November 2, 2012 – Pointing to limits in the state budget, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration on Wednesday made changes in expected Medicaid payment rates that will cost hospitals about $60 million. The reductions will be spread among dozens of hospitals across the state and were announced as AHCA finalized rates for the 2012-13 fiscal year. The issue centers on a complicated process that involves local governments contributing hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid money that can then be used to draw down additional federal funds for hospitals. Local governments agreed to put up $392.7 million that would go to two pots of money for hospitals, but the 2012-13 budget approved by lawmakers only called for spending $367.3 million in those areas. AHCA said it had to stay within the budgeted amount — leading to reductions in what hospitals expected to receive. “The agency is committed to following the law and will remain within the limits of its budget authority,” AHCA said in a notice released late Wednesday afternoon. Lakeland Regional Health Systems (A2 / 511665JE2) expects this change to cost it between $500,000 and $1 million in the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, according to Evan Jones, its chief financial officer and vice president.
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