Florida hospitals are facing some serious problems.
Delivering high-quality care to Florida’s communities requires hospitals to assemble a qualified and skilled workforce. Preliminary data from the Florida Hospital Association’s (FHA) Florida Nurse Workforce Study showed that Florida is expected to face a shortage of more than 58,000 Registered Nurses (RN) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) by 2035.
Additionally, according to Florida healthcare experts, Florida is not receiving an appropriate share of federal funding for hospitals treating those who cannot pay for healthcare from the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSL) funding.
Florida — the third most populated state in the country — receives the same amount of Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSL) funding as Connecticut, the 29th most populated state.
Medicaid DSH provides funding to hospitals to cover the costs of treatment for those who cannot pay for healthcare. According to FHA, the DSH allotment formula does not reflect states’ current populations, demographics, Medicaid enrollment, or Medicaid spending. As a result, Florida’s hospitals are spending millions each year, which could be reinvested in new models of care for patients.
FHA President and CEO Mary Mayhew said, “Florida’s hospitals are facing an unprecedented workforce shortage due to the pandemic and our hospitals are losing millions in Medicaid funding through the current DSH payment program formula. As our hospitals recover from the pandemic, it is imperative that we solve these issues now so that our hospitals can meet the pressing health care needs of their communities.”
She visited Washington, DC this week to meet with members of Congress to discuss these critical issues.
“Senators (Marco) Rubio and (Rick) Scott are tackling issues faced by Florida’s hospitals head on by engaging stakeholders to combat workforce shortages and introducing legislation that will modernize the outdated DSH payment program,” Mayhew said.
She said FHA supports the SAFE Hospitals Act of 2021 which was introduced by US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and looks forward to continuing to advocate for this necessary legislation. The bill would overhaul the Medicaid DSH program to create equity for all states. It would also update a metric — which has not been reformed since the early 1990s — that determines how much each state is allotted. It would also resolve a longstanding disparity in Medicaid DSH allocations across the nation, and prioritize funding for hospitals that provide the most care to Medicaid and low-income patients.
Over the course of 10-15 years, Florida hospitals could gain up to $600 million in annual DSH funding as a result of Rubio’s bill.