Health care on Smith Hill today
I’m rushing around like a crazy person trying to prepare for the multiple committee meetings on health related issues at the General Assembly. Here’s what’s going on-
Hospital Conversion Act Amendment
Want to testify on the issue? The House Corporations Committee is reviewing the legislation today at the rise of House session (usually around 4:30pm) in room 313.
If you’re busy, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee will review the Senate version of the bill tomorrow at 2:30pm in the Senate Lounge (that’s on the 2nd floor of the State House.)
Health related budget articles
If the Hospital Conversions Act doesn’t interest you, what about the state budget? The Senate Finance Committee is reviewing several proposals today in room 211 at the rise of the Senate (around 4:30pm). Here’s a sample-
-Changes to uncompensated care payments to hospitals.
This budget article doesn’t look like much- it reduces the maximum amount the hospital system can get for uncompensated care from $129.8 million to $126.2 million. That’s a difference of $3.6 million. Not too big a deal.
What hospitals are more upset about is something that doesn’t appear in this article- the elimination of a fund distributed to hospitals to make up for inadequate Medicaid payments. The Hospital Association of Rhode Island says last year that payment was $12 million dollars- $6 million from the feds and $6 million from the state budget. But don’t get too worried. The Hospital Association says this fund has been eliminated and added back in every year for the past three years.
–Elimination of dental benefits for adults on Medicaid.
Here’s the entire text of the amendment-
Notwithstanding the above, the executive office of health and human services is authorized to eliminate dental services for adults age twenty-one (21) years and older.
This budget article is also a repeat from the past. In 2009, Governor Carcieri tried to cut the same services, but community health centers and other health advocates successfully advocated against the proposal. They’ll be out in force this afternoon.
Those are the proposals I’ll be watching at the State House today. Other budget articles up for consideration include-
- Removing the Department of Elderly Affairs from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.
- Allowing DCYF to “petition the court for the provision of treatment of the family and child” (still not totally sure what that means.)
- Allowing the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to ask for changes to its Medicaid program from the Federal Government. (Since RI received its “Global Medicaid Waiver” it’s had to get permission from the feds for doing things like removing dental services for adults. This allows the State to do that for all budget articles related to Medicaid. )
- Changes to the law governing medical assistance recoveries.
See you at the State House!