Mis­souri hos­pi­tals cut­ting jobs, cap­i­tal spend­ing

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS -

Mis­souri hos­pi­tals have elim­i­nated about 1,000 po­si­tions and put a hir­ing freeze on more than 2,100 va­cant po­si­tions in the past six months, the state hospi­tal as­so­ci­a­tion said last week while push­ing for an ex­pan­sion of the state’s Med­i­caid pro­gram.

The Mis­souri Hospi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion said its mem­bers also have can­celed or de­layed more than $100 mil­lion in cap­i­tal im­prove­ments, and some hos­pi­tals are now con­sid­er­ing where to pare back ser­vices such as on­col­ogy or hospice care.

The as­so­ci­a­tion said the cut­backs are in re­sponse to federal fund­ing cuts, high costs of treat­ing the unin­sured and chang­ing hospi­tal uti­liza­tion pat­terns by pa­tients.

Hos­pi­tals have teamed up with the Mis­souri Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try to sup­port an ex­pan­sion of Med­i­caid el­i­gi­bil­ity to thou­sands of lower-in­come adults, which would bring in bil­lions of additional federal dol­lars un­der the terms of Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act.

They con­tend that the additional federal Med­i­caid money is needed to sta­bi­lize the hos­pi­tals’ fi­nances.

Cham­ber Pres­i­dent and CEO Dan Me­han said the hospi­tal job re­duc­tions are the start of “a very real and dire trend.”

“We’re start­ing to see med­i­cal deserts cre­ated in parts of the state,” added Herb Kuhn, pres­i­dent and CEO of the hospi­tal as­so­ci­a­tion.

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