Hopkins County Memorial Hospital District Board of Directors Monday evening gave approval to the hospital's budget for the upcoming financial year and also initially approved setting the tax rate at 25 cents per $100 property valuation, up from the current rate of 21.37 cents.
The budget, as approved, calls for a $2,486,985 deficit for fiscal year 2014-1015.
In explaining the almost $2.5 million deficit budget, hospital Administrator and Chief Executive Officer Michael McAndrew said the hospital is seeing downward pressure on reimbursements from insurance companies and payors who are moving toward a “blended” Medicare/Medicaid rate.
He said that while payments for services is in a decline, expenses continue to grow and cited the costs of drugs, labor, medical equipment, clinical supplies and healthcare for hospital employees.
“Medicaid has completely revamped the way it pays supplements to providers. This has resulted in decreased reimbursement,” McAndrew said. “Texas did not expand Medicaid, which would have improved both access and reimbursement significantly.”
The hospital CEO also said that more than 70 percent of the hospital's business can be attributed to Medicare and Medicaid patients and that reimbursements from both simply do not cover costs associated with the care given.
Still another factor McAndrew pointed to was the continuing increases in the costs of medical technology and equipment.
The Affordable Care Act, which has been referred to as Obamacare, has high-deductible plans which lead to increased bad debt for the hospital.
The hospital board approved public hearings on the proposed tax rate increase for Sept. 8 and Sept. 15, with the final vote of the board slated for Sept. 22.