St. Francis Hospital in Topeka is not far from the state capitol where the Republican governor has been a staunch opponent of Medicaid expansion. The owners say they will keep it open for a couple of months, but it’s not clear if another company will come in to take over the beleaguered facility. In other news, a look at how the Trump administration might change Medicaid rules and federal officials announce they will evaluate Montana’s program.
Kansas City Star:
Possible Shutdown Of Topeka Hospital Renews Medicaid Expansion Debate In Kansas
The possible closure of a hospital down the street from the Capitol has renewed calls to expand Medicaid in Kansas, even though lawmakers earlier failed to overcome Gov. Sam Brownback’s opposition and seem unlikely to be able to do so anytime soon. (Woodall, 4/18)
St. Francis Health Owner Says Hospital ‘Not Sustainable’
The owner of St. Francis Health left no doubt it won’t continue to run the Topeka hospital for more than a few months. The lingering question is whether anyone else will step in to keep it from closing. Mike Slubowski, president and CEO of SCL Health, said in a news release Tuesday that he hopes to have a clear answer about the hospital’s future by the first week of May. SCL, formerly known as the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, is based in Denver. (Wingerter, 4/18)
Topeka Capital Journal:
Topekans To Know St. Francis’ Fate By Early May; SCL Health To Cease Operating Hospital This Summer
In its release, SCL Health cited losses of $117 million over the previous five years, with physician clinics losing $31 million in 2016. The release also cited the lack of Medicaid expansion in Kansas, saying “Uncompensated and charity care more than doubled from 2012 to 2016.” (Chilson, 4/18)
Hundreds Rally Against Closure Of Topeka Hospital At Center Of Medicaid Expansion Debate
Several hundred people turned out Monday night to protest the possible closure of St. Francis Health in Topeka. The financial struggles of the 378-bed hospital have taken center stage in the debate over whether to expand KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback recently vetoed an expansion bill that would have generated an additional $10 million a year in federal funding for St. Francis, according to the Kansas Hospital Association. (McLean, 4/18)
Medicaid May Require Work, Payments From The Poor, Just Like Pence Sought For Indiana.
Katie Josway is a liberal musician and massage therapist in a conservative state that gave her health care coverage two years ago. She has to make monthly payments and can lose her plan if she misses one. She’s fine with that. There’s a “common misperception” that people who need government assistance are looking for a handout, she says. (O’Donnell, 4/18)
CMS To Evaluate Montana’s Medicaid Expansion
The CMS will evaluate Montana’s Medicaid expansion program despite past protests from key Trump administration officials against similar audits. In 2015, the state received CMS approval for a waiver to expand Medicaid coverage to individuals who earn up to 138% of the poverty line starting Jan 1, 2016. The initiative, known as the Montana Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership, or HELP, was expected to provide coverage to approximately 70,000 people. (Dickson, 4/18)
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