The Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding met in the bowels of the Capitol in Tallahassee on Thursday morning with a spate of audience members looking on while those with an interest in the healthcare debate watched the House of Representatives take up a bill to bring more Medicaid dollars into the state to fund healthcare access.
Meeting in the Cabinet room in the basement of the Capitol, the commission heard presentations from the Agency for Health Care Administration staff on hospital profits as well as a new Low Income Pool proposal that Deputy Secretary for Medicaid Justin Senior sent to the federal government just days before the Legislature was set to meet in a special session on the budget and health care.
Stacey Lampkin, an actuary with the agency, told the commission that the agency has not received approval on the new, alternative formula that Senior had floated for the $1 billion funding in 2015-16, but was hoping to have approval from the federal government soon. She said that discussions on 2016-17 funding with the federal government have focused on the $600,000 LIP limit and not how the state will direct the money though she did acknowledge that the agency was looking at a similar funding formula for the $600,000 LIP pool.
The commission will meet in Tampa on June 17 where commission members and agency secretary Liz Dudek said the panel hopes to hear from between two and four area hospital executives discuss how their hospitals run. The idea is for the group to hear from hospitals that appear to be efficiently run and others that aren’t as efficiently run.
Tampa is the first stop on the so-called “Transparency Tour.” Other cities include Jacksonville and Miami. Scott announced the tour as his commission–created to examine taxpayer dollars in health care– grappled to get information from hospitals that the governor requested they submit to the commission, including salaries and compensation packages for chief executive officers. Many hospitals still have not provided the information and Dudek said at the meeting that the governor’s staff was pulling the information from federal tax filings.
At press time it had not been decided which hospitals would be asked to appear at the meeting or even where the meeting would be held.
Though Scott created the group to examine taxpayer-funded health care and included more than just hospitals in his executive order creating the commission, the group’s focus has been on hospitals only and on Medicaid only.
Dudek said it had been the intent to have discussions outside the hospital industry but she isn’t sure that the group has finished its discussions and she doesn’t want to “shortchange the members from getting the information they need.”
She said she also wants to make sure that the Office of Insurance Regulation would be available to address the members.
“It was going to be on the next calendar,” Dudek said, adding that continued discussions have pushed it back. “It will be on a future calendar for sure.”
Commission Vice Chairman Tom Kuntz, who chaired Thursday’s meeting, agreed with Dudek and said that the commission will broaden its scope to look at insurance companies and health plans when it’s ready “to get to the next step.
“We will get to others, but we want to make sure we want to understand that we are ready to get to the next step. It’s just a process,” he said. “I think the biggest mistake we could make is if we just tried to move from one thing to another without accomplishing what we want to accomplish.”