From NH's East to West borders, northern and southern-most boundaries the recently passed state budget has sent waves of terror throughout our healthcare system as huge cuts to social welfare programs, especially Medicaid Reimbursement, threaten to bankrupt even the most prominent of our hospitals.
Reimbursement rates and uncompensated care as been a huge issue for NH's medicaid program since as long ago as 2008 when Boston Children's Hospital started refusing to accept NH Medicaid due to its low reimbursement rates, which had the hospital paying half of each patients care.
If a child was sick enough to require care at Boston Children's, if they needed a bone marrow transplant or emergency trauma care, they are still welcome to receive treatment, as a self-pay.
I wrote about the possibility of devastating budget cuts earlier in "How America's Financial Crisis can Kill You."
http://baldiesblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/budget-cuts-hurt-how-americas-financial.html, which included a letter from The Presidents of Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center to their employees and a letter to our representatives their Board of Director's.
Well, those desperate attempts came a little too late. If hospital's throughout NH predicted this was going to be a problem they could have acted sooner, joining ranks, organizing bus trips to protest, showing the power in numbers they have that oppose the cuts.
But none of that was done, just some quiet, polite letter writing. Even after the budget has passed, there has hardly been the severe anger and backlash I expected. I guess the movement to protect hospitals, including all providers and patients, needs a leader.
Now NH medicaid is officially charity due to the States' new budget that passed last week without Gov. Lynch's signature.
We'll call it scary charity.
Our republican run senates' budget promised not to increase taxes and instead cut hospital funding, mostly by lowering medicaid reimbursements rates to the point hospitals are now paying for the luxury of treating medicaid patients.
No, they didn't raise taxes on regularly folks, they created a hidden tax on hospitals. A form of cost shifting and underhanded taxation that preys on the weakest: the sick, the disabled, the elderly and needy, those who can't advocate for themselves due to physical inability or inadequate knowledge.
Here is the latest letter to Dartmouth employees from the VP of government relations: