AP NEWS

Hospitals prep for Medicaid funding cuts

April 25, 2018 GMT

Hospitals across Montana are preparing for a decrease in Medicaid funding through layoffs and program “realignments” as the fallout from last year’s state budget shortfall continues to land on Montana’s health care providers.

The cuts are coming to Montana’s Medicaid reimbursement rate, which provides hospitals with funding to serve patients on the federal health care program. It’s part of an attempt by the Montana Department of Health and Human Services to address the 227 million.

Medicaid - the program which combines federal and state funds to provide coverage to people who can’t afford health insurance or nursing home care - was expanded in Montana under the Affordable Care Act in 2016.

Kalispell Regional Healthcare is expected to lose 6.6 million loss will also land, in part, on North Valley Hospital in Whitefish, which has been under the Kalispell Regional umbrella since an affiliation in 2016. North Valley Community Relations Manager Allison Linville said she had no additional information on layoffs or potential staff changes at the hospital.

Statewide, hospitals in Montana have also been strained by the reimbursement cuts. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported last week that Bozeman Health expects a 6 million in 2018.

More changes could be forthcoming if Montana’s Medicaid expansion is not renewed in next year’s meeting of the state Legislature. The 2-year-old program, which expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, now enrolls over 94,000 Montanans - nearly one in 10 residents.

The program has cost the state 350 million to 270 million in personal income by 2020.

As of now, the expansion is set to expire next year.