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More than 500 jobs already lost from NC Gov, General Assembly refusal to expand Medicaid

Medicaid bill sign2 - Version 2Last spring Governor Pat McCrory signed into law a rejection of billions of federal Medicaid dollars available to North Carolina under the Affordable Care Act to expand coverage to 500,000 low-income citizens.  Issues surrounding the morality of rejecting health coverage 100% paid for by the federal government for three years and never less than 90% thereafter have been widely explored. In addition, the fact that NC is giving up 25,000 jobs by turning down these billions, has also been noted. Less visible however are the statewide job cuts among hospitals – especially rural hospitals – that are forming a sort of slow motion disaster caused in large part by McCrory and the NC General Assembly.

I’ve assembled just a few of the recent stories from across the state to illustrate what is going on in our rural communities as a result of NC’s failure to expand coverage.  So far I’ve found eleven hospitals and health clinics across our state that have already announced significant layoffs or even closure of facilities and I only expect this number to grow.  Together there are over 560 layoffs already. All cite as a major reason for their layoffs the decision by Governor McCrory and the General Assembly not to expand Medicaid. [All emphasis added]:

Northern Hospital: 12 jobs cut (Surry County)

Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital: 31 jobs cut (Surry County)

“Hugh Chatham and Northern, like many Triad hospitals, have made significant infrastructure expansions in recent years to prepare for baby boomers needing more services as they enter their retirement years, and for the projected state expansion of Medicaid that was not approved by the General Assembly.” [Read more.]

Randolph Hospital:  35 jobs cut (Randolph County)

“In an interview Friday, Eblin said this workforce reduction is caused in part by the decision in North Carolina not to expand Medicaid and other decisions in Washington, D.C., to cut funding and reimbursements to hospitals. He estimates the impact of the decisions on Randolph Hospital will be $5 million.” [Read more.]

Columbus Regional Hospital:  28 jobs cut (Columbus County)

[Why?]

“• The state’s decision not to expand Medicaid coverage for the uninsured; and

• The state’s recent decision to dramatically cut Medicaid reimbursements. “ [Read more.]

Southeastern Health: 5 jobs cut, pay reductions for 95 nurses (Robeson County)

“State Sen. Michael Walters, who represents Robeson and Columbus counties, said this morning that he is concerned about the financial effect, especially on the state’s rural hospitals, of reductions in Medicare and Medicaid payments. He also said the state “made a big mistake” when it failed to approve Medicaid expansion.”  [Read more.]

“Had the legislature voted differently, Southeastern would have picked up about $3.7 million in reimbursements, Johnson said.” [Read more.]

Mission Hospital: 70 jobs cut (Buncombe County)

As all of you know, we face numerous challenges: healthcare reform, federal sequestration, lack of Medicaid expansion and Medicaid cuts. Hospitals across our state and region have initiated layoffs of hundreds of their employees.  [Read more.]

Vidant Pungo Hospital: Closing, over 100 jobs to be lost  (Beaufort County)

“In 2012 the Supreme Court ruled that state legislatures could opt out of increasing the number of people who are eligible for Medicaid, and North Carolina is one of 22 states that has done so, a decision that resulted in Vidant Pungo Hospital in Belhaven, N.C., closing down, according to hospital officials.” [Read more.]

Halifax Regional Hospital: 13 jobs cut and 2.5% employee pay cuts (Halifax County)

“The impending impact of the Affordable Care Act, as well as the failure of North Carolina leaders to extend Medicaid has led to staff and pay reductions at Halifax Regional.” [Read more.]

Cape Fear Valley Hospital: 118 jobs cut (Cumberland County)

““The North Carolina state legislature’s decision not to expand Medicaid eligibility means we won’t see a significant increase in patients covered by health insurance, which would have helped offset those cuts,” said Benbenek. “And that’s on top of the $18 million in state cuts to Medicaid reimbursements, cuts in federal Medicare payments and federal cuts brought on by sequestration.”” [Read more.]

Cone Health System: 150 jobs cut (Guilford County)

“Cone officials mainly blamed the shortfall on North Carolina lawmakers. Officials expect to lose $15 million through the state’s decision not to expand Medicaid ….” [Read more.]

HealthServe Community Clinic closing (Guilford County)

“Also this year, the state legislature declined to expand Medicaid coverage. Ellerby said many of HealthServe’s patients might have been covered by such an expansion, which would have provided a much needed source of revenue for the clinic.” [Read more.]

 

10 Comments

  1. Alex

    November 28, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Most of these hospitals have probably been hurt more by new Medicare reimbursement regulations under Obamacare. Medicare is probably a much larger percentage of their patient totals especially in the rural areas anyway. All of them have routinely provided indigent care as a part of their non-profit status in the past, and were able to at least break even without any expansion.. Any Medicaid expansion would be so recent that it would not be making any impact this quick given the low level of admissions. Some of the smaller hospitals like Pungo have been struggling to keep the doors open for many years. In some of these areas, the recession has closed the remaining manufacturing plants like in Randolph County reducing the number of covered patients and often reducing the populations of the towns themselves..

  2. LayintheSmakDown

    November 29, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    The good thing however is we are projected to be up about 85,000 jobs in 2013. Net net we are in a better situation. So the long term prospects are looking up, and the Medicaid rejection is looking like a good decision…even more so when the Feds come down with the unfunded mandate for the states to take it all on in the future. Link:

    http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/business/T012-S001-10-states-with-the-biggest-rate-of-job-growth-in-2/

  3. gregflynn

    November 29, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    That article was dated March 2013 and was based on a projection for Dec 2012 data. According to BLS data NC employment has declined since Dec 2012 and has not matched the Kiplinger growth projection.

  4. LayintheSmakDown

    November 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Ok greggy,
    Lets go with 7,900 in September and 22,000 in October….a little late for your own old statistics. That 29,900 is a sight better than 500….which is the original point prior to your little straw man.

    http://www.thedigitalcourier.com/news/x1866993122/North-Carolina-sees-growth-prior-to-holidays

    Also on your page, look how unemployment is crashing down down down….especially when you make the criteria…..Oh maybe since the GOP has taken control of the state. GOOD TIMES for sure!

  5. LayintheSmakDown

    November 30, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Or greggy, how about this. The Federal Reserve admits NC has been booming this year….you know they year of the “oppressive” GOP. Fortunately reality disproves the labels liberal/progressos have been throwing around.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/map-of-state-indicators-2013-11

  6. ML

    December 2, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    The issue for state hospitals start at the state level. First look at the tracks system’s inability to provide reimbursements which is the current and primary cause of pain. Then look at obamacare in other states that have accepted federal funds and you’ll see a different story. Moreover obamacare has yet to be fully implemented and this has had little effect on the hospitals.

    We’ll have to wait and see on both these new systems but at least put the blame where it belongs and leave the conjecture and projections to the experts.

  7. gregflynn

    December 2, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    The were 1,618 fewer people employed in NC in October 2013 than in October 2012. I’d hold off on the victory dance for a little while. http://www.ncesc1.com/pmi/rates/PressReleases/State/NR_Oct_2013_StRate_M.pdf

  8. LayintheSmakDown

    December 3, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Uh greggy, the actual BLS will disagree with you. Up 2.0% year over year.

    http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.nc.htm

  9. LayintheSmakDown

    December 3, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    So…..with that said. Let the dancing begin!!!!

  10. gregflynn

    December 3, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Employed [BLS statistics]
    4,295,771 October 2012
    4,294,153 October 2013
    1,618 fewer employed in October 2013 than in October 2012

    Apparently BLS disagrees with itself.