Hospital funding issues unresolved

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Key questions about Medicaid funding for hospitals remained unresolved Tuesday, adding them to the mix of issues that House and Senate leaders will have to negotiate later this week, reports the News Service of Florida.

A conference committee finished its work Tuesday morning on the health- and human-services budget but did not agree on how to carry out a new hospital funding system known as “diagnosis related groups,” or DRGs. The issue has huge stakes, with safety-net hospitals, such as public hospitals, fearing that the new system could lead to tens of millions of dollars getting shifted to other hospitals in the state. The budget negotiations involve a payment formula and also money that would be set aside to help hospitals transition into the new system.

Sen. Denise Grimsley, a Sebring Republican who is chairwoman of the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee, said negotiators moved close to agreement on the issues. But conference committees faced a Tuesday deadline for resolving issues or having them “bumped” to Senate Appropriations Chairman Joe Negron and House Appropriations Chairman Seth McKeel. 

“We need a little more time,” Grimsley said.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.