KDMC gets big boost in Medicaid

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, August 1, 2001

A new Medicaid classification will help King’s Daughters MedicalCenter recover some from financial cuts sustained in relation tothe Balanced Budget Act, the facility’s chief financial officersaid Thursday.

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran announced Thursday that the Centers forMedicare and Medicaid in the U.S. Department of Health of HumanService had approved Mississippi’s application for the MedicaidUpper Payment Limit Classification. The approval means statehospitals can collect an additional $200 million a year in Medicaidreimbursements.

For KDMC, CFO Dean Snider said the new classification will meanabout $600,000 a year, according to Mississippi HospitalAssociation statistics.

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“This is going to help us tremendously,” Snider said.

Snider said the BBA of 1997 had impacted the hospital to thetune of around $2 million a year. Other efforts to restoreMedicare-related cuts have meant about $200,000 to $300,000 a year,he added.

“We’re not back where we were, but we’re grateful for this,”Snider said about Thursday’s announcement.

Snider said the funds will allow the hospital to keep acompetitive labor force and possibly pursue additional buildingprojects. He said KDMC’s salary schedule must remain competitive inthe face of a nursing shortage.

“That’s probably what we’re going to have to do with it,” Snidersaid.

Cochran hailed the change as a “huge victory for ruralhospitals, particularly those performing maternal and child healthservices.”

“The hospitals in our state provide an extraordinary level ofservice to their patients and communities, and the Medicaid programis a vital source of funds to ensure hospitals are reimbursed forproviding benefits to our state’s low income population,” thesenator said in a statement.

The state submitted its application in March after the statelegislature authorized the new program for hospitals.

“Without Medicaid, many hospitals, particularly our rural ones,could not afford to remain open,” Cochran said. “I know that thisnew eligibility will provide even more resources to combat thehealth care problems facing our residents and to allow greaterinvestment in the hospital facilities that do so much for ourcommunities.”