GLOVERSVILLE — Once more, hospitals in the Capital Region are waiting for a reprieve as one of their revenue streams nears a cutback.
If not reversed, the cut would cost hospitals in this area more than $58 million over the course of a decade, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Thursday during a visit to Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville.
Littauer alone would lose about $4.66 million over the next 10 years if the reductions to the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital program go into effect, Schumer said.
That program is a stopgap funding measure for hospitals that serve a large number of low-income or Medicaid patients, and was created to aid hospitals that see a higher percentage of bills paid only partially or not at all.
As part of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital program was scheduled to be cut each year on the theory that a gradually smaller number of people would be uninsured as the Affordable Care Act took hold. The hospital industry argues things haven’t worked out that way — hospitals are still providing a lot of uncompensated care and still need the program money.
The $4 billion hospital program cut scheduled to be imposed in 2019 has been pushed back repeatedly and is now scheduled to take effect Dec. 11, unless Schumer and like-minded colleagues can push it back again or kill it altogether.
Previous delays have been enacted by a wide margin in both houses.
Schumer said after nine months of fighting COVID, and with the pandemic showing an upsurge across much of the country, now is not the time to cut this particular Medicaid reimbursement program.
Hospitals have received millions of dollars of emergency federal assistance from the federal government this year but also have seen expenses increase by millions due to COVID and revenue decrease by millions due to non-essential medical procedures being curtailed or halted.
Schumer said The Healthcare Association of New York State estimates the 10-year impact of cuts on Capital Region hospitals as follows:
- Albany Medical Center Hospital $9,026,100
- Columbia Memorial Hospital $3,344,900
- Glens Falls Hospital $5,264,500
- Ellis Medicine $8,527,100
- Nathan Littauer Hospital $4,658,800
- St. Mary’s Healthcare $2,687,900
- St. Peter’s Hospital $8,224,200
- Samaritan Hospital $11,602,800
- Saratoga Hospital $4,828,500
“Hospitals like Nathan Littauer Hospital operate on razor-thin margins, even when there isn’t a public health crisis going on, with every single dollar making a huge difference,” said Schumer, who appeared with Littauer CEO Sean Fadale at the hospital Thursday.
He noted that the hospital is seeing an increased patient load as a number of area physicians have retired.
Nathan Littauer Hospital & Nursing Home operates a 74-bed hospital and 10 other facilities, most of them in Fulton County, one each in Hamilton and Montgomery counties. Its workforce numbers about 1,000 and it is the second-largest employer in Fulton County. Approximately 80,000 people live in Littauer’s self-defined service area.