Government
9:37 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Budget Item Would Assist Kansas Hospitals

Hospitals in Kansas could lose some federal money if the state doesn't expand Medicaid services under the federal health care law. A lawmaker helping to draft the budget says the state needs to consider assisting those hospitals. 

Many hospitals receive payments to help them cover the costs of medical care for the uninsured. They’re known as disproportionate share hospital payments.   As the federal health care law continues, the focus will move to funding more Medicaid services, meaning the current disproportionate share funds could be reduced or completely eliminated.

Senator Jim Denning, a Republican from Overland Park, says those payments are critical for some hospitals.

“Well out in the rural areas, with their critical access hospitals, a lot of times it’s a significant revenue stream for them,” says Denning. “Without it they would not be able to continue operations.”

The payments are funded jointly by the state and the federal government. Denning says it’s looking like Kansas may not expand Medicaid, so he’d like the state to keep paying its share to the hospitals--which is around $30 million--even if the federal payments go away. A conference committee is considering that plan as they continue work on the budget.