Nebraska hospitals say they’re in dire need of more funding

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Rural Nebraska hospitals say they are facing a financial catastrophe.

Hospitals receive 60% to 80% of their revenue through Medicare and Medicaid. And they say that money is not enough.

At a press conference on Monday, hospital representatives laid out how some programs and services have already been cut due to lack of funding.

One hospital was forced to close its inpatient behavioral health unit because it could not afford it.

And a medical center in Falls City stopped a service it provided to the community for 100 years.

“We stopped our labor and delivery services,” said Ryan Larsen, CEO of Community Medical Center. “And it was a hard one for us. It was hard for the community, but we had to focus on what we can do.”

Jeremy Nordquist, president of the Nebraska Hospital Association, said five to seven rural hospitals are on the brink of closure.

But many more are facing tough choices on which services to keep.

“Pretty much every one of them are saying it is a loss to their bottom line,” he said. “While they know it’s important in the community, they’ve got to preserve some kind of the core of the hospital and the emergency services.”

Reimbursement rates for Medicaid and Medicare are set by the federal and state government.

Nebraska Medicaid rates increased 2% in 2022 and 2023, according to Nordquist.

The hospital association is asking the Legislature to increase reimbursement rates to 9.6% for 2023.

All of this would have to be put in the state budget, but according to the association, Gov. Jim Pillen’s proposed budget does not address the issue.

Categories: Capitol News, Health, Nebraska News, News