Gov. Rick Scott’s idea that Florida hospitals share profits to brace for the loss of Low Income Pool dollars is not being warmly received by the the Legislature, which is in charge of allocating Medicaid dollars.
House Speaker Steve Crisafulli said in a statement on Monday that there are “other solutions available that do not include a hospital profit share plan,” when asked about Scott’s proposal.
Senate President Andy Gardiner has no comment on the proposal at this time, spokesperson Katie Betta said in an email.
Scott sent a letter to hospitals May 8 predicting that Florida will need to craft a budget without the $2.2 billion program called Low Income Pool. He asked executives how to best divide $3.7 billion in profits collected statewide to help those hospitals that may be on shaky financial ground, such as Shand’s Jacksonville. He asked that the executives provide the information to a newly created board that will examine hospital and insurance company finances.
Scott is predicting the state will lose the money because the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is not going to advise Florida in time to build a budget whether the Low Income Pool will be renewed and at how much.
The Low Income Pool is mostly county and federal dollars and is sent to hospitals and federally qualified health centers for treating the poor. The supplemental money is to offset the low Medicaid rates hospitals are paid by the state.
Lawmakers did not pass a budget before adjourning the 2015 regular legislative session. The current budget expires June 30. Scott has said he is developing a base, or continuation, budget. He told Fox News Monday night that he thinks the Legislature should pass a base budget that would keep government funded until it returns in regular session in January 2016.
Scott sent the letter to hospital chief executive officers as well as the Florida Hospital Association, which advocates for Florida hospitals and lobbies the Florida Legislature as well as in Washington, D.C. Monica Corbett, director of communications for the FHA, said in a statement that the group “will be issuing a response to Governor Scott this week.”