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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tampa General, All Children's take hit in state hospital funding



Late Monday, lawmakers released the additional payments some hospitals will receive in next year’s state budget.

The plan, released at 9:30 p.m. Monday, is among the most anxiously-awaited parts of the state’s health care budget, as it included more than $1 billion in supplemental money for hospitals.

Across the board, hospitals took hits owing to a $400 million reduction in the Low Income Pool, a pot of state and federal money that pays for uncompensated charity care. Among the hardest hit by the drop in LIP: the state’s safety net hospitals, which include public hospitals, specialty children’s hospitals and teaching hospitals.

“We weren’t given a lot of latitude,” said Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, the House’s health budget chairman. “At the end of the day, there’s going to be winners and losers.”

Lawmakers say their hands were tied by the federal government’s decision to cut LIP. And while they tried to shore up some hospitals using other programs, as well as a $75 million budget item for children’s hospitals, local facilities are still likely to be hurt.

“We’re working in an environment where we have $400 million less and next year we might not have anything,” said Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, the Senate’s health care budget chairman. “This was the best we could do with the federal guidelines.”

Under the plan, there are four tiers for LIP, with the hospitals that see the most charity patients receiving larger sums of money. What’s more, lawmakers were able to ensure that the hospitals whose communities contribute the most tax dollars to the LIP program would receive their investment back at the very minimum.

Here’s the impact on the Tampa Bay area’s two safety net hospitals, after taking into account tax dollars they contributed:

* Tampa General Hospital, $65.6 million, a 29 percent drop from the current fiscal year
* All Children’s Hospital, $49.4 million, a 13 percent drop

[Last modified: Monday, February 29, 2016 11:50pm]


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