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Safety Net Executives Renew Call to Preserve DSH Payments

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, December 4, 2013

Jim Nathan

Jim Nathan, CEO at Lee Memorial Health System

In addition to providing access to care for vulnerable and poor people, the safety net executives said Medicaid DSH payments also allow "our hospitals to provide services that are vital to our communities, including top-level trauma care, burn care, and neonatal intensive care. If these crippling cuts are not stopped, our hospitals will be forced to curtail essential services, ultimately limiting access to care and cutting jobs."

Jim Nathan, CEO at Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL, and one of the executives who signed the letter, says DSH payment cuts are just one funding reduction that will hurt the mission of safety net hospitals and other not-for-profit providers.

"It's the accumulation or the cumulative effect of all the cuts coming from every direction and DSH payments are just one of them," Nathan told HealthLeaders Media.

He estimates that Lee Memorial, which operates five hospitals with a total of 1,423 beds, will lose about $50 million a year in various cuts from sources that include DSH reductions and sequester-mandated cuts to Medicare.

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