Noteworthy News

Hospitals Worry About Lost DSH Money

Safety-net hospitals across the country are worried about what will happen come 2014, the New York Times reports, when the Affordable Care Act’s individual insurance mandate and Medicaid expansion take effect and they lose funds they currently receive from the federal government to help with the cost of caring for their low-income and uninsured patients.

Hospitals that care for large numbers of such patients receive what are known as disproportionate share hospital payments, commonly referred to as “DSH,” from both Medicare and Medicaid.  Under the 2009 health care reform law, however, those payments will be reduced drastically in anticipation of a significant decline in the number of uninsured Americans.

The leaders of these hospitals, however, believe that even the individual insurance mandate and Medicaid expansion will still leave them with many uninsured patients to treat, including illegal residents and those who decline to buy insurance despite the insurance mandate.

Historically, DSH funds have been vital to the financial health of urban safety-net hospitals.  Among those quoted in the article is Wendy Z. Goldstein, president and CEO of Brooklyn’s Lutheran Medical Center, which is a member of the National Association of Urban Hospitals (NAUH).

Read more about this situation, and the challenges urban safety-net hospitals believe they will face as a result, in this New York Times articleHealth Care Reform/Flag.

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