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Hospital Group Says More 'LIP' Money Possible

hospital workers in hospital
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

With Florida facing a funding cut next year in a major health-care program, the president of a hospital-industry group said Tuesday he thinks it remains possible to get federal approval for more money.

Federal officials have said the Low Income Pool program will receive $608 million during the 2016-17 fiscal year, down from $1 billion this year.

The so-called LIP program helps hospitals provide care to poor and uninsured patients. Tony Carvalho, president of the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, told the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday that he thinks the federal government used a flawed model in reaching the $608 million total.

"I think that (the $608 million) is the prime issue right now that is in debate, and I don't believe it is over with,'' said Carvalho, whose group represents public, teaching and children's hospitals.

The state Agency for Health Care Administration negotiated for months with the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services about changes in the LIP program. Carvalho said the federal agency could consider additional money, but the Agency for Health Care Administration would have to make a request.

With the annual legislative session starting in January, House Health Care Appropriations Chairman Matt Hudson, R-Naples, said lawmakers will have to use the $608 million total as they work on drawing up a budget.

"We have to go with what we know, and what we know is we have $608 (million),'' he said. That drew a response from Carvalho. "As long as there's time on the clock, we're going to keep fighting,'' he said.