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Scott Vetoes Tuition Hike, Bike Trail


Gov. Rick Scott has 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 vetoed a long list of items, starting with a 3 percent state university tuition increase and a coast-to-coast bike trail, the Miami Herald reported.

Other 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.

Carol Gentry, founder and special correspondent of Health News Florida, has four decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.After serving two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia, Gentry worked for a number of newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times), the Tampa Tribune and Orlando Sentinel. She was a Kaiser Foundation Media Fellow in 1994-95 and earned an Master's in Public Administration at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 1996. She directed a journalism fellowship program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for four years.Gentry created Health News Florida, an independent non-profit health journalism publication, in 2006, and served as editor until September, 2014, when she became a special correspondent. She and Health News Florida joined WUSF in 2012.
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