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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.]

 

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