The current bill, passed late Friday, includes a Medicaid rate reduction of about 5.6%, which amounts to a cut of more than $303 million to hospitals.
Bruce Rueben, president of the Florida Hospital Association, noted that the legislation follows a round of cuts that totaled $500 million last May. “When you take it all together, it's a pretty big hit,” he said, adding that hospitals may need to look at limiting or cutting services, which could affect both Medicaid and privately insured patients. “Hospitals obviously have a very big challenge. There are a lot of tough choices that hospitals have.”
Yet Rueben also noted that hospitals are “relieved” that the cuts only amounted to a few hundred million – and not the $2 billion Scott originally proposed.
Nursing homes also got a reprieve in the legislation–rate cuts amounted to only 1.25%, half of the 2.5% originally expected, according to Kristen Knapp, a spokesperson for the Florida Health Care Association, which represents long-term-care providers.
“The budget was our primary focus this session,” she said, “and we’re relatively pleased with the outcome.”
The roughly $35.2 million in rate reductions is on top of the $187 million that was already cut last session, she noted. “We’re appreciative that they attempted to mitigate those cuts,” she said, adding that nursing homes have had to adjust working hours and cut back on quality of life programs. “It’s been significant.”
The legislation also puts limits, starting Aug. 1, on the number of emergency department visits Medicaid will reimburse for nonpregnant adults over the age of 21—capping them at six per fiscal year at a cost to hospitals of $46.7 million, according to the Florida Hospital Association.
It also eliminates payments for preventable hospital errors, to the tune of $2.7 million, the FHA estimates (PDF).
Rueben noted that 3.2 million people in Florida are on Medicaid.