Time is running out to stall Medicaid DSH cuts

Hospitals across the country are gearing up for a fight to once again delay the cuts to the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital program slated to take effect next month, according to ABC-affiliate WWTI. 

The Medicaid DSH program is designed to give safety-net hospitals, which serve a large share of low-income patients and uninsured patients, more financial flexibility. 

Congress has delayed cuts to DSH funding four times since 2013, most recently in February 2018. The cuts are mandated under the ACA, which assumed hospitals would have lower uncompensated care costs as more people bought insurance. 

However, unless Congress acts, a $4 billion reduction in DSH payments is scheduled for Oct. 1, which would affect reimbursement dollars for fiscal year 2020. 

 Hospitals across the country are once again urging their state representatives to delay the cuts..

"If allowed to take effect, the impending Medicaid DSH cuts would place a tremendous strain on safety-net hospitals that care for our most vulnerable populations," Healthcare Association of New York President Bea Grause, RN, told WWTI. "We applaud [New York] Senator [Charles] Schumer for his steadfast commitment to averting these massive reductions and continue to join him in his efforts to protect New York’s hospitals and health systems and the patients they serve."

Meghan Swain, executive director of the Michigan Association for Local Public Health, wrote in the Oakland Press that while the issue crosses party lines, "time is running out this year, and in just a month, the most vulnerable of Americans and the hospitals they rely on will have to reckon with the adverse effects of bipartisan inaction."

America's Essential Hospitals, the American Hospital Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, and five other national hospital groups called on policymakers in February to implement another delay for scheduled cuts to the Medicaid DSH program.

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