Noteworthy News

Medicare DSH Cuts Loom for Urban Safety-Net Hospitals

Urban safety-net hospitals across the country will soon lose important funding that helps them care for many of their low-income and uninsured patients:  their Medicare disproportionate share hospital payments (Medicare DSH).

Health Care Reform/FlagCome 2014, the Affordable Care Act mandates a significant cut in hospitals’ Medicare DSH payments.  The underlying rationale for this cut is that once the health care reform law’s individual insurance mandate takes effect and states begin greatly expanding Medicaid eligibility (a reform law mandate made optional by this year’s Supreme Court decision), hospitals will have fewer such patients and less need for supplemental DSH funding.

But as a Kaiser Health News article points out, hospital officials are concerned that the funding will phase out before the expanded insurance phases in, leaving them with fewer resources to care for their low-income, still-uninsured patients.

Urban safety-net hospitals, which care for the greatest numbers of low-income and uninsured patients, figure to suffer the most under such circumstances.

Learn more about the phase-down of Medicare DSH payments and the challenges urban safety-net hospitals will face in its wake in this Kaiser Health News article.

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