Hospital Alliance of New Jersey CEO: State needs to reduce federal charity care cuts

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New Jersey should work to reduce the effect of an impending decrease in charity care assistance, the president and CEO of the Hospital Alliance of New Jersey wrote in an op-ed for NJ Spotlight.

Suzanne Ianni wrote that the "work of our state's safety-net hospitals is critically important to the health of tens of thousands of New Jersey residents. To ensure safety-net hospitals' continued viability, to protect our state's healthcare system, and to reduce unnecessary [Disproportionate Share] payment cuts, let us all work together to strengthen and ensure Charity Care supports safety-net hospitals as it was designed to do."

New Jersey's Charity Care program gets funding from the federal government's Medicaid Disproportionate Share program. However, beginning in October, those DSH payments will be reduced under the ACA. The reductions are expected to total $4 billion in 2020 and $8 billion each year from  2021-25, with New Jersey slated to lose $1.1 billion from fiscal years 2020-25.

"Safety-net hospitals, however, depend upon these payments to make up for reimbursements they receive that are lower than the costs incurred for treating greater numbers of Medicaid patients," Ms. Ianni wrote. "These cuts will have a devastating impact upon the state's safety-net hospitals, which in the aggregate, currently operate with negative margins."

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