Hospitals and medical centers in Arkansas continue to benefit from the Affordable Care Act.
Of the 89 hospitals on Arkansas Business’ list of the largest hospitals and medical centers in the state, 14 reported a net loss of $1 million or more while 34 had a net income of $1 million or more.
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Arkansas Business ranks hospitals and medical centers by net patient revenue based on information provided by the hospitals or annual Medicare cost reports, most of which are unaudited.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Center in Little Rock is once again in the No. 1 position with a net patient revenue of $747.6 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30.
Paul Cunningham, executive vice president of the Arkansas Hospital Association, said federal health care law has helped hospitals’ financial health. “We know that had, and continues to have, a dramatic impact on reductions in uncompensated care,” he said.
The Affordable Care Act has survived numerous repeal attempts since then, including one last week.
Arkansas agreed to expand Medicaid, mainly with federal dollars, to households with incomes just above the poverty line — the working poor who earn too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid but too little to afford health insurance.
Hospitals, however, are concerned that changes coming Jan. 1 to Arkansas’ Medicaid expansion program, known as Arkansas Works, will be a blow to their finances.
The modifications call for capping the eligibility at 100 percent of the federal poverty level, down from 138 percent, beginning on New Year’s Day. That means that of the 315,000 people on Arkansas Works, about 60,000 who earn more than $11,880 for an individual or $24,300 for a family of four will be removed from the program.
Cunningham said he doesn’t know what that change to Arkansas Works will mean for uncompensated care at hospitals. He suspects some people moved off of Arkansas Works won’t get insurance, but he’s not sure what the percentage will be.