HB2668 offers to bring Arizona’s healthcare providers relief for unreimbursed costs

Proposed legislation passes through the House Health and Human Services Committee

PHOENIX — A bill offering to provide financial stability to hospitals and healthcare providers of all types passed the Arizona House and Human Services Committee today. House bill 2668 was introduced by state representative Regina Cobb (Dist. 5-R) in January. The bill proposes to increase Medicaid payments to hospitals, doctors and dentists which would be the first significant payment increase in 12-years. Money to cover this supplemental increase, as proposed, will not impact the state’s general fund and will not increase costs for patients.

“Whether you live in a small town or a big city, I want to ensure Arizonans have the ability to get the vital healthcare they need,” said Representative Cobb. “Thank you to Chairwoman Nancy Barto and committee members who supported this important legislation. Passing this bill is the first step to make sure hospitals and the healthcare system can keep pace with Arizona’s fast-growing population.”

Medicaid reimbursement rates were frozen in 2008 and reduced by 5% in both 2009 and 2010. The result — hospitals are paid approximately 70 cents for every $1 of cost for providing care to Medicaid patients. The Arizona Heath Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) is the state’s Medicaid agency who administers these payments.

“It is time to strengthen the viability of Arizona’s healthcare system by increasing AHCCCS payments to be closer to the cost of providing care to patients,” said AzHHA President and CEO Ann-Marie Alameddin. “This legislation will help to provide financial viability to hospitals and will strengthen the network of providers to help hospitals and providers meet the needs of patients in their communities.”

Funding for this proposed legislation would come from a hospital assessment to draw down additional federal funds.

“The Health Care Investment Act is an innovative solution to address the Medicaid shortfall for hospitals, doctors, dentists and other providers at no cost to the state, while infusing $1.5B into Arizona’s economy,” said Jennifer Carusetta, Executive Director of the Health System Alliance of Arizona. “The diverse coalition supporting this bill shows how important a strong health care delivery system is to the state’s future growth. We thank the members of the House Health and Human Services Committee for approving H.B. 2668 and Representative Regina Cobb for championing this effort.”

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