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State Budget Cuts to Impact Local Hospital
Sunday, 14 March 2010

March 15--  Nobody knows for sure how many dollars will be lost, but the search for dollars to shore up the state budget is about to impact hospitals across Georgia.

Governor Sonny Perdue met with members of the state medical community Friday in Atlanta and floated several ideas under consideration.  Alan Kent, CEO of Meadows Regionall Medical Center in Vidalia, was at the meeting and told us three alternatives are being considered.  Included are a bed tax, a reduction in Medicaid payments and requiring not-for-profiit hospitals like Meadows to start paying a sales tax.  Of the three, the bed tax has the least impact on rural hospitals such as Meadows.

"These are just projections, but the bed tax would have the least amount of impact on our particular hospital.  We would see a loss of between $300 thousand to $400 thousand dollars based on preliminary calculations," he said.

Kent says a reduction of Medicaid payments by 10.25 percent would cost Meadows between $1 million and $1.5 million dollars and would be "devastating" according to Kent.  Removal of the sales tax exemption would also impact Meadows by over a million dollars, he says.

The Georgia Hospital Association says the sales tax exemption removal could force some hospitals out of business.  Kent says members of the medical community only have about two weeks to work with legislators to find the best solutions for all concerned.

Meanwhile, he's hopeful that solutions can be found at the federal level concerning  the countrys' health care system.

"I keep holding out hope that we will have moderation and reasonableness and that the solutions will involve, just like out state situation, concessions from all parties and not a federal takeover of health care, but not ignoring the fact we need to do something to cover more Americans at reasonable prices," he notes.

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