Tennessee’s healthcare providers and the communities they serve are bracing for drastic changes in reimbursement that will begin to take effect October 1 this year, and continue a downward trend through 2021, according to a THA news release this week.
Changes set to go into effect during the next 12 months include a $93 million cut imposed as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA); an $83 million reduction under a 2 percent sequestration invoked in fourth quarter 2011 to begin to address the nation’s budget deficit; reductions of up to 25 percent in Medicare reimbursement to 20 hospitals; and reduction of funding that has helped hospitals adopt new electronic health records technology.
“To put these reductions in perspective,” said THA President Craig A. Becker, “the total economic impact in the first year will be equivalent to losing a factory of more than 250 jobs in every one of Tennessee’s 95 counties.”
Becker went on to point out the impact on jobs and the economy doesn’t even take into account the loss of access to health care that could occur in some areas of the state.
“We’ve said all along that cost containment is essential to the long-term best interest of our country, but the speed and manner in which these drastic changes are imposed will make the difference between life and death for some hospitals,” Becker said.
The American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association recently released a report that estimated the potential impact of the sequestration at a national level could mean the loss of as many as three quarter of a million jobs. For details from that study, visit www.aha.org/jobs.
“Congress still has an opportunity to mitigate some of the damage that will be done,” Becker noted, “but the window is closing rapidly.”
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