Wednesday, April 2, 2014
South Carolina is not expanding Medicaid coverage and the decision could potentially cost state hospitals billions of dollars, according to news reports.
In early March a number of Pro-Medicaid citizens were arrested for blocking the roadway leading to the State House in protest to the state’s decision.
At Trident Health Center, Chief Financial Officer Todd Gallati and Chief Executive Officer Mike Gingras are more concerned about the fate of their hospital’s patients.
“I think all the hospitals in South Carolina would agree a Medicaid expansion would be a positive for our state,” Gallati said.
Nearly 20 percent of the Lowcountry’s patients are without insurance, Grinagas and Gallati said, and expanding it would have lowered that percentage. In 2013 more than 14,000 patients came into Trident Health Center and 30 percent were uninsured.
“That expansion would allow patients to get preventative and primary care,” Gringas said.
However, as of right now, Gringas and Gallati are not concerned with the hospital losing money.
“I think our concern is, there is not enough momentum to expand this Medicaid program,” Gallati said. “I think it’s a financial concern by the state.”
Trident Health Center plans to continuously monitor its finances and help assist patients in obtaining medical insurance. Gingras said he is not sure how not expanding Medicaid is going to pan out.
“We’d have to look at the details and monitor it in an efficient manner,” he said. “It’s hard to speculate.”
Gallati said Trident has a number of programs to help patients obtain preventative services and get insured.
“Medicaid makes up 14 to 20 percent of our patient population for funding now,” he said. “We face the challenges all hospitals face and continue to monitor our financial situation.
“It definitely was a much bigger discussion last year in the legislature,” he added. “I don’t know why it hasn’t been a bigger discussion this year.”