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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Reimbursement Must Follow The Patient

Click to hear the taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

The 83rd Texas Legislature is dealing with many tough challenges to balance increasing demand for services with the reality of budgets.

Texas has a rapidly growing and aging population. One of the toughest challenges we face is the need to provide adequate health services for the most vulnerable among us — children, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and the indigent elderly. Those are the people that Medicaid is intended to help. We must make sure that the state’s Medicaid program is adequately funded and that the funds are going to where the patients are being treated.

Medicaid is the joint state–federal program that provides a safety net of care for those who have no other means to access health services. Changes in the state’s Medicaid program threaten the viability of the safety net.

Private hospitals in Texas — such as those in the Texas Health Resources system — currently provide the lion’s share of care to Medicaid patients. If Medicaid reimbursement to private hospitals is significantly reduced, the publicly-funded hospitals — Parkland in Dallas and JPS in Fort Worth — could be overwhelmed with Medicaid patients who have nowhere else to turn.

Texas Health is working diligently with legislators, regulators and other health systems to strengthen the healthcare safety net by ensuring that reimbursement follows the patient. That is the only way providers can continue to fulfill their critical role in caring for the most vulnerable Texans.

For our faith-based health system — Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Arlington Memorial — I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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