Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Safety-net hospitals win delay on costly funding law

TALLAHASSEE — Safety-net hospitals will get a one-year reprieve from a controversial funding formula that they said would cost them hundreds of millions of dollars.

The so-called "tiering" law would have required counties that use local dollars to attract federal matching funds for hospitals to share that money with counties that don't raise local funds for health care. Jackson Health System in Miami was bracing for a $140 million cut as a result of the new law. Tampa General Hospital said its loss would have been $43 million. Miami Children's Hospital and All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg estimated they would together lose $18 million.

The Legislature's two health care budget chiefs — Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, and Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring — agreed Wednesday that the tiering law should be delayed.

In the next year, the state should have time to complete privatizing the Medicaid system, which proponents hope will save money. The federal government also gave Florida a March 2015 deadline to complete a study on how it pays for Medicaid and better ensure that money gets to where it is most needed.

"We don't know what happens next year, so the best thing to do is maintain the status quo," Grimsley said. "When we come back in session next year, we will then have a better idea of what direction we need to go."

The news came as a relief to safety-net hospitals worried about losing even more money at a time when other changes in state law have affected the Medicaid program — and the state has refused $51 billion over three years to expand eligibility for the program.

When the tiering law was first passed in 2011 as part of a major bill to change how Medicaid is administered, it was seen as a way to stretch available dollars. But as time drew near to implement the tiering plan, lawmakers from the state's most populated counties started to apply the brakes.

Especially now, tiering would have been one blow too many, said Amy Maguire, vice president for government and corporate relations at All Children's. "We're able to serve so many kids because of our partnership with the (Juvenile Welfare Board) and the local dollars it provides," she said.

Jackson Health System CEO Carlos Migoya said he was pleased about "at least having the delay."

"We would have been more excited about a repeal," Migoya said. "But the delay will help."

Phillis Oeters, who oversees government relations for Baptist Health South Florida, said she, too, was relieved about the delay.

"The Legislature chose the right course for the state, particularly with all of the other hits hospitals have taken at a state and federal level," she said.

Oeters said the action will save Homestead Hospital from $6.6 million in cuts.

Safety-net hospitals win delay on costly funding law 04/23/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 11:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Times honored for top investigative story in Gerald Loeb annual business awards

    Business

    The Tampa Bay Times was a co-winner in the investigative category for one of the highest honors in business journalism.

    Tampa Bay Times current and former staff writers William R. Levesque, Nathaniel Lash and Anthony Cormier were honored in the investigative category for their coverage of "Allegiant Air" in the 60th Anniversary Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. 
[JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times

]

  2. Pasco woman gives birth to child fathered by 11 year old, deputies say

    Crime

    A Port Richey woman was arrested Tuesday, nearly three years after deputies say she gave birth to a child fathered by an 11-year-old boy.

    Marissa Mowry, 25, was arrested Tuesday on charges she sexually assaulted an 11-year-old and gave birth to his child. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  3. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  4. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.
  5. At College World Series, the save goes to an LSU dad/doctor

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — The father of LSU pitcher Jared Poche' helped revive an 87-year-old man who was slumped on the TD Ameritrade Park concourse with no pulse during Game 1 of the College World Series finals.

    UF’s Nelson Maldonado, left, and Deacon Liput high-five in Tuesday’s late CWS Game 2.