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NH Hospitals: State budget cuts ’devastating’

New Hampshire Union Leader, June 27, 2011
Hospital administrators say $250 million in state funding cuts over the next two years will be disastrous, with the hospitals in essence paying the state more than they receive for treating Medicaid patients. "It's really a devastating cut for us," said John Schlegelmilch, MD, president of Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene. The hospital is operating at a $900,000 loss so far this year, he said. "If you add on to that a $6 million tax that we don't get back, that shows you how far we will be behind," Schlegelmilch said. Much of the loss from the House-Senate budget passed last week stems from the state's decision not to return to hospitals money they pay in Medicaid enhancement tax (MET). Additionally, $20 million or more results from eliminating state catastrophic payments for the very sick, indirect medical education payments and adjustments to outpatient payments. For Catholic Medical Center, it's a loss of about $12 million a year; for Elliot Hospital, it's about $17 million a year.