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$658 million delivered from governor’s Medicaid reimbursement plan as expansion questions remain

Hospitals across the state are getting a welcomed gift to begin the new year.

On Wednesday, executive director Drew Snyder of the Mississippi Division of Medicaid announced on X that $658.2 million in additional payments have been delivered to hospitals through the recently approved Mississippi Hospital Access Program (MHAP).

Tremendous beginning to 2024 for Mississippi hospitals and patients. $658.2 million in additional payments delivered to hospitals through the @MSMedicaid Mississippi Hospital Access Program approved in December.

— Drew Snyder (@SnyGuy) January 10, 2024

Amid several hospitals flirting with closure, Gov. Tate Reeves introduced the plan revolved around “sweeping Medicaid reimbursements” in September. Last month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved the largest component of the nearly $700 million plan.

“This plan is going to strengthen our state’s healthcare system, and I’m glad that we could get it done for the people of Mississippi,” Reeves said following approval from CMS. “This is the product of meetings with a range of medical professionals and healthcare leaders, and I’m truly thankful to all of them for helping to get us to today.”

The MHAP provides direct payments to hospitals serving patients in the Mississippi Medicaid-managed care delivery system. With these direct payments, hospitals are reimbursed at the same rate compensated by private insurance, which has been considered the federal ceiling for Medicaid reimbursements in managed care.

Even with the first of recurring payments now delivered, lawmakers across the state remain at odds over fully expanding Medicaid, something Reeves is vehemently against. Medicaid expansion in Mississippi is estimated to generate around $1 billion annually if the state were willing to put $100 million down to provide health insurance to more low-income residents.

Senator Jeremy England, R-Vancleave, believes the success of the MHAP should be enough to keep hospitals open, citing what he believes needs to be an economic model change across the entire healthcare industry.

“Look, CMS accepting that proposal was huge. That’s going to allow hospitals to get money that they didn’t otherwise have, and we don’t have to expand Medicaid to do that,” England said. “The hospital issue

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