Un­der­served ar­eas and their hos­pi­tals have ben­e­fited from DSH pro­gram

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

Re­gard­ing the re­cent ar­ti­cle, “Read­mis­sions may say more about pa­tients than care” (ModernHealthcare.com, Sept. 14), I was the med­i­cal di­rec­tor at a hos­pi­tal in Gary, Ind., brought in to turn around the emer­gency depart­ment, so I have seen un­der­served ar­eas up close. The hos­pi­tal re­lied on dis­pro­por­tion­ate-share money to meet bud­get short­falls. The pro­gram, in­tended to dis­trib­ute funds to ar­eas based on need, is be­ing phased out un­der the Af­ford­able Care Act. While im­per­fect, like many large gov­ern­ment pro­grams, DSH of­fers hos­pi­tals and the un­der­served pop­u­la­tions they serve a fi­nan­cial life­line. A so­lu­tion might be to look at these his­tor­i­cal pay­ments and de­velop a fund­ing for­mula to pro­vide cer­tainty out­side the ACA on which these hos­pi­tals could bud­get.

Dr. Ernie Vesta Chief med­i­cal of­fer Ver­i­tas Healthcare Man­age­ment Fort Collins, Colo.

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