Large hospitals to be hard hit by Medicaid cuts

5:41 AM, Mar 3, 2014   |    comments
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MIAMI - Large Miami-area hospitals serving many Medicaid patients and uninsured Floridians are expected to be hard hit under a new funding law.

Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital could face $140 million in cuts after the law takes effect in July.

Jackson Memorial serves more uninsured and Medicaid patients than any other hospital in Florida.

Lawmakers passed the Medicaid funding reforms in 2011 with the intent of making the statewide distribution of funds more equitable.

Under the new law, health care providers throughout the Miami-Dade area will lose about $218 million in funding.

"That would be fairly catastrophic," Carlos Migoya, chief executive officer of Jackson Memorial, said. "We're at a point right now where we are fairly efficient. It's not like we have a whole lot of extra fat to cut."

Some lawmakers believe the state should rework the law.

Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, played a key role in the 2011 Medicaid reform but now believes that the law had some unintended consequences.

"It would really, really put a dent on some of the major treatment facilities in the state, be it trauma facilities or otherwise, and that would be a problem," he said.

And Hudson said that the law takes away the incentive for communities to raise taxes for health care facilities because there is no guarantee that the money would stay in that community.

Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, said repealing the new law is a priority for Miami-area legislators.

"This is the opposite of Robin Hood. It is stealing from the poor to give to the rich."

Broward County is among several counties that will gain funding under the plan

But officials at Broward's largest hospitals said they do not support the changes.

Memorial Healthcare System Chief Executive Officer Frank Sacco said he is especially concerned about the effect the changes will have on Jackson Memorial

"Why would we want to devastate the largest safety net provider in the state of Florida?" he said. "We wouldn't want it to happen to us. We understand that we need to hold the line on this one."

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