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Health News Florida

Scott OKs $65M for Hospitals, Vetoes $368M in Projects

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Gov. Rick Scott signed the 2013-14 budget, which includes a $65 million cushion for hospitals that serve a disproportionate share of Medicaid patients as the program goes through its transition to a new payment system.

But Scott also vetoed a 3 percent state university tuition increase and released a list of  line-item vetoes for projects he considered unnecessary, the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau reported.

In a press release, Scott said his budget included $25.2 million to alleviate the waiting lists on the Aged and Disabled Adult Medicaid Waiver Program and the Nursing Home Diversion Program.

The rejected projects include:

  • $1 million for a crisis stabilization unit in Fort Walton Beach
  • $2 million in extra Medicaid funding for Bethesda Hospital in Palm Beach County
  • $4 million in additional funding for private home nurses
  • $2 million for the ARC of Jacksonville
  • $500,000 for homeless programs in Okaloosa and Walton County

The so-called “safety-net hospitals,” including Jackson Memorial and Tampa General, had lobbied hard for the payment during the past week after there were signs the governor might veto it.
The funds are designed to keep the hospitals afloat as they transition from a cost-based Medicaid payment system to one designed to reward efficiency. The change to "diagnosis-related groups," or DRG payments,  is similar to the one that Medicare has been using for decades.