Coalition of Kansas hospitals pushing for Medicaid expansion

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) — Several health care organizations in Kansas are banding together in an effort to convince state lawmakers to expand Medicaid.

As part of that effort, Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg provided an update on its finances Wednesday, saying it lost about $14 million in both 2013 and 2014 as a result of the state’s decision not to expand Medicaid, the health care program that helps the poor and disabled.

Jeff Korsmo, president and CEO of Via Christi, expects the hospital to see the same loss this year, the Wichita Eagle reported.

Via Christi officials met last week for a monthly meeting on the hospital’s financial and quality performance. The meeting marked the second month of low financial performance for Via Christi after a year of financial shortcomings.

“In the last week or so, we started rolling up our sleeves hard on this,” Korsmo said.

The coalition is pushing Gov. Sam Brownback and the state Legislature to expand Medicaid during next year’s session. It also includes Wesley Healthcare, the University of Kansas Hospital, St. Luke’s Health System, the Kansas Health Foundation and the Kansas Hospital Association.

In addition to increasing access to health care, supporters of Medicaid expansion in Kansas believe it would also strengthen the state’s economy and preserve jobs.

On Nov. 3, the coalition will hold an educational meeting for state lawmakers, where they will hear from Indiana legislators and health care professionals who will talk about how the Republican-controlled state garnered the political support to expand Medicaid.

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” said Cindy Samuelson, spokeswoman for the Kansas Hospital Association. “We can look at what has worked for other states and educate our state about it.”

Kansas is one of 20 states that have refused to expand Medicaid.

 

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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