Lawmaker Urges More Funding For Hospitals That Provide Care For Low-Income, Uninsured

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Georgia Sen. David Shafer (R) in a letter to Department of Community HealthCommissioner Rhonda Medows wrote that almost every hospital in thestate is getting a portion of the $400 million disproportionate sharehospital funding meant only for facilities that provide a large amountof care to low-income and uninsured residents, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

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Grady Memorial Hospital,which is "by far the largest provider of health care to poor anduninsured" Georgia residents, will receive about $70 million in suchpayments for this fiscal year, the Journal-Constitutionreports. Shafer wrote that hospitals such as Grady that "actuallyprovide disproportionate indigent care are being shortchanged tens ofmillions of dollars." He wrote that expansions in the program haveallowed hospitals that provide almost no care to the uninsured toreceive money from the fund, turning it into an "across-the-boardsubsidy for the health care delivery system."

DCH spokespersonAmanda Seals said that cutting funding for some hospitals "would havethe potential for contributing to the collapse of hospitals in severalcommunities who would not have enough time to develop alternative plansfor their communities to have hospital access." Community Healthofficials have proposed a new formula to distribute the funding, butShafer says it is not enough. He said that the "issue is bigger thanGrady, and frankly, Grady's problems are bigger than this one program"(Salzer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 10/23).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily HealthPolicy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The HenryJ. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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