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Hospital Groups Wants Changes In Federal Funding

a stethoscope rests on cash.
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The head of a Florida hospital association on Monday sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asking that it reconsider the distribution of tens of billions of dollars in health-care funding stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida CEO Justin Senior asked in the letter that before the federal government sends a second round of funding to hospitals and health-care systems that it revisit the underlying formula used to distribute an initial round of money.

Congress agreed in two COVID-19 relief bills to appropriate $175 billion for hospitals and health systems. Part of that funding --- $50 billion --- already has been distributed based on hospitals’ 2018 revenue.

Senior wants the federal government to alter the formula so that it takes into consideration the amount of charity and uninsured care hospitals provide.

“We ask that as HHS develops a methodology for distributing the remaining funds, that it chooses a formula that accounts for hospitals that serve Medicaid and uninsured patients. We suggest that a simple formula based upon a hospital’s admissions and/or discharges, or a simple formula based upon a hospital’s total patient days would work well,” Senior wrote in the letter.

“Either approach would take into account all of a hospital’s patients, including Medicaid and uninsured patients, while a formula based on patient days would be particularly helpful to hospitals that serve the sickest and most complicated patients (who tend to have longer stays). In any event, we again urge that HHS make any future formula simple, fast, and fair.”

The Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida represents public, children’s and teaching hospitals that provide a large share of Medicaid and charity care.