In support of increasing the sustainability of Hawai'i's long-term care system, Governor Neil Abercrombie today signed into law Senate Bill 2466. The measure establishes a nursing facility sustainability fee. Fees collected will go towards a Nursing Facility Sustainability Program special fund. These funds will result in matching federal dollars.
"This bill is the result of a collaborative effort by long-term care providers and the State,"stated Governor Abercrombie. "The signing of this measure will enable the Department of Human Services to continue to maintain and provide long-term care assistance to all who need it."
The Department of Human Services (DHS) will charge and collect a provider fee on health care items or services provided by nursing facilities.
"Hawai'i's long term care facilities provide compassionate, needed care for our most vulnerable residents,"stated DHS Director Patricia McManaman. "The enhanced revenue from this measure will offset the unreimbursed Medicaid and uninsured costs incurred by long-term care facilities."
The Nursing Facility Sustainability Program special fund is expected to generate $11.5 million. Twelve percent of the revenue shall be used by the DHS to restore funding for the 3 percent reduction in reimbursements to nursing facilities. In addition, this measure provides that Med-Quest will be able to draw down $9.5 million in federal matching funds and pay the nursing facilities $21 million to cover their uncompensated care losses.
There are 47 other states and the District of Columbia that have a provider fee as a means of drawing down federal funds to sustain their Medicaid programs.
"The provider fee will help preserve access to health care for the Medicaid population and sustain the State's health care system,"said Governor Abercrombie. "This bill adequately strikes a balance."
Governor Abercrombie continues to review and sign measures into law. Tomorrow the Governor will be enacting several energy-related bills. He has until July 10 to either veto or sign measures into law, or allow them to become law without his signature.