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Gov. Scott Stacks Hospital Panel Without a Single Hospital Expert in Overt Snub

| May 11, 2015

Carl Hofer's 'Maskerade' gov. rick scott hospital panel

Carl Hofer’s ‘Maskerade’ (1922).

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday appointed nine people — none of them hospital executives, and only one of whom appears to have significant medical experience — to a commission meant to examine the economics of health care and hospitals in Florida.

The appointments to Scott’s Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding came as industry officials are still digesting the governor’s call to have hospitals share profits like Major League Baseball teams if federal officials decide not to extend a $2.2 billion program that helps pay for the care of uninsured patients.

The nine people named to the panel, which is aimed at making recommendations for a special legislative session scheduled to begin June 1, are Carlos Beruff, president of Medallion homes, who will be the chairman; former SunTrust Bank executive Tom Kuntz; retired Brig. Gen. Chip Diehl; attorney Marili Cancio Johnson; former Gadsden County Commissioner Eugene Lamb Jr.; Jason Rosenburg, a physician and former chairman of the Florida Board of Medicine; Ken Smith, owner of Integrated Beef Consultants; former Destin Mayor Sam Seevers; and Robert Spottswood, president and director of Spottswood Companies, which has interests that include real estate and hospitality.

Scott, a former hospital chief executive officer, put together the commission after lawmakers ended the 2015 legislative session without a budget due to a complicated stalemate over health-care funding.

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department hasn’t ruled on the state’s application to extend the Low Income Pool, or LIP, program beyond a scheduled expiration date of June 30. The program mostly sends money to hospitals and other medical providers that care for large numbers of low-income patients. But the agency said last week that, at first blush, the state’s application “falls short of key principles” that federal officials will consider when weighing the program’s future.

Tony Carvalho, president of the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, said Monday that the members of the commission looked to be “very competent people” despite the lack of health-care executives.

“We are disappointed that there were no hospital CEOs or financial experts on the commission,” he said.

Lawmakers who had asked to serve on the commission were also turned aside by Scott’s decision.

Funding for LIP is part of a complex health-care logjam that has left legislative leaders unable to reach agreement on a spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1. Hoping to encourage federal officials to approve the state’s LIP proposal, the Senate offered a $2.8 billion initiative that would use Medicaid expansion funding to help low-income Floridians purchase private insurance.

But Scott and the House have fiercely opposed the expansion alternative, and the governor has sued the Obama administration in an effort to prevent federal officials from linking the LIP decision to Medicaid expansion.

The naming of the panel came after Scott on Friday proposed revenue sharing among Florida hospitals if LIP is not extended for another year.

“Your assistance in suggesting fair profit sharing to replace federal LIP funds at those institutions that rely on them most, like Shands Jacksonville, will be critical to keeping them up and running,” he wrote in a letter to the president of the Florida Hospital Association. “This would be similar to how large market baseball teams share revenues with small market baseball teams.”

Scott said he wanted the hospitals to submit three models by May 22, so that his Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding could consider them on May 26.

So far, industry groups have been cautious about the governor’s initiative.

“We received the letter and will be issuing a response to Governor Scott this week,” said Monica Corbett, a spokeswoman for the FHA.

The Florida Association of Children’s Hospitals has a conference call scheduled for Wednesday to discuss the suggestion.

Carvalho didn’t foreclose the possibility of some form of revenue sharing, but said the commission first needs to consider how much hospitals already contribute, including the hundreds of millions of dollars they pay in taxes.

“I think people will realize that hospitals are doing enormous amounts already,” he said.

–Brandon Larrabee, News Service of Florida

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7 Responses for “Gov. Scott Stacks Hospital Panel Without a Single Hospital Expert in Overt Snub”

  1. Groot says:

    The complexity of supplemental hospital reimbursement programs defies description in a few sentences. For Scott not to include at least someone from the state hospital association shows appreciable animosity toward the system. In the end, Florida will miss out on federal matching funds because CMS will not approve their state plan. Major hospital systems that have expanded here like the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic will have to raise their rates to cover uncompensated care and may reduce their presence in the state. Going it alone to spread the risk of uncompensated care in the state but not receiving the federal matching funds is fool hardy at best. Simply put, it’s a stupid stunt.

  2. yellowstone says:

    It simply astounds me; and 10s of thousands of other Floridians. How could it be possible that legions of voters can go to the pols (and many others who don’t) and vote for a Governor who has demonstrated he has no vision of who his constituents are!
    The Medicare/Medicaid programs are helping Americans; especially those who have been forcibly retired from the workplace and those who never got ever got there.
    There many, many pointless topics this Governor has spearheaded – none which will ever get him re-elected. But these topics continue to resonate with those who vote for him. Land conservation, school funding, seawater rising, global warming, and the continuing healthcare debate are just a few. There are many other programs that have fallen in this man’s wake.
    All this to attract attention to one party’s political agenda which appears to continue separating the social structure of this country of “one for all, all for one!”. Now it’s “me, mine, and mine!”
    When you begin to look at those that are favored most you begin to see the power struggles. Money, power and politics are the handmaidens – always have been, always will be.
    The people have always had a voice. But that voice is constantly being drownded out by huge financial backers who have huge financial interests in their intended outcomes.
    Citizens need to care. Pay attention to who and why you are voting. Even more important: GO VOTE!

  3. confidential says:

    And the governor became a millionaire if not higher thanks to his Columbia HCA shady practices…and now denies/undermines federal help for the poor again..? Only in Florida this could take place..?

  4. confidential says:

    Justice thru Florida’s twisted justice interpretation for the actions and penalties to R. Scott versus K. Weeks.

  5. YankeeExPat says:

    In all Fairness, Gov. Rick Scott stated….. “He’s No Sciencetist”.

  6. A.S.F. says:

    Scott is enough of a criminal to not care who knows that he is a criminal. He simply depends on the criminally stupid to re-elect him so he can continue to do as much shady business as possible for as long as he can get away with it.

  7. Sherry E says:

    The media reports that our absolute horror of a governor is pulling such stunts because he has his eye on a higher political office. Hopefully our voters will soon see him for what he really is. . . another uncaring, self serving politician who is focused only on his personal accumulation of power and wealth. Rick Scott is NOT serving the real people of Florida, he’s pandering solely to the 1% and to his party’s machine!

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