NH Hospitals Ask Feds to Intervene in State Medicaid

Friday, 27 Apr 2012 09:54 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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New Hampshire hospitals have taken the unprecedented step of asking the federal government to intervene in the state-run Medicaid program after accusing state officials of implementing spending cuts without regard for the impact on the poor and needy.
 
In a letter Thursday to Medicaid officials in Washington, 160 hospital trustees said the state initiated a $130 million reduction in program payments to hospitals without analyzing how it would affect patients, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.
 
The trustees said the failure amounts to a violation of federal law because the Medicaid act requires that states measure the impact of changes made to the program on patients.
 
“The the state is simply ‘flying blind’ on how its decisions are affecting access to care,” the trustees wrote.
 
The letter also claims the New Hampshire Medicaid delivery system is broken and federal intervention is needed to stop further deterioration, the Union Leader reported.
 
Frank McDougall, vice president of government affairs for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital, stressed the letter doesn’t ask for a federal takeover, which could include denial of waivers, and withholding of federal Medicaid payments to the state.
 
As a result of the spending cuts, the trustees complained they have been forced to lay off medical and support staff and close some programs. They said some hospitals have also been forced to restrict access for Medicaid patients.

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