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Legislative Forum – Sheridan Memorial Hospital

Sheridan Memorial Hospital CEO Mike McCafferty urged Sheridan County Legislative delegates to support legislation that would require all hospitals – including private facilities – to accept Medicare and Medicaid and to reject legislation that would expand Medicare and Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act during his presentation at the Legislative Forum Wednesday.

“Having a hospital that doesn’t accept Medicare and Medicaid directly undercuts our ability to provide service,” McCafferty said.

McCafferty said that allowing private hospitals to not accept Medicare and Medicaid encourages patients with commercial insurance to seek services at private hospitals because they could offer more competitive pricing. This would hurt public hospitals – both those funded by mill levy taxes and those, like SMH, funded mainly through user fees for services – because it would take away their best paying patient base.

McCafferty noted that typical Wyoming hospitals are reimbursed 145.7 percent of the cost of providing care for patients with insurance, while Medicare and Medicaid reimburse 78.6 percent and 71.1 percent, respectively, for the cost of providing care.

Between the reduced reimbursement for Medicare and Medicaid and write-offs for bad debt and charity care – which total approximately $8 million per year for SMH – hospitals rely on funds from insured patients to stay afloat.

Sen. Bruce Burns, R-Sheridan, asked McCafferty to address Medicaid Expansion since there are two bills that have been proposed by the interim Labor, Health and Social Services Committee regarding expansion. It is possible that 17,000 uninsured Wyoming residents could benefit from expansion.

McCafferty said SMH is the only hospital in the state, out of 27 total, that doesn’t support Medicaid Expansion. He said expansion would increase utilization of services while decreasing personal responsibility, which would increase costs and drive up price inflation since hospitals would be treating more patients and receiving less reimbursement.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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