Florida budget cuts Medicaid reimbursement rates by 12%
Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a $69 billion state budget that cuts hospitals’ Medicaid reimbursement rates in the state by 12%, which Moody’s Investors Service said will have a negative effect on the state’s hospitals. The cuts include $407.5 million in inpatient rate cuts and $102.9 million in outpatient cuts. Bruce Rueben, president of the Florida Hospital Association, said the cuts would force some hospitals to discontinue services or shift more costs to privately insured patients. The budget also enacts an expansion of Florida’s Medicaid managed-care program, though that requires a federal waiver (May 16, p. 6). The budget maintains a $1 billion pool of funding shared among hospitals with large numbers of poor patients. However, the distribution of the funding was changed so more goes to investorowned hospitals, a change the governor’s spokesman said was determined by a legislative committee. A different explanation was offered by the hospital association, which supported the pool-funding bill. Rueben said the new distribution is a result of “trying to smooth out the fact that there was less money available.” Scott, the former CEO of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., appointed a commission to study whether public hospitals should continue to exist in Florida in their current form. Its first meeting was May 27, the day after Scott signed the budget.