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Up to $1 billion available to help Kentucky’s hospitals, Beshear says

Kentucky's first COVID case was a woman from Harrison County.
Kentucky's first COVID case was a woman from Harrison County.(WKYT)
Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 3:46 PM EST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Federal funding is available to help Kentucky’s hospitals.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Tuesday that Kentucky hospitals will receive an additional $800 million to $1 billion annually to help advance the quality of care of Medicaid members and provide a stable base for hospitals that will extend beyond the financial challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor said the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) received approval on Jan. 14 from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on a new directed payment initiative that increases inpatient Medicaid payments for Kentucky hospitals.

Pending Kentucky General Assembly legislative approval and federal approval of detailed plans, payments could begin in March.

With over one-third of Kentucky’s population enrolled in Medicaid, the governor said the payments are critical to building a better Kentucky by assuring equal access to quality care in the commonwealth.

“Health care is a basic human right, and our people deserve the highest-quality care possible,” said Gov. Beshear. “Our hospitals and medical professionals are the pillars holding up our communities during this unprecedented time. Our hospitals need additional support to ensure they can continue to meet the needs of Kentuckians and our health care heroes and sheroes deserve our sincere thanks for standing strong on the frontlines helping to save lives.”

CHFS Secretary Eric Friedlander explained that hospitals would cover the increased cost of the program and said House Bill 183 has been filed, which, contingent upon this approval, would provide the flexibility for further protecting smaller, rural hospitals.

In order to receive these funds, hospitals will have to abide by quality standards that will be developed in collaboration with CHFS and the Kentucky Hospital.

The governor’s office says funding is subject to continued federal approval and acknowledgment of this program in the state budget.

There are 112 hospitals in Kentucky, excluding university-affiliated and state mental hospitals, and more than 1.6 million Kentuckians are currently enrolled in Medicaid.

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