Lansing

Michigan hospitals hurting and will hurt more

BY: DAVID REISS

LANSING STAR STAFF WRITER

Sequester vs. Shutdown

The effects of the government shutdown on the hospitals in the mid-Michigan area have so far been minimal to non-existent. However, hospitals in Michigan are still reeling from the sequester cuts that went into effect last January, specifically, the two percent cut in payment for Medicare amenities.

“The shutdown really only lasted 17 days,” said Michigan Hospital Association lobbyist, Chris Mitchell. “Something that remains looming large is the sequestration that started, and that’s a two percent cut to hospitals as far as what they get paid for in Medicare services.”

It’s a problem that affects MHA’s member hospitals.

“The majority of the problems we’ve faced and we’re facing now,” said John Shaski, head of government relations at Sparrow Hospital. “Have to deal with the sequester brought about in January, and the reimbursement of Medicare and Medicaid.”

What’s up next?

For the future, the outlook is bleak. Along with the two percent cut received from the sequester comes an additional two percent cut to Medicare services as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

“When you look at the political dichotomy in Washington D.C.,” said Mitchell. “It’s hard to feel confident that some long term solution that would end sequestration, what with the two percent cut from the sequester piggybacked onto the two percent cut from the Affordable Care Act, if some of these things don’t get straightened out it could potentially be problematic for hospitals.”

Hospitals all over the nation and Michigan alike are struggling to cope with the changes. Patients are also struggling to deal with health-care costs. Recently, Michigan State student Taylor Poland was charged more than $2000 for six stitches on his eyelid.

“The hospital service was great, but I was astonished by the bill,” said Poland. “If I had known they were charging so much I wouldn’t have asked for so much morphine. A blanket cost me $40.”

With fiscal cliffs looming in the near future along with a new round of sequestration cuts in January, hospitals are beginning to feel nervous about what’s in store for them come 2014.

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THIS WAS NOT A SCIENTIFIC SURVEY – TAKEN FROM 20 MICHIGAN STATE STUDENTS

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