Several Medicaid bills introduced to help rural healthcare facilities

News 2 at Ten
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 11:03 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2023 at 11:25 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Rural hospitals and healthcare facilities have struggled to make ends meet since the 2020 pandemic, but legislation has been introduced to provide assistance to these facilities.

With Medicare and Medicaid being two popular insurance providers in rural Nebraska, many hospitals accept them as payment for services rendered.

While other bills introduced today aimed to generally increase Medicaid repayment rates, Senator Jacobson’s bill specifically focuses on Medicaid not reimbursing behavioral health providers enough based on their current costs.

The current rates have not been adjusted in 30 years.

“What that does is keeps expanding the difference between what it costs for us to care for those patients versus what we receive through Medicaid on a per diem rate,” Jeff Francis, Vice President of Methodist Health said. “That rate continues to grow without a rebase.”

The per diem Medicaid rate per person in a behavioral health facility is just over $3,000, but the cost to the average facility to care for one patient is around $6,700, a repayment rate of just under 45%.

With this current model, several rural hospitals with Medicaid providers could be in danger of closing if this trend continues.

“If we want to keep our residents and attract new residents, we’ve got to be able to provide high quality healthcare,” District 42 Senator Mike Jacobson said. “We’re able to do that today, but we have to continue to improve on what we’re doing, have the facilities, the equipment, and the doctors and nurses themselves who actually can make it all work.”

Friday will mark day 50 of the 2023 legislative session, leaving 40 days remaining in the 2023 session.