Cuts could change patients from Medicaid to uninsured
IRVING, TX – With significant concerns about state budget reductions to hospitals and physicians following the release of the House Appropriations Committee’s House Bill 1 last week, 75 local hospitals making up the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council (DFWHC) issued a Call to Action on the potential budget crisis at a press conference Tuesday at DFWHC offices. Representatives of Baylor Health Care System, HCA North Texas, JPS Health Network, Methodist Health System, Parkland Health and Hospital System and Texas Health Resources made a statement to legislators in an effort to protect state funding.
“This is a serious issue,” said W. Stephen Love, president and chief executive officer of DFWHC. “These reductions will cause a loss of federal matching dollars and more uncompensated care for hospitals and physicians potentially leading to disenrollment in Medicaid programs. Cuts to Texas Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program budgets for FY 2004-2005 resulted in a 29 percent decline in enrollment in less than a year.”
DFWHC representatives said the Texas Medicaid program benefits the lives of eligible participants including children, with reductions expected to have a major impact on residents.
“These cuts could change patients from Medicaid to the uninsured,” said Stan Morton, DFWHC chair and president of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Denton. “This would result in a shift of patient care from ambulatory settings to emergency departments. This is not the best situation for patients.”
Disenrollment (patients converted from Medicaid to the uninsured) will increase costs by shifting health care from ambulatory settings to more expensive emergency departments and increase hospital stays, according to DFWHC representatives. They cited a 2007 Arizona study “Impact of Medicaid Disenrollment on Health Care Use and Cost,” where it was estimated that a 10 percent disenrollment in children would increase health care costs in Phoenix by $2,121 per child. According to Love, only one in three physicians treat Medicaid patients. Additional cuts would negatively impact physician access.
“Reductions will hurt the Dallas-Fort Worth economy in regard to employment, income and sales tax,” he said. “DFWHC hospitals are not just sounding a warning call. They believe everyone can be part of a solution as we support our legislative leaders to find non-tax revenue, fix the problems with our business tax system, remove inappropriate tax exemptions and consider using some of the Rainy Day Fund.”
DFWHC Call to Action representatives included Stan Morton, president of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton; Steve Newton, president of Baylor All Saints Medical Center Fort Worth; Regina Montoya, senior vice president and general counsel, Children’s Medical Center Dallas; Bill Kennedy, senior vice president of Cook Children’s Health Care System; Jonathan Davis, president of Methodist Charlton Medical Center; Doug Welch, president of Medical Center of Lewisville; and Dr. Ron Anderson, president and chief executive officer of Parkland Health & Hospital System.