Louisiana Cuts Rates For Medicaid Providers

"Louisiana will start paying less money Tuesday to many private health care providers for taking care of Medicaid patients, a move the state health department estimates will save $86 million this year," The Associated Press/The Advocate reports. Adults in the program may also have to pay a small co-pay if they visit emergency rooms for non-emergency care. "The cuts come as the health department shrinks its spending to $7.9 billion in the new fiscal year that began July 1, down $240 million from last year. Nearly all the cuts will be levied on the Medicaid program for the poor, elderly and disabled. But Jerry Phillips, state Medicaid director, said the department believes it can cover nearly two-thirds of that gap through efficiencies and the continuation of other cuts made during the last budget year."

Most of the cuts will fall on private health providers. "Private and community hospitals around the state will be paid 5 percent to more than 6 percent less for Medicaid services, depending on the type of services. Rural hospitals won't be cut. Primary care doctors and other physicians who treat Medicaid patients older than 16 will get paid 10 percent less. Levine said he wanted to limit the impact of the cuts on children's services, so the rates paid to pediatric doctors and pediatric specialists won't be changed" (Deslatte, 8/3).

"Children's Hospital in New Orleans could bear the brunt of budget cuts in Medicaid reimbursements to private hospitals," Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine said, The Times-Picayune/Nola.com reports. "Because Children's Hospital is 'highly reliant' on Medicaid, it is in line for a large piece of the budget cut, Levine said. As the state budget was being wrapped up in June, it appeared the hospital (funding) might be cut by more than $30 million, but Levine on Monday did not put a figure on the potential hit. In addition to tapping Medicaid's regular reimbursement program, Children's Hospital makes extensive use of Medicaid's outlier program, which provides higher reimbursements to compensate for extraordinary medical services such as intensive care, Levine said" (Scott, 8/3).

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