Cone Health Joins Healthy Hospitals Campaign
Cone Health has joined the North Carolina Hospital Association’s “Healthy Communities, Healthy Hospitals” campaign to remind North Carolinians, particularly legislators, of the vital roles hospitals play in our communities — as providers of care and as employers.
This campaign focuses on the challenges hospitals are now facing, specifically the deep cuts in Medicare funding that came with the Affordable Care Act and the impact of the state’s not expanding Medicaid or providing coverage for the poorest in our state.
North Carolina hospitals are slated to take $7.8 billion in payment reduction from Medicare in the coming decade. For many hospitals, Medicare is about half their business. The Medicare cuts represent about a 10 percent cut in funding – a funding cut on business that already pays less than the costs hospital incur to provide the care.
Medicaid, the joint state-federal insurance program for children, the elderly poor, blind and disabled, also pays hospitals below the cost of care. The state’s decision not to expand this program denies patients access to care in settings other than the hospital Emergency Department and keeps hospitals from getting some of the revenues they were intended to gain under the Affordable Care Act.
Hospitals are greatly challenged to withstand the massive cuts and continue to provide the levels of access and services they currently provide. One-third of state hospitals already have negative operating margins and another third have very narrow but positive margins. Only one-third of state hospitals have operating margins of 5 percent or more, the level necessary to gain access to capital at good interest rates.
Those of us whose life work is treating the ill and injured – or supporting those who do – should be very proud.
This campaign is meant to praise the caregivers and everyone who serves patients through their jobs in hospitals.
Please go to healthyhospitalsnc.org to join the discussion.