University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Chancellor Dan Rahn told the joint hospital committee of the UA Board of Trustees today that UAMS strongly supports the Medicaid expansion that the Affordable Care Act would allow. The new dollars the federal government would provide for coverage of currently uninsured Arkansans who meet the new Medicaid criteria would increase reimbursements to the hospital, by moving accounts off charity and into the "Medicaid bucket."
If Arkansas chooses not to participate in the expansion, UAMS could lose an estimated $21 million dollars in 2014 because of the end of partial payment reimbursements from the federal government for indigent care, Rahn said.
Rahn also said the hospital stands to lose $12 million in federal research and other dollars if Congress doesn't act before Jan. 1, 2013, to prevent budget sequestration.
Rahn also assured the committee that UAMS' exploration with St. Vincent Health on ways the hospitals can collaborate to save money would not change women's reproductive health services offered by UAMS — such as tubal ligations and abortion. He did not address insurance issues.
In an interview afterward, Rahn noted the state's efforts to reshape health care delivery (see earlier post on the New York Times article on the Arkansas plan), which includes bundling of services and payments, and the potential collaboration with St. Vincent was to create a "system across time and space" to make the delivery of health care more affordable without losing value.
The committee also learned that University Hospital, which was operating at a loss of $3.7 million half way through the 2012 fiscal year, ended in the $1.4 million in the black at the end of the year. Not included in that plus category were extraordinary expenses for opening West Little Rock clinics, medical home formation and Navigant Consulting expenses carried over from 2011.