During June 2018, the state legislature passed the 2018–2019 fiscal year budget. The budget maintains 2017–2018 funding levels for hospital payments, including the Medical Assistance (MA) Supplemental payments for critical access hospitals, obstetrics/neonatal payments, hospital burn centers, and trauma centers. The budget also increases the MA Supplemental payments for critical access hospitals by $3.4 million to address increased Medicaid losses in these facilities.
The Governor’s budget also includes assumptions related to the reauthorization of the statewide hospital Quality Care Assessment (QCA). Through a unified advocacy effort, the hospital community and HAP were able to limit the increase in the amount of the QCA allocated to the general fund to $75 million in each of the next three years and an additional $80 million in the fourth and fifth years of the plan.
The original plan included an annual increase to the state contribution of $130 million, which was an unsustainable amount. While the $75 million increase is a higher amount than hospitals were hoping for, it was necessary to secure changes that protect QCA funds for hospitals going forward so they can continue to provide high quality patient care.
HAP will continue working to find long-term solutions to achieve an adequately funded Medicaid program.