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Health News Florida

Safety Net Hospital Alliance Keeping Close Eye On Session For Medicaid Cuts

A man wearing a suit jacket on a Zoom call.
Screenshot - Zoom video conference
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Justin Senior, CEO of the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida.

The federal government temporarily boosted Medicaid reimbursement rates during the pandemic, and the Biden administration extended that until the end of the year. Some hospitals worry the extra money could affect the state's allocations to the program for the next year.

The Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida reports that revenue collections have returned to pre-COVID projections, and the state has more cash on hand than ever.

But the group is still concerned about cuts to Medicaid.

The federal government temporarily boosted Medicaid reimbursement rates during the pandemic, and the Biden administration extended that until the end of the year.

Justin Senior, CEO of the Safety Net Hospital Alliance, said that's likely where the surplus cash came from.

But despite that extra money, he says the alliance worries Florida lawmakers may cut rates during the ongoing legislative session.

"If they decide not to use any surpluses to cover a deficit next year, and they decided to deal with a deficit by cutting Medicaid rates, our hospitals would feel that pretty sharp," Senior said during a Zoom call Monday.

He added that they're keeping a close eye on the state budget this legislative session.

"We're always really concerned. And it's always a big process to make sure that the members understand the importance of safety net hospitals and achieving outstanding outcomes from the people in the state of Florida."

While the alliance represents about 10% of all hospitals in the state, they see more than half of Florida's Medicaid patients.

Earlier in the pandemic, they also saw a disproportionate amount of the state's sickest COVID-19 patients.

They're also watching some smaller bills that deal with personal injury protection for auto insurance, and a program that could add hundreds of new medical residency slots.

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