The federal budget discussions in Washington continue and Missouri’s hospitals are facing serious potential payment cuts. We should be very concerned about President Obama’s proposal to place a cap on state provider taxes which would affect Missouri’s Federal Reimbursement Allowance program. Discussions of proposed reductions to the Medicare program are equally concerning. Rural hospitals should be particularly concerned with proposed elimination of the sole community hospital program and the Medicare dependent hospital program.
Cuts to these programs would have a disproportionately negative impact on Missouri because of our aging population, poverty rate and reliance on provider taxes to fund the Medicaid program. This isn’t just an issue of protecting the safety net as we know it; it has implications for all Missourians.
Please consider contacting your congressperson to ask that they do all they can to protect Missouri Hospitals, especially rural hospitals. Ask your legislator to contact members of the “super committee” and their legislative leaders.
Below is an email I’ve sent to Congresswoman Hartzler and Senator Blunt. Feel free to contact me for more information and to use the information in the email I’ve provided below.
This link will get you Senator Blunt: http://blunt.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form?p=contact-roy
This link will get you Congresswoman Hartzler: https://hartzler.house.gov/contact-me
I’m deeply concerned with the proposals being considered by congressional leaders to reduce the deficit at the expense of Missouri Hospitals, specifically rural hospitals. I support the need to get our nation’s financial house in order but not at the expense of hospitals that provided needed services in rural areas to some of our most vulnerable citizens and, in a struggling economy, steps that may be taken to negatively affect one of the only economic sectors to have added jobs during the current economic downturn.
Provider tax cuts would disproportionately hurt Missouri’s Hospitals because a significant portion of Missouri’s Medicaid program is financed through provider taxes. Missouri should not be expected to bear an unfair share of deficit reduction costs compared to other states.
As a rural hospital representative, employee, and health care service recipient I am also concerned about the potential elimination of the sole community hospital program and the Medicare dependent hospital program. Rural Missouri hospitals provide services to a high proportion of Medicare and Medicaid recipients.
Elimination or reduction of any the programs I mentioned above would severely limit Golden Valley Memorial Hospital’s ability to meet the health care needs of those in our service area. We currently employ 640 individuals and have a payroll of $30 million and nearly 65% of our revenue comes from Medicare and Medicaid which means that some of the most vulnerable individuals in our community are the primary beneficiaries of our services. Beneficiaries of the programs being considered for elimination or reduction represent the core of who we serve and they represent who we are.
I would encourage you to contact members of the “super committee” and other legislative leaders to ask that they protect Missouri Hospitals, especially rural hospitals – the very hospitals that protect the communities that need them the most!
Please feel free to contact me with any questions.