Revised state budget benefits area hospitals PDF Print E-mail
Written by JEFF MEYERS, Staff Writer   
Saturday, April 07, 2007

PLATTSBURGH — Although the state's final budget has alleviated some of the concerns area hospitals had over Gov. Eliot Spitzer's proposal, the impact on Medicaid reimbursements varies from hospital to hospital.


CVPH Medical Center, originally slated to lose nearly $1 million in the governor's proposal for 2007, may see as much as a half-million-dollar increase in reimbursements.
"We're very uncertain about the numbers at this point, but we will probably end up between $200,000 and $500,000 (in increased Medicaid revenue)," said Michael Hildebran, director of marketing and public relations for the Plattsburgh-based hospital.
As facilities waited for word on the budget's impact on their financial figures, CVPH learned that a new formula used to determine reimbursement rates for qualifying hospitals would benefit the Medical Center.
"It tips us from having to come out behind (in Medicaid revenue)," Hildebran said of the formula that used Medicaid discharge rates at the hospital in 2004. "It was definitely a positive for us."
Hildebran said he wasn't sure when the figures would be exact, and it wasn't clear whether the new formula would be used in determining 2008 reimbursement figures.


Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake, which faced a $365,000 cut in Medicaid reimbursements in Spitzer's proposal, still failed to break even with the final budget figures and will see a $140,000 loss in revenue.
AMC also faces a $175,000 cut in funds for its two nursing homes: AMC-Mercy and AMC-Uihlein. The Medical Center was originally slated to lose $209,000 in funding for the two facilities.
"This was not the news we were hoping for, but I am confident we will move forward in a way that does not affect the high level of service we provide in the Tri-Lakes region," said Chandler Ralph, president and chief executive officer at AMC.
"More than anything, our greatest resource is the creative, innovative and dedicated staff that has made it a priority to put patients first since day one."


Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone will see an increase of $181,000 based on both the Medicaid Trend Factor and an elimination of the hospital gross-receipts tax.
"We are grateful to Gov. Spitzer and the legislature for arriving at a compromise that will help us continue meeting the health-care needs of our communities," said Alice Hyde President John Johnson.


Elizabethtown Community Hospital will have a direct loss of $28,000 in funding, compared to the initial $82,000 suggested by Spitzer. Officials at the hospital are now reviewing the budget to determine what steps to take to compensate for the decreased funding, said Kerry Haley, director of Community Relations.
"The New York State budget is certainly better than what the originally proposed budget called for," added hospital president Rodeny Boula.
In early March, thousands of health-care providers across the state converged on Albany to protest the proposed cuts. The region's hospitals all expressed appreciation to Sen. Betty Little and Assemblywomen Janet Duprey and Teresa Sayward for their roles in helping to alleviate the major cuts first proposed by Spitzer.
But officials remain determined to find ways to improve the health-care budget process.
"Despite the conclusion of the state budget process, AMC will continue to advocate true health-care reform on a state and federal level through a grass-roots campaign and direct contact with our elected officials," explained Joe Riccio, communications manager at AMC.



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