Wisconsin Safety Net Hospitals Welcome Joint Finance Committee Action to Stabilize Medicaid Funding

Mary Kay Grasmick, 608-274-1820, 608-575-7516

MADISON (May 21, 2015)
--- Tonight, the state Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance approved making the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program permanent. In his proposed budget bill, Governor Scott Walker included funding for the DSH program for the two years of the biennium. The action by the powerful budget committee makes DSH an ongoing program into the future.

“We are very pleased that the Joint Committee on Finance recognizes that more must be done to stabilize funding in the Medicaid program,” said WHA President/CEO Eric Borgerding. “This is a welcome, ongoing acknowledgment of the challenges that confront Wisconsin’s hospitals, where care is provided to all who walk through their doors, every minute of every day of every year.”

Under the JFC proposal, the DSH program in Wisconsin would be reauthorized to increase Medicaid payments to hospitals that treat a large number of uninsured patients. The JFC proposal would fund DSH at $30 million GPR over the biennium. The funds would be distributed widely across the state to nearly 100 hospitals.

Medicaid is an important payer of health care services, but the program has been and continues to be underfunded, which results in below-­cost reimbursement for medical providers and a growing Medicaid shortfall. In 2013, the shortfall between the cost of care for Medicaid patients in Wisconsin hospitals and the payment they received totaled nearly $1 billion dollars.