Tracy Spivey, whose husband Steve died after suffering complications from spinal surgery at a 14-bed, limited service hospital in Abilene, Texas. Staff at the hospital had to call 911 because the facility's emergency department was not functioning. The hospital has since cl
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SOURCE Florida Hospital Association; Safety Net Hospital Allianceof
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