Agreement made: Medicaid issues resolved with state and hospitals

Published on Wednesday, 27 March 2019 20:32
Written by JUSTIN MUSZYNSKI

@MUSZYNSKIBP

BRISTOL - The Connecticut Hospital Association has reached an agreement with Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration to pay back state hospitals for a lack of full Medicaid reimbursements they have been receiving - which left Bristol Hospital underpaid by about $2 million per quarter.

Republican legislators met with 15 Bristol Hospital employees Wednesday at the state’s Legislative Office Building for Connecticut Hospital Day, which is hosted by the Connecticut Hospital Association. During the meeting - which was meant for hospital leadership and employees to express concerns to their lawmakers - state Rep. Whit Betts announced the agreement that was reached between CHA and Lamont’s administration.

“It was causing significant financial distress,” Betts said of the state underpaying Connecticut hospitals for Medicaid reimbursements.

Kurt Barwis, president and CEO of Bristol Hospital, discussed the underpayments in February, saying it cost Bristol Hospital $2 million a quarter. In total, the state has agreed to pay $230 million to Connecticut’s hospitals for the underpayments. By June, the hospitals should be made whole again.

Those in attendance Wednesday also included state Sen. Henri Martin, state Rep. Cara Pavalock-D’Amato and state Rep. William Petit.

Martin was asked about the state hospital tax, which costs Connecticut hospitals a total of $900 million annually. Martin said that tax was originally proposed as a temporary tax that has yet to go away. He also said there had been discussions and an agreement about cutting that $900 million down to $384 million, but he hasn’t heard much on that recently.

“I wish that we knew more,” Martin said.

Last year, the hospital tax cost Bristol Hospital $2.6 million. The hospital also lost $4.5 million in Medicaid reimbursements, although this was not related to the recent issue of the state underpaying hospitals for the reimbursements, according to Christopher Boyle, hospital spokesman.

“What happens is we don’t get reimbursed 100 percent,” Boyle said.

“Stay tuned, I guess, is the best thing I can tell you,” Martin said of the hospital tax.

Betts added that hospitals have become a “financial, political pawn.”

“I suspect that will continue,” Betts said.

Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or jmuszynski@bristolpress.com.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, General News on Wednesday, 27 March 2019 20:32. Updated: Wednesday, 27 March 2019 20:34.