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3/20/2011 6:01:00 AM
Medicaid cuts will impact Kingman Regional Medical Center
Brewer's plan would bite into hospital income, CEO Turney says
Brian Turney
Brian Turney

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter


Correction: The correct spelling of the acronym for the Arizona Hospitals and Healthcare Association is AzHHA.

KINGMAN - Gov. Jan Brewer's plan to fix the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System could have an impact on local health care, according to Kingman Regional Medical Center CEO Brian Turney.

Brewer's office says the plan, unveiled March 15, would save the state roughly $500 million in the first partial year. The cuts in coverage would be timed so they would go into effect either six months before or shortly after Sept. 30, the day federal approval of the current AHCCCS plan expires. More than 1.3 million Arizonans are enrolled in Medicaid through AHCCCS and is the biggest single factor in the state's budget shortfall, Brewer said in a news release.

What has Turney and the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association most concerned is a proposed 5 percent cut in reimbursements to health care providers in October, which is estimated to save the state $95 million.

Turney said the state has already approved a 5 percent cut in reimbursements to health care providers starting April 1.

Such a cut would reduce the hospital's revenues by at least $3 million a year, he said. Turney wasn't sure how many AHCCCS patients the hospital treats but estimated that approximately 70 percent of the payments the hospital receives are from AHCCCS or Medicaid.

He said the changes in the program would also have the hospital taking care of more people who didn't have insurance. To recoup the cost of treating those patients, the hospital could raise its rates or reduce its costs by dumping some services and not filling empty positions.

"People don't realize this, but this is a hidden health care tax. A small part of the population will end up paying for these costs," Turney said. A much better plan would be the one proposed by the AzHHA, he said.

The AzHHA proposes generating new revenue through a special health care tax on hospitals, nursing homes and AHCCCS managed care plans, which would maximize federal matching funds and keep the current AHCCCS coverage. According to the Associated Press, AzHHA's plan would allow the eligibility cut to be reduced by about two-thirds.

According to the hospital association, the assessment would trigger federal matching funds on a 2-1 basis and reimburse the industry without increasing costs to patients or commercial health insurers.

According to AzHHA's website, the organization presented its plan to Brewer on March 11. Her spokesman said her office is reviewing the proposal.

Brewer's plan would eliminate coverage for adults applying to the program who don't have children. Adults without children who are enrolled in the program by June 30 will be grandfathered into the program. Adults without children who lose AHCCCS coverage would not be able to reapply. According to the governor's office, this should save the state $190 million and the number of childless adults enrolled in the program would shrink over the next year by about 100,000 people.

Adults with children and earning more than 75 percent of the federal poverty level would no longer be able to apply for benefits starting Oct. 1. Families earning more than 75 percent of the poverty level and enrolled in the program by Sept. 30 would be grandfathered into the program. According to the governor's office, this cut would require a waiver from the federal government and would save the state an estimated $17 million. The state applied for a waiver to the new federal health care bill in January and was told that it would be able to change some parts of AHCCCS when the current plan's approval runs out in September.

Brewer's plan would also require childless adults and families to reapply for AHCCCS benefits every six months instead of every year. This would have to be approved through a waiver from the federal government. If approved it would save the state an estimated $15 million and would go into effect Oct. 1.

It would also change the co-pay amount that parents and children have to pay for routine care and a non-emergency use of an emergency room. It is unknown how much the co-pays would change, but there would be exceptions for some drugs and treatments. AHCCCS is working on a list of exceptions. The change would go into effect Oct. 1 after the federal government approves the new AHCCCS plan.

Brewer's office is also considering financial penalties for unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and obesity, requiring a co-pay of pregnant women who don't follow up with their prenatal wellness checkups, and possibly linking children's co-pays to wellness activities.

The state would also charge a "no-show" fee for AHCCCS patients who didn't show up for appointments. The fees would be modeled on similar fees charged by private insurers.

The plan also amends the current AHCCCS program to institute limits on the number of office visits for childless adults and parents and a 25-day limit for hospitalizations.

Hualapai Mountain Medical Center was contacted for a comment but did not respond before press time.





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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Article comment by: debra barr

Nice to know they have that kind of money to throw around but can't afford to accept an AHCCCS patient to receive the physical therapy he needs at their facility. Good score. Hope you got a nice bonus out of tbe deal.

Posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Article comment by: Jimmy D

How many small cities have the medical services like we have in Kingman? KRMC has made huge advances in services for Mohave Co. KRMC is a Not for Profit Medical Center. As I read your comments I feel some of you are miss informed of what Not for Profit means to us. The cost of Healthcare services for a Non Profit hospital goes back into the improvements and upgrades in healthcare. As for the cost of services and KRMC holding the monopoly…. Well first of all you do have a choice. You complain of the cost of a CT or other services at KRMC. Call the other hospital in town and compare there cost to KRMC. I have, you will pay a lot more out of your pockets. KRMC will continue to provide the best in medical technology and services by investing in your community. As KRMC adds new buildings and services to this community it will bring you new Doctors and new services needed. I guess you could use the For Profit hospital in town and invest by putting the monies in there investor’s pockets. Thank you Mr, Turney and KHI for your services and improvement in healthcare.

Posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Article comment by: Abuse Abuse

Brian Turney did not write this article, he was asked how the new Ahcccs laws would effect the hospitals revenue, he gave an honest answer I didn't see how he was complaining of it like some of you posted. Ahcccs is a broken system, and the new laws are being set to give people who have been on Ahcccs for a long time a bit of responsibility to manage their own healthcare. For so long they have been handed free healthcare and abusing the heathcare system, it's about time the state steps up and does something. I work in an ER and the most ridiculous complaints come in and it's all from Ahcccs patients. I think the ER copays are a very good way to put responsibility back to patients, but at the same time I've seen patient retaliate over paying the $1 copay for a regular office visit, which has now gone up, and so have the complaints for that. Any money recouped from patients on Ahcccs would be helpful to recoup the cuts of reimbursement, but I highly doubt there will be a big percentage of them willing to give up their drug and cigarrette money for their healthcare

Posted: Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Article comment by: Diogenes' Lantern

If there is any validity to any of the complaints listed herein, I'd like to point out that because KRMC had no neurological facilities two years ago (and still doesn't as far as I know) I was flown by emergency helicopter to Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas. A 25 minute trip landing pad to landing pad. A few months later I got the CMS statement of services and the helicopter company (a private corporation) charged a little more than $22,000 for that one way ride. Just a bit over the top, don't you think?

Posted: Monday, March 21, 2011
Article comment by: change needed

Just last night we were @ KRMC and while waiting for the doctor we had the "privilige: of listing to 2 different people talking about their free health care/welfare. Mind you that during this time they were also discussing their daily drug use and laughing about it. The fact that they don't work and sit on their rears all day and do drugs daily, Such abuse of the system MUST STOP!!! DRUG TEST FOR OUR TAX DOLLARS!

Posted: Monday, March 21, 2011
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

@Boo Hoo

".....then doctor's could stop practicing defensive medicine,...."

Bingo. Cost would go down, at least somewhat, if doctors did not have to order every test imaginable for the purpose of getting reimbursement or in order to provide cover from future lawsuits.


Posted: Monday, March 21, 2011
Article comment by: ems provider

I have been working in the local pre hospital field for 20 years now, I have seen KRMC make huge strides in technology and patient care. If you want to bang on this hospital, you are simply clueless. As for AHCCCS, I have seen so many people abuse the system, amulance rides that are not needed, private air ambulance rides that are not needed. Listen you and I are paying for all of that. I believe there are people who need and deserve assistance, but it is time to clean it up and stop the abuse.

Posted: Monday, March 21, 2011
Article comment by: randell pope

I would recommend this health insurance plan i found through "Wise Medical Insurance" to anyone with a growing family who is looking to minimize their medical expenses.


Posted: Monday, March 21, 2011
Article comment by: realist... the real one

I don't feel bad for KRMC at all. I just finished making $2200 worth of out-of-pocket payments after insurance paid what was billed as a $5500 CT. The procedure took 20 minutes. That is a $16,500 per hour rate of pay. Makes the proposed .15% sales tax seem like not such a big deal!

Since KHI is "community owned", I'd suggest they write a big fat donation check to the City to fix the budget problem and call it good.

However, if you want kick start the brain and think real big on this and the city's issues, blame the State. They are the ones who got fat & happy the last 6-7 years, and are now throwing everyone else but themselves under the bus.


Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2011
Article comment by: nnp nnp

Read the following on how illegal AND legal aliens are affecting/infecting our health care system:

" Medical service for Americans in affected communities is being severely damaged as hospitals absorb more than $200 million in unreimbursed costs.

Some emergency rooms have shut down because they cannot afford to stay open.


Local tax-paying Americans are either denied medical care or have to wait in long lines for service as the illegals flood the facilities.


In California, the losses are calculated to be about $79 million, with $74 million in Texas, $31 million in Arizona, and $6 million in New Mexico."

To read the article go to: www.cairco.org/econ/econ.html



Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2011
Article comment by: Boo Hoo

If politicians had the political will to pass tort reform, then doctor's could stop practicing defensive medicine, i.e every headache needs a CT scan.

Medicaid benefits are so abused by patients it's sickening, and doctors give in to their unreasonable demands because they don't want to get sued. This social experiment failed miserably and taxpayers are sick of funding it. The AHCCCS program needs to be cut by 90% for adults, keep Kids Care at 100%.

By the way, cry me a river Turney, you and your cash cow hospital have nothing to complain about. Next issue.


Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2011
Article comment by: Feel No Pain

@ the first time The fact that an AHCCCS recipient has a car means nothing especially if they are disabled and won't/can't drive due to medications or extent of their medical problems. The transportation often is the difference between an office visit or AHCCCS paying for an ambulance. Yes, even the poor need to get to their routine appointments. There is more to it than people getting a free ride to the doctors office.

Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2011
Article comment by: Nn P

It all makes sense now. KRMC now seems to have a new money making scheme. If you got there between the hours of 10 pm and 8 am they charge extra for that, only the insurances will not pay due to the fact "it's a scam". AZHHA has been contacted, we will see just how much they can lie about this, just like their customer service ratings. By the way Mr.. Turney, it's easy to claim to be the best when your the only game in town.

Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2011
Article comment by: Kingman Resident

It's hard to feel for KRMC. They have a monopoly on medical throughout Kingman. I was surprised to learn they now operate the Faxtrax Urgent Care. They are building a new building on Hualapai Mountain Road. They aren't hurting. So they will get less money. Bah! There's more to worry about in this town.

Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2011
Article comment by: the first time and not the last time

how about cuting the free taxi ride when they have autos parked at thier home .also look at the homes they live in !



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