TennCare gets shot in the arm. Tennessee said last week that it will dole out $109.4 million to more than 100 hospitals statewide that provide healthcare under the state's Medicaid managed-care program, TennCare. The program provides healthcare to 1.3 million state residents who are eligible for Medicaid or who are uninsured or uninsurable. The state also will pay $20 million to providers with outstanding claims against Xantus Healthcare, an HMO placed under state receivership in April 1999. Among the payments approved by the state Legislature were $90 million for essential access hospitals, $5 million for pediatric primary care, $2 million for community health centers and $5 million for specialty outpatient providers.
Mass. gives hospitals aid package. Massachusetts hospitals might get $250 million in aid from the state as part of Gov. Paul Cellucci's budget plan. Most significantly, the aid package unveiled last week would halve hospitals' contributions to the state pool for treating uninsured patients in 2001. That one-year-only move, combined with other changes in the pool, would save hospitals $189 million. The governor's proposal also would establish a $45 million loan program for distressed hospitals, provide
$5 million to help hospitals hire nurses and increase Medicaid funding by $10 million. Two-thirds of the state's hospitals were losing money on operations in the third quarter of 2000, according to the Massachusetts Hospital Association.
Conn. hospitals seen as strong. About two-thirds of Connecticut hospitals are financially strong despite burgeoning medical technology costs, workforce shortages, inadequate government reimbursement and other challenges, according to a report released earlier this month by the state's Office of Health Care Access. Connecticut's 31 hospitals reported an overall operating loss of .7% in 1999. Nonoperating income offset the loss, raising the aggregate state hospital margin to slightly more than 2%. Seven of the state's hospitals were found to be in moderate financial distress and four were seen as in significant distress. The report recommended state intervention in the nursing shortage and the creation of a new licensing category to help distressed hospitals.
Minn. hospitals get boost from Ventura. Minnesota hospitals got a reprieve last week as Gov. Jesse Ventura officially submitted a proposed biannual budget that exempts not-for-profit hospitals from a suggested fee on tax-exempt properties. But the fee, intended to help cities recoup public safety costs, could apply to other not-for-profit healthcare institutions such as assisted-living facilities, according to a state Revenue Department official. The proposed fee is based on properties' market value, but individual city councils would have to vote to impose it. Minnesota's budgeting process is just beginning, and state lawmakers must approve final spending plans.