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Mississippi Hospital Points To Medicaid Expansion As Reason For Doctor Layoff

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 17 Feb 2014 08:19pm | comments

A Mississippi Hospital says federal cuts and the failure to expand Medicaid in Mississippi have caused them to lay off five doctors. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that leaders in the state legislature do not think the firings mean the state should expand the program.

The Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center in McComb says they had to make the financial decision to fire the doctors because of a combination of cuts and the failure to expand Medicaid.

The hospital's CEO says the exact financial impact of not expanding Medicaid is not clear, but says it played a role in their decision.

House Medicaid Committee chair Bobby Howell, a republican from Kilmichael, says he is skeptical that not expanding the program is really the cause of the lay offs.

"Another story to be told is that insurance companies have cut their provider reimbursement in almost every area. So that has had an effect," Howell said.

State lawmakers are considering giving just over four million dollars to hospitals around the state with the goal of offsetting the impact of reductions from the federal level says Senate Public Health committee chair Dean Kirby of Pearl.

"The DSH payments are being cut very little and what they are being cut we are trying to make up for the difference. So it sounds like they have more problems than just Medicaid expansion," Kirby said.

But Democrats in the capitol say they waned that lay offs could be a consequence of not expanding Medicaid.

Democratic representative Cecil Brown of Jackson says this is just the beginning.

"There is a lot of pressure on hospitals and you are going to see a lot more layoffs. I hope it does put pressure on the people in the state of Mississippi. You are seeing more and more Republican governors and legislature finally realize that this is a bad deal not to accept Medicaid expansion," Brown said.

The hospital's CEO says they will have to review the contracts of all of their roughly 65 doctors.




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