• Last modified 33 days ago (May 16, 2024)


Hospitals urge Medicaid expansion

Staff writer

Chief executives of both county hospitals talked Saturday with county Democrats about why Medicaid expansion would be best for rural hospitals.

Medicaid expansion is being considered, once again, by state legislators. Lawmakers have rejected the idea numerous times.

“I see the benefit of it,” Hillsboro Community Hospital chief executive Mark Rooker said. “When we have people that are insured, they get health care.”

St. Luke chief executive officer Alex Haines said Medicaid payment rates were lower than other insurance payments, and some medical providers are opposed to accepting Medicaid.

“There are a lot of people who think, ‘Well, it’s better than nothing,” Haines said. “We’ve been doing an awful lot of talking about it for a decade and haven’t gotten it done.”

More than 40% of Marion County residents cannot afford insurance, he said.

Rooker said 10% of emergency room patients didn’t have insurance.

Patients who know they need a procedure in advance are able to take advantage of a program where people can buy a voucher and save about half the cost of the procedure, he said.

Asked about a tax levied to help fund St. Luke, he said the $80,000 provided by the tax makes up 7% of the hospital’s revenue.

With the county’s declining population, hospitals must work together to make sure patients are able to get needed services, the executives said.

The pair shared information from Alliance for a Healthy Kansas

Last modified May 16, 2024