Posted: 7:05 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The ‘bed tax’ on hospitals
The state charges hospitals 1.45 percent of net patient revenue to help pay for Medicaid. Trauma centers pay 1.40 percent. That money enables the state to draw federal matching dollars. Dollars are redistributed to hospitals based on Medicaid services they provide. Hospitals that care for a lot of Medicaid patients can get back more than they pay, while those that don’t may have a net loss on the tax.
A new agreement among hospitals to extend the tax would add a second layer, with hospitals putting in more money to help draw federal matching dollars the state has never tapped into. The change should also mitigate the losses some hospitals see.
The issues: Georgia lawmakers must vote on whether to renew a hospital provider fee that brings in hundreds of millions of federal dollars for the state’s struggling Medicaid program. The fee was established in 2010. Legislators will also face how to deal with a more than $700 million Medicaid budget shortfall amid the state budget debate.
The players: The Georgia Hospital Association is a driving force in the effort to renew the state’s hospital provider fee, or “bed tax.” Piedmont Hospital and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta were key players in the negotiations to tweak the program. A hospital association spokesman said it’s unclear yet which lawmaker will sponsor a bill in the Legislature.
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