Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Funds for Rural Hospitals

Beginning next year, Medicaid-designated rural hospitals in South Carolina will be fully compensated through the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program for their uncompensated costs for care.

This investment will provide $20 million annually to these hospitals where Medicaid recipients and uninsured individuals with a disproportionate share of health problems receive their care. This was announced by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley during her January State of the State address.

Rural hospitals which generally deliver a large portion of care to the uninsured, and Medicaid and Medicare eligible patients, are typically reimbursed at lower rates than private insurance. Beginning October 1, 2013, hospitals designated as rural by Medicaid will be reimbursed 100 percent of their uncompensated care costs from the DSH fund.

The DSH program is a taxpayer-supported $461 million Medicaid fund used to compensate hospitals in South Carolina for the unreimbursed costs for providing inpatient and outpatient hospital services to the uninsured and Medicaid eligible individuals.

In North Dakota, the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences will distribute over $278,980 from the Small Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) to 36 rural hospitals in the state.

Administered by the Center for Rural Health, SHIP is funded through a grant from the federal Office of Rural Health Policy. The purpose of the program is to support rural hospitals in providing quality care to rural residents and to fund financial studies designed to help with complex healthcare billing, coding, and the reimbursement process. Funds are also used to upgrade equipment for financial operations, for IT, staff training, consultation, and educational materials.