Hospital execs concerned about state budget cuts to Medicaid

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on March 29, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 29 at 5:43 PM

IRVING - Proposed state budget cuts are taking a big bite out of health care. Under the current plan, Medicaid payments would be reduced by a tenth.

North Texas hospital executives voiced concern that the cut will have a huge impact on health care and the local economy.

Experts said emergency rooms will become more overcrowded, with even longer waits if Medicaid gets cut.

Many family care doctors have already quit seeing Medicaid patients, because they lose money on providing them service.

"If patients don't have a place to go because their primary care physicians aren't accepting Medicaid, then those patients will come to our ER," said Steve Newton, Baylor All Saints president.

Executives at seven North Texas hospitals have sounded the alarm about the proposed ten percent reductions.

According to the DFW Hospital Council, more than 5,000 health care jobs would have to be eliminated.

"We feel like that economic impact to the community of income lost to those workers is about 261-million dollars and that would have an impact in retail sales of about 86 million dollars," said Steve Love, DFW Hospital Council.

Hospital executives pointed out that just because there is no money, does not diminish the need for health care.

"So we get the 10% cuts, but we get more patients because we have an open door policy, we see the patients," Dr. Ron Anderson, Parkland CEO.

Anderson predicts taxpayers and those with insurance will be forced to pay more for the most vulnerable, low-income pregnant women and children, who cannot afford to pay.

Email: jstjames@wfaa.com

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