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Gov. Edwards and DHH outline proposed cuts to health care services

7 months 3 hours 53 minutes ago May 11, 2016 May 11, 2016 Wednesday, May 11 2016 May 11, 2016 3:54 PM in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- Governor John Bel Edwards and the Department of Health and Hospitals outlined proposed changes to the budget would threaten health care services in the state.

This week the House Appropriations Committee chairman unveiled the changes to the budget without prior consultation with legislators and the administration.

The plan would likely close hospitals across the state, including hospitals that train medical professionals, eliminate waiver program and limit the state ability to provide licenses to facilities and adequately investigate complaints.

In addition, the state is at risk of losing more than $1 billion in federal funding, according Gov. Edwards office.

Gov. Edwards said that he plants to work to raise the revenue to properly fund critical services.

 “The plan presented by the House Appropriations Committee this week teeters between irresponsible and reckless," Edwards said.

“When we are talking about services that literally mean the difference between life or death and the future financial stability of our state, we should be working in a collaborative manner with a common goal – to make sure the people of Louisiana are cared for in the most efficient way possible," he said. “While we are all working to make sure we can end the cycle of dangerous cuts to education and health care, including TOPS, this plan is nothing more than a political stunt that jeopardizes the future of our state and puts families at unnecessary risk.”

Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of DHH, said that the budget crafted by the House Appropriations Committee is “devastating to Louisiana’s health care system.”

“The governor proposed a responsible plan that kept critical services intact in a more responsible way,” Dr. Gee said.

“ Unfortunately, that plan concocted by the chairman jeopardizes life-saving services for some of the state’s most vulnerable patients and families, our critical public-private partnership hospitals, and potentially ends public medical education in the state,” she said.

Dr. Gee also said that the administration is working to protect “these important services.”

Under the plan submitted this week by the House Appropriations Committee, the following health care services would be impacted:

Private Partners:

-Current funding levels may provoke all public private partners (PPP) to exit their contracts, threatening multiple communities’ with the total closure of their hospitals

Medical Education:

-Public medical education would effectively end in Louisiana, eliminating training programs for up to 1,900 medical residents from across the country who are expecting to start their residencies here this July and threatening a generation of consequences to our health care system

-Graduate medical education would be eliminated without properly funded teaching hospitals which would struggle to maintain quality programs

Health Standards:

-Cuts to the Office of the Secretary would eliminate up to 25 percent of the jobs in the Health Standards department, or licensing section

-Without proper inspections and licensing, all state provider facilities would be at risk of lacking proper licensing, potentially putting patients in uninspected, unlicensed, and possibly unsafe facilities

- Unlicensed facilities (hospitals, etc.) would be ineligible to participate in major federal programs, such as Medicare, throwing their business models into chaos.

Waivers:

- New cuts to our Medicaid budget would slash waivers and optional programs that care for our state’s most vulnerable patients and families, placing these populations in extreme danger, devastating families who will be without care, and exposing the state to huge litigation costs due to likely violation of federal law and lawsuits from advocates and families.
    The following waivers and programs, affecting over 5,600 individuals and families, would be eliminated to meet the budget targets set by the House Appropriations Committee:
       - Adult Day Health Waiver: 900 Recipients
        - Pediatric Day Health Care: 235 participants
        - Reduced Independent Living Services through New Opportunities Waiver: 1,567 recipients
        - Children’s Choice Waiver: 1,227 recipients
        - Supports Waiver: 1,739 recipients
        - Residential Options Waiver: 26 patients

Fraud, Waste, and Abuse:

 - Cuts to our administration programs eliminate tools we use to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse, including:
        Electronic verification of visits (EVV)
        Cutting Waiver controls and tools we use to prevent waste, abuse, and neglect (Support Coordination    services)

Rural Hospitals:

 - Cuts of over $12 million State General Fund (SGF)
 - DHH would be forced to cut rural hospitals below the levels we are legally obligated to fund due to the   Rural Hospital Preservation Act
 - Rural hospitals would potentially close due to the lack of funding

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