You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Red Sox Live

0

1

▼  3rd Inning 0 outs

editorial

‘Safety-net’ hospitals: Extending a financial lifeline

Community and safety-net hospitals in Massachusetts need help. They provide vital care for many low-income residents, and their finances are disproportionately dependent on Medicaid reimbursements. But the per-patient payments they receive are far lower than those paid to larger academic hospitals.

State Senate budgeteers have proposed a smart way to help. They want to use a distressed-hospitals fund created in last year’s health care cost-control legislation to bump up the Medicaid rates for 28 hospitals that care for a disproportionate share of poor patients.

Continue reading below

The recently passed Senate budget would give those hospitals a 5 percent increase in outpatient Medicaid rates and boost a previously scheduled rate hike for inpatient care from 5 percent to 10. The Senate would also hike the rates those institutions receive for psychiatric care. The total cost would be about $40 million next year.

Under current law, the distressed-hospitals money can’t go to hospitals that educate students or are part of for-profit companies. That approach excludes some hard-strapped institutions that can make legitimate claims for relief — Boston Medical Center, which is a teaching hospital; the Brighton, Dorchester, and Quincy hospitals owned by for-profit Steward Health Care. One analysis suggests that up to 19 of the state’s disproportionate-share hospitals would be shut out.

The Senate’s proposal would look even smarter if, as seems possible, the federal government agrees to reimburse 50 percent of the new Medicaid spending. The Senate proposal isn’t a permanent solution for community and safety-net hospitals. But as a short-term measure, lawmakers should embrace it.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.