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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Gov. Nixon calls on Missouri legislators to end Medicaid inaction

  • Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon cited Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) as a great example of why healthcare is so important to both the quality of life and the quality of the economy across the state of Missouri.
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  • Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon cited Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) as a great  example of why healthcare  is so important to both the quality of life and the quality of the economy across the state of Missouri.
    "Hospitals like this one are lifelines for Missourians who would have to travel miles to get the care they need," Nixon said in  a lobby full of PCRMC doctors, nurses and staff on Thursday morning.
    According to the governor, inaction to expand and reform Medicaid by state legislators is sending tax dollars to neighboring states.
    "Since the first of the year, Missouri taxpayers have spent more than $580 million and counting to provide health care in other state," he said."Where our tax dollars have gone; jobs will follow."
    Under the Affordable Care Act which went into effect on Jan. 1 of this year,  federal payments  to hospitals and healthcare providers are now  reduced. However, states can make up for those cuts by reforming and expanding Medicaid which provides health care to low-income children and families.
    The governor said  that since Missouri has not expanded Medicaid  the state is not receiving this federal money  to reimburse hospitals.
    That is exactly what has happened at PCRMC according to the hospital's Chief Executive Officer John Denbo.
    "With more than 1,700  jobs, we are the largest  employer in Phelps County," Denbo stated. "We serve more than 200,000 residents of south central Missouri. We are a safety net provider for this region. No one is denied services due to their inability to pay."
    In 2013, PCRMC provided more that $35 million in uncompensated care  up from $25 million in 2010.
    "Most of this care came from patients visiting the emergency room, maternity care, psychiatric services and ambulance service," Denbo explained. "With less federal money coming in for uncompensated care, we have had to reduce our workforce by more than 100 full-time employees and put into place  a freeze on wages and new hires."
    With three weeks to go before the end of the legislative session, Nixon mentioned that he is hopeful that an agreement on Medicaid is in sight.
    "We are moving in the  right direction, he said. "Dialog is taking place and bills are beginning to be introduced," he said."Let's keep our representatives moving forward."
    This was the second time in less than a month that Gov. Nixon has visited Rolla. Earlier in the month he spent a morning at Rolla High School congratulating Rolla Public Schools on  academic excellence.
     

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