KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Dispute Over Federal Hospital Funding Threatens Safety-Net Hospitals In Texas

In states such as Texas and Florida, that have not expanded Medicaid and are facing a cut in federal hospital funds, the future is uncertain for many hospitals. The Texas Tribune examines which hospitals are at risk, while Florida news outlets report that a plan by the governor is not gaining traction among hospital executives. Also, elsewhere hospital officials in North Carolina seek Medicaid changes.

The Texas Tribune: With Hospital Funds In Question, Who's At Risk?
As Texas negotiates with Washington over how to pay for health care for the poor and uninsured — a tricky dance given the state's opposition to expanding Medicaid coverage under President Obama's signature health law — billions of dollars in federal funding are on the line. And the state's safety-net hospitals and clinics are steeling themselves for an uncertain future. Currently, Texas providers rely on a five-year, federally approved program called the "1115 waiver" that reimburses them for the care they provide to people who cannot afford health insurance. But the feds have indicated that "uncompensated care" money could be discontinued if Texas doesn't expand Medicaid, the joint state-federal insurer of last resort, to include the poorest adults. (Aaronson and Walters, 5/20)

Health News Florida: Florida Hospitals Hesitant To Give Commission Data
Gov. Rick Scott, who last week asked the state's hospitals to provide a large amount of financial data by Monday, will not get all that he asked for that quickly. He may not get some of it at all. Hospital executives and lawyers say they want to cooperate with Scott and his newly appointed Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding, which seeks data on services, profits, costs and patient outcomes. (Gentry, 5/18)

The Associated Press: Gov. Rick Scott's Hospital Commission To Meet For First Time
Gov. Rick Scott's new hospital commission consists of Republican donors and business leaders who will likely help him go after some of the state's hospitals as the standoff over Medicaid expansion intensifies. The panel, which will meet for the first time Wednesday, is beginning its work as the governor has become increasingly antagonistic toward hospitals that receive taxpayer funds in the face of a $1 billion hole in his budget. (Kennedy, 5/19)

In other hospital news -

The Wall Street Journal: Major Donations Bolster Hospital, Medical Research
A stretch of the Upper East Side of Manhattan will be transformed into even more of an international hub for hospitals and medical research with a total of $250 million in separate donations from the industrialist David H. Koch and the financier Henry R. Kravis and his wife, Marie-Josée Kravis. (Grayce West, 5/20)

Georgia Health News: WellStar Expanding Reach In LaGrange Hospital Deal
Marietta-based WellStar is planning to add another hospital system to its fold, one that’s outside its current geographical sweet spot. West Georgia Health in LaGrange announced Tuesday that it has signed a letter of intent to join WellStar Health System, which dominates the northwest Atlanta suburbs. The CEO of West Georgia, Jerry Fulks, cited the changes rampant in health care payments — many of which were ignited by the Affordable Care Act — for his system’s yearlong pursuit of a partner. (Miller, 5/19)

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