Medicare and Medicaid

Virginia is one of 19 states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.  So community clinics here are expanding their mission and changing their image as they strive to fill the gap. 

There’s a misperception that what used to be called Free Health Clinics still serve only adults who can’t afford to pay… that people fortunate enough to have health insurance, should never patronize.  But in fact, the opposite is true.

“Now we see everyone. We see children, adults, the uninsured, homeless and the insured individual.”

Five years ago, the federal government announced it would begin fining hospitals if Medicare patients were discharged but had to come back.  Experts argued there was little incentive to follow-up on patients, since medical centers would make more money if people were re-admitted. 

Some hospital administrators dreaded the change, but at the University of Virginia, they’re excited to report dramatic reductions in re-admissions.

As a result of not expanding Medicaid in Virginia, a new state Work Group is examining how to offset rising healthcare costs and the money it passed up from the federal government.  

This includes conducting an analysis of so-called “provider assessments”—which could tax hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities for specific services.

The provider assessments would enable Virginia to receive matching federal Medicaid dollars. Analyst Deborah Bachrach from Manatt says all of the potential models must follow the same guidelines.

Virginia's Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources lends an ear to a grassroots organization protesting the possible closure of 283 rural hospitals across the country, including the Commonwealth.

Dr. Jennifer Lee said it's yet another reason why she believes Medicaid expansion could be the answer.

Legislation signed by Governor McAuliffe creates what he says is the first state that establishes a trust account for certain people with disabilities.