Rural hospitals gird for unwinding of pandemic Medicaid coverage

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act required states to allow Medicaid recipients to stay enrolled even if their eligibility changed. That ends on April 1 and could hurt rural hospitals.


State News

February 20, 2023 - 1:18 PM

LEONARDTOWN, MARYLAND - APRIL 08: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Nurses in the emergency department of MedStar St. Mary's Hospital don personal protective equipment before entering a patient's room suspected of having coronavirus April 8, 2020 in Leonardtown, Maryland. MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital is located near the greater Washington, DC area in St. Mary’s county, Maryland. The state of Maryland currently has more than 5,500 reported COVID-19 cases and over 120 deaths (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Donald Lloyd, CEO and president of St. Claire HealthCare in Morehead, Kentucky, has spent more than a year dealing with higher costs for food and medical supplies for his regional hospital.

Now he’s trying to prepare for another financial hit — the loss of Medicaid reimbursements for treating people in rural Appalachia.

“We are all being forced to try to eke out a sustainable margin because of those (inflation) factors,” he said. “And then with the potential loss of reimbursement for those who did qualify, that’s just going to add an additional layer of burden upon rural institutions.”

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