HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson approved Louisiana's plan to win extra federal Medicaid matching dollars by increasing the disproportionate-share cap for the state's public hospitals. The move forestalls a crisis in the state's $5.3 billion Medicaid budget by allowing the state to draw $774 million in additional federal funding for fiscal 2004, ending June 30. Thompson signed off on the plan under intense pressure from state officials. The state Legislature voted last year to implement a two-year federal program that allows states to increase the cap on disproportionate-share payments to 175% of uncompensated care costs from 100%. Louisiana's hospitals will return the extra funds to the state Medicaid program, which will use the money to draw federal matching funds. The program was enacted in the Medicare, Medicaid and State Child Health Insurance Program Benefits Improvement and Protection Act of 2000. -- by Mary Chris Jaklevic
HHS approves plan to increase La. Medicaid funds
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