State to decrease Medicaid payments, local private hospital responds

By Michael Addison -  email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -  Starting Tuesday, many private health care providers will get less money from the state for taking care of Medicaid patients.

The payment rate cuts are part of the Department of Health and Hospitals' budget reductions for the current fiscal year.

Among the cuts, private hospitals around the state will be paid 5% to 6% less for services, depending on the type. Doctors who care for patients older than 16 will get paid 10% less.

Health and hospitals Secretary Alan Levine says he also is considering requiring adults in the Medicaid program to pay a co-pay if they use emergency rooms for non-emergency care.

State health officials say it will take about a month to fully implement the rate changes, which are expected to save $86 million this year.

CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital Administrator Bernard Leger issued this statement Tuesday: "The state's cuts to private hospitals means that Medicaid payments to CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital, which is non-profit, will decrease by a million dollars.  We are concerned about the decision to cut state Medicaid dollars. Quality care to all of those we are privileged to serve remains our number one priority at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital. This is a complex issue, and we are committed to working with our state's legislators to ensure that access to care continues in our community."

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