Hospital closure sparks interest in Kansas Medicaid expansion

Mercy Hospital Independence (Kan.) is closing its doors Oct. 10, and the hospital's looming closure is causing some state lawmakers to consider expanding Medicaid in Kansas, according to a Lawrence Journal-World report.

Chesterfield, Mo.-based Mercy health system cited a number of reasons it was closing the Kansas hospital, including shrinking reimbursement rates.

Kansas Hospital Association President and CEO said other hospitals in the state are headed down the same road as Mercy Hospital, however, expanding Medicaid in Kansas could help some of those facilities keep their doors open. Mr. Bell said expanding Medicaid would have meant an additional $1.5 million a year for Mercy Hospital Independence.

Mercy Hospital's impending closure has caused Kansas Senate Vice President Jeff King (R-Independence) to take a closer look at the possibility of expanding Medicaid in the state.

"I've never been amenable to just an expansion of the Affordable Care Act," he said, according to the report. "But as we look at states like Indiana that take a real state-centric approach to addressing the healthcare needs of their poor, I think that's something that Kansas needs to strongly consider."

In January, Indiana won approval to expand its own brand of Medicaid that requires participants to contribute to the cost of their care.

More articles on healthcare finance:

A state-by-state breakdown of 57 rural hospital closures
2 Kansas hospitals at risk of closing must look past 136-year-old rivalry for solution
Carolinas HealthCare expansion efforts pay off in first half of 2015

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