Erin Smith Staff writer
June 7, 2014
ELIZABETHTOWN — The N.C. Senate’s budget proposal has some folks up in arms, as it calls for more reductions in Medicaide funding.
Part of the Senate’s budget proposal carries some interesting changes, including creating an independent Medicaid center and changes to the Department of Health and Human Services, according to WRAL. The proposal also makes changes to Medicaid eligibility requirements and slashes coverage by more than $32 million — about half of the state’s funding (the majority of the funds for Medicaid come from federal funding), according to published reports.
The proposal also reduces reimbursements hospitals and medical providers can receive, according to WRAL.
“It’s very adverse to the hospital,” said Cape Fear Valley CEO Mike Nagowski.
In the 2013-14 budget, Medicaid funding was reduced by about 8 percent. Nagowski said the current proposal before the N.C. Senate would reduce Medicaid by another 5 percent and cut hospital inpatient reimbursements by about another 2 percent.
“We are very concerned about this proposal,” said Nagowski.
He called the continued cuts to the Medicaid budget problematic. Nagowski pointed out that, in the communities served by the Cape Fear Valley Health System — which includes Bladen County, there are many residents who are dependant on Medicaid to pay for health-care services.
“Any cuts to the Medicaid budget cause adverse reactions,” said Nagowski.
He said that employees of the CFV Health Care system have not had pay increases in two years; there have been reductions in paid time off; impacts to retirement plans, and significant impacts to benefit plans.
Nagowski also said that the system now has about 120 less employees in two years and less employees than this time last year.
On a brighter note, Nagowski said Bladen County Hospital has been fortunate. When CFV took over operations of BCH, there were only 314 employees and now it boasts a staff of 420 employees, said Nagowski. There has also been new equipment purchased for the facility including a new CT Scanner and new fluoroscopy equipment.
Nagowski said CFV was able to insulate BCH somewhat form the impacts of the cuts, but he stressed that all budget cuts do have some form of impact on BCH.
He added that Bladen County has a greater number of Medicaid recipients than other communities served by CFV.
He also addressed rumors regarding closing BCH stating that there is no proposed closure of BCH.
“We are very proud of our affiliation ….,” said Nagowski.
He also said there is no immediate to construct a new facility. Nagowski that at the current time, the staff of CFV and BCH are waiting to see how such things as health care reform, Medicaid cuts, and other proposed changes at the state level impact the CFV system.