New Jersey state health officials will shut off charity-care funding to roughly one-third of the states hospitals as part of a revision of the formula aimed to minimize cuts in services and programs for safety net hospitals under the proposed fiscal 2009 budget.
Officials said the proposed state budget will provide $608 million in charity care, a reduction of $108 million from the current level of $716 million, but $35 million of the funding will be diverted to a new healthcare stabilization fund to help providers maintain access in their communities. The new fund was based on a recommendation in the recent New Jersey Commission on Rationalizing Health Care Resources study to ensure that the most vulnerable residents have continued access to care when hospitals are in distress or close, officials said in a news release.
Under the revised charity-care formula, hospitals will be classified into three tiers based on the percentage of charity care provided by the hospital relative to total revenue, or the charity-care payer mix. New Jersey Hospital Association officials estimated in a news release that roughly one-third of the states 78 hospitals would see their charity care completely eliminated. In past budgets weve had winners and losers in how charity-care funds are distributed. In this budget we all lose, said Betsy Ryan, the New Jersey associations chief operating officer and president-elect. The states hospitals deliver $1.3 billion in charity care annually, according to the association. -- by Cinda Becker
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