$30 Million In Funding Announced For Erlanger From Public Hospital Pool

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Tuesday that Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga will be added to the Public Hospital Supplemental Payment Pool (PHSP). 

The move means an additional $30 million this year for Erlanger, which handles the bulk of charity care here and is the region's trauma center.

Since he came to the facility new Erlanger President Kevin Spiegel has been seeking to get Erlanger included in the pool, saying he did not understand why it had not been included in the past.

Erlanger recently has taken a number of steps to try to get the budget back in balance, including the unpopular move early last month of freezing paid time off. Mr. Spiegel said that move would be reversed should the hospital be successful in tapping into the federal pool of funds.

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann said, “After months of work, I have been informed that Erlanger will be added to the PHSP and will receive $30 million in funding this year.  This support is crucial for Erlanger to continue their great service as a premier public hospital serving the people of Chattanooga and East Tennessee.

"This decision rights a wrong that had been going on for too many years and I applaud the decision of CMS and the efforts of Senators Corker and Alexander, as well as our entire House delegation, to ensure Erlanger is able to continue their important work throughout our community.” 

The offices of  Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander said the funds came available when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) granted a portion of TennCare’s waiver request that provides Tennessee an additional $80 million for the Essential Access Hospital payments in the absence of Tennessee Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) program funding for this current fiscal year.

The waiver also adds Erlanger to the Public Hospital Supplemental Payment (PHSP) Pool. 

Senator Corker said, “I’m pleased CMS has granted a portion of TennCare’s waiver request, ensuring Tennessee hospitals can continue to provide uninsured and low-income patients with vital health care services. While this partial waiver is only a temporary fix, I remain committed to working with Senator Alexander to find a permanent solution as soon as possible so Tennessee patients, doctors and hospitals are not faced with this uncertainty each year.”

Senator Alexander said, “These dollars help Tennessee’s hospitals provide care for Tennesseans who need help the most. There’s no reason in the world why Tennessee should be the only state without this kind of payment. I’ll continue to work with Senator Corker on a permanent solution.”

The two senators said Tennessee "is the only state in the nation that does not have permanent access to the Medicaid DSH program. In January, the entire Tennessee delegation wrote to Marilyn Tavenner, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, expressing strong support for TennCare’s waiver request, which expired on Sept. 30, 2013.

When TennCare was created through a waiver in 1994, the state agreed to eliminate the Medicaid DSH payment, believing the majority of the uninsured and uninsurable would be covered through the new TennCare. Unfortunately, costs began to escalate quickly and continue to grow, and by 2005, the TennCare coverage experiment ended, it was stated.

Tennessee hospitals provided more than $700 million in unreimbursed TennCare costs last year. In addition to the unreimbursed costs, Tennessee hospitals provided $970 million in charity care and lost an additional $730 million on services provided to Medicare enrollees. This resulted in over $2.4 billion in unreimbursed cost from charity care and government funded health care programs.

In past years, Congress passed legislation that included a partial payment of the Medicaid DSH reimbursement for Tennessee hospitals.

 

 


Chattanooga Police Investigate 1 Robbery, 7 Burglaries April 11-15

The Chattanooga Police Department investigated one robbery and seven burglaries in the period April 11-15. The robbery was at: 300 CHERRY ST 4/12/15 0:01 120 120 ROBBERY 3 37402-   The burglaries were at:   709 Old Dallas Road 4/11/15 17:30 220 220 BURGLARY/BREAKING AND ENTERING 3 37405- 2506 CHAMBERLAIN AVE 4/11/15 13:40 220 220 BURGLARY/BREAKING ... (click for more)

Dallas Bay Home Damaged By Fire Early Saturday Morning

A Dallas Bay home was damaged by fire Saturday morning. The resident, asleep in the living room, awoke to the smell of smoke. At  6:10 a.m. , the homeowner called 911, reporting the fire at 7304 Cline Road. The Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department responded and reported heavy smoke showing at the front of house. Firefighters entered the home to find the bathroom ... (click for more)

Proud Of Hometown Boy Turned Global Leader, Bob Corker

Time Magazine has it right.  Not only is Chattanooga’s own U.S. Senator Bob Corker one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World,” but he is probably now the most prominent leader in the history of our city.   At a time of extreme frustration with Washington and Congress in general, Bob continues to rise above the division and rancor to build consensus and solve ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Celebrate Autism’s Victories

As I was getting my salad during lunch at the sixth annual Chattanooga Autism Conference on Friday, a simple question from a friendly kid on the other side of the buffet gave me the answer I was seeking. “Do you have Asperger’s (syndrome),” he asked in a friendly way. I told him no, but that a growing number of folks I admire did, and that’s why I joined a turn-away crowd of ... (click for more)

Brewer Selected New East Ridge Girls Basketball Coach

(Story has been updated) Blaine Brewer admitted his becoming a head coach at East Ridge, or any other place for that matter, is ahead of schedule. “It certainly has happened quicker than I thought it would,” the 24-year-old Brewer said Friday. “I’m really excited though.” Brewer, who is from Memphis and attended Arlington High School where he played basketball and ... (click for more)

McClendon, Ex-Rhea Assistant, Joins Lyness' Lady Trojans Staff

Cheryl McClendon, an assistant girls’ basketball coach at Rhea County the past eight years, has been hired for a similar job at Soddy-Daisy High School, head coach Drew Lyness said Friday afternoon. McClendon has taught at Soddy-Daisy for the last 13 years and served as one of Rhea County coach Shane Johnston’s assistants for almost a decade. Johnston has resigned at Rhea County ... (click for more)