So the Legislature moved to not fully fund the Medicaid supplemental. In the state budget crisis, even the health of Alaskans isn't safe.
So hospitals are going to stop getting paid for a few weeks. Without burying the lead too much, the good news is WMC is going to be among a group of small hospitals that won't have payments stopped between now and the start of FY19 on July 1. This was news delivered by Margaret Brodie, Director of Alaska Dept. of Health and Social Services, to ASHNHA representatives last week in Anchorage.
While I'd like to tell you WMC is going to get paid because we're awesome or special, that's not it. The fact is, WMC is one of a handful of facilities across the state that does not possess the reserves to survive a six-week lapse in payments. WMC would be crippled if forced to scrape by without payments from our biggest revenue source. We would not be able to provide the level of care that our patients require.
In the end, each payment request from every hospital across the state will get paid. Most will just have to wait until July to see it. Thankfully, WMC will not have to wait until July. The sad fact is, the state is just going to be in the same situation next year. There was no increase of Medicaid in the FY19 budget. The Legislature went ahead and budgeted $30 million less than Gov. Walker requested for next year. On top of that, next year's budget is going to be short an additional $20 plus million to cover the back-pays they are just starting to accumulate.
It's scary to think that the state budget situation is having such an impact on healthcare. You know who doesn't have to sweat the state Medicaid budget? SEARHC. Their Medicaid payments come thru the Indian Health Service and are strictly federal, avoiding any sort of state funding. Yet another reason to root for SEARHC to assume hospital operations.