A plan by Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri to reduce the states 2009 uncompensated-care payments to hospitals by $32 million is receiving wide criticism from hospital officials, private insurers and lawmakers alike, according to news reports.
Unveiled earlier this month, Carcieris proposed supplemental budget aims to close the states deficit by reducing current-year spending by some $357 millionroughly 9% of which would come from cuts to charity-care funds paid to community hospitals. But a spokesman for the Hospital Association of Rhode Island said such cuts would cause a staggering blow to hospitals, particularly those providing a disproportionate amount of care to uninsured residents. This budget proposal represents a cost shift in which hospitals will continue to provide services required by the state of Rhode Island without appropriate compensation from the state, said Edward Quinlan, president of the hospital association.
Under the proposal, 78-bed South County Hospital, Wakefield, R.I., would lose more than $900,000 this year and two-hospital St. Josephs Health Services would lose some $1.7 million in reimbursement, according to news reports. Rhode Island hospitals provided approximately $131 million in uncompensated care during 2008up $15 million from 2007according to the state hospital association.