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Miami Children's Hospital Faces Severe Cuts in Senate Budget Plan
(4/19/2007)

One of the greatest issues facing the legislature this session is the potential for Medicaid cuts, more specifically the proposed cuts for the Low Income Pool (LIP) Program which Miami Children’s Hospital (MCH) receives. Miami Children’s stands to lose more than $5.4 million with the proposed State Senate budget plan. Miami Children’s and other Florida medical facilities that treat the state’s neediest citizens and the uninsured are facing $209 million in cuts this year. Furthermore, the Senate plan will forfeit $85 million in critical federal matching funding earmarked for the state’s health care safety net.

 

“These cuts could seriously hurt some of our state’s most vulnerable citizens – our children,” said Thomas M. Rozek, Miami Children’s Hospital President and CEO. “Some members in the legislature see this budget cut as merely a budgetary measure in a tight fiscal year.  This is not the case. Cutting these state Medicaid funds also forfeits millions of dollars in federal matching money. These fiscal resources that Florida’s children need will instead go to other states.”

 

As a private, not-for-profit, charitable institution, Miami Children's Hospital cares for over 185,000 children each year, of whom 2/3 (Over 60%) are Medicaid beneficiaries.  Initial analysis, based on the Senate proposal, shows that the MCH LIP Payment is projected to be reduced by $5,496,938 million which could hurt the hospital’s ability to care for the children of Florida.  What this means for MCH is the potential for dramatic reduction in services.

 

“If significant cuts are not stopped, patients seeking emergency and urgent care could see dramatic increases in wait times. The ability to provide a medical residency program could be compromised because of a lack of adequate reimbursement. Waits for children to see a specialist would be tremendous,” said Rozek.

 

Meanwhile another option exists. House Speaker Marco Rubio and the Florida House’s budget provides a sufficient state match to preserve this crucial Medicaid funding, the Senate’s proposed budget jeopardizes critical health programs that assist Florida poor and insured.  The House Budget recommendation reflects a positive outcome for MCH and minimizes the transfer of uncompensated costs to the local community.

 

Founded in 1950, Miami Children's Hospital is the only licensed specialty hospital for children in South Florida. Ranked by Child magazine among the best children’s hospitals in the nation, Miami Children's Hospital offers medical care and services for children from birth to age 21. It has also been designated an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet facility, the nursing profession’s most prestigious institutional honor. The 275-bed medical facility has expertise in all aspects of pediatric medicine.