Mississippi governor announces $690M Medicaid reforms for state's hospitals

Hospitals and healthcare systems in Mississippi could benefit by approximately $690 million from a couple of planned proposals announced Sept. 21 by Gov. Tate Reeves.

The news follows growing concern over the state of Mississippi healthcare and rumblings that a new legislature will have an open debate on possible Medicaid expansion early 2024, a policy that Mr. Reeves has consistently dismissed.

Hospitals that could benefit from the reforms include troubled Greenwood (Miss.) Leflore Hospital to the tune of $10 million and Ocean City-based Singing River System by about $34 million. Jackson-based University of Mississippi Medical Center would be the largest single recipient at about $66 million.

"This is still just the beginning, our eyes are on the future," Mr. Reeves told a media conference announcing the proposals. "We are up here today because this is what's best for the people of Mississippi."

The proposals, which have to be accepted by CMS and would be backdated to July 1, include the Mississippi Hospital Access Program, which will provide direct payments to hospitals serving patients in the Mississippi Medicaid managed care delivery system. Hospitals would be reimbursed at near the average commercial rate.

The second proposal will supplement Medicaid base payment rates for hospitals by reimbursing inpatient and outpatient hospital services in the fee-for-service system up to the Medicare upper payment limit.

Mr. Reeves, who is facing a competitive race to retain his position in November, dismissed assertions that such a move was simply politically expedient.

"I am going to get criticized no matter what I do," he said. "This is governing, bringing people together to find solutions."

He also said such proposals are a better solution for the people of Mississippi than simply opting for Medicaid expansion.

"We are leaving welfare and Medicaid expansion off the table, for now," he said. "I don't believe Obamacare would have nearly the financial impact" compared with these proposals.

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