On Friday we received a call from a local news organization with questions about an article  which appeared in The State  Newspaper. (The link and news story appears below).  They wanted our thoughts about the article, the proposed Medicaid cuts to all health care providers and how it would affect jobs in our region. Many people do not understand who is covered by Medicaid. For more information, see the blog from December 20, 2010, for the YouTube clip on the “Faces of Medicaid.”

This was our response as we communicate to others about ongoing issues and proposed changes to Medicaid provider payments. While this is a moving, ever changing issue, below is our view to date:

A substantial cut in reimbursements will affect services and the positions which support those services.

At McLeod, we have continued to provide and grow essential services to care for patients in our region with a commitment to quality and operational efficiency. These treatments and programs address significant disease processes prevalent in our state’s population – - including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and premature births.  Some of these critical patient care services are located only at McLeod for the people living in the Northeastern region of South Carolina.

The financial shortfalls anticipated with Medicaid reductions, due to the state’s fiscal budget, will effect the delivery of  health care services.  We believe this will ultimately result in the elimination of programs, community outreach funding and possibly even jobs.  Hospitals are already paid below actual cost by Medicaid for patient care services.  The proposed cut to providers, in the 10 to 15% range, will negatively impact the availability and local access to needed services in our community.  As one of the largest employers in Florence County, the potential reduction in jobs and programs will have an impact on the local economy as well, both long term and short term, during these already challenging times.

We will continue to work with the Medicaid Program to do our part.  However, we do not believe that it is wise to include physicians in these cuts.  This would further complicate problems of access to care for patients.  This would be especially true in rural parts of the state, where there is an even greater shortage of physicians.  Hospitals have also offered to increase their contribution to the state’s general fund to offset shortages.  This additional contribution for Medicaid would allow the state to receive a three to one match, benefiting patients and reducing the state’s financial obligation.

Rob Colones
President and CEO
McLeod Health

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