Ozarks Medical Center President and CEO David Zechman has been selected to serve on a state committee that brings private citizens and members of the Missouri House of Representatives together to reform the state’s system of Medicaid.
House Speaker Tim Jones announced the creation of the Citizens and Legislators Working Group on Medicaid Eligibility and Reform. A second committee, House Interim Committee on Medicaid Transformation, consists of legislators only. In a news release, Jones said the groups will develop legislative proposals that have the potential to make positive transformative changes to the state’s Medicaid system.
“Because of OMC’s high percentage of Medicaid and charity care patients, the organization is greatly impacted by decisions regarding Medicaid reform and eligibility expansion,” Zechman said. “I am honored to serve on this committee and appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this extremely important work to come up with a solution that will have a positive impact on OMC, the community and the state.”
Because Medicare and Medicaid payers make up 65 percent of OMC’s patients, the health center is designated as a disproportionate share hospital (DSH) and receives reimbursements to offset the costs of providing charity care and service to Medicaid patients. However, OMC’s DSH reimbursement will be reduced by at least $629,000 as of Oct. 1.
The expansion of Medicaid in Missouri would have helped cover the decreased reimbursement lost in the DSH payment cuts by increasing the number of individuals eligible for Medicaid. Increasing Medicaid eligibility for some patients who have no means of payment would help decrease the amount of charity care and bad debt expenses for OMC, which totaled $31.3 million in 2012. However, Medicaid expansion funding from the federal government, included as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was not accepted by the Missouri legislature for 2013, but the federal DSH cuts are still scheduled to occur beginning Oct. 1.
These DSH cuts are in addition to the $3.3 million reduction OMC will receive as part of the Affordable Care Act.
“As the sole community provider hospital in this area and as the community’s largest employer, it is critical that OMC have the necessary funds to provide the high quality services this community needs,” Zechman said. “We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure we remain a strong company, both for the healthcare of our citizens and to support the region’s local economy.