States will be able to use an additional $268 million authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to help disproportionate-share hospitals care for uninsured patients, HHS announced.
Disproportionate-share hospitals, or DSH facilities, serve a disproportionate share of low-income or uninsured individuals. States receive an annual allotment to make payments to these hospitals to account for higher costs associated with treating uninsured and low-income patients. The economic stimulus law would now increase the amount of allotments available to states from approximately $11.06 billion to $11.33 billion for 2009.
The funding from the Recovery Act will help ensure hospitals can keep their doors open to the people who need care most, acting HHS Secretary Charles Johnson said in a written statement. Because not all states spend their full DSH allotments, they must demonstrate they have used all of their existing fiscalr 2009 DSH allotments before this new funding can be accessed.
Any public hospital will be thrilled these additional dollars will be going toward safety net hospitals across the country that have been faced with increased rising numbers of uninsured due to the economic crisis, said Lynne Fagnani, senior vice president with the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, in an interview.