Medicaid cuts would impact rural births

Better Health & Wellness

LAKIN, Kan. (KSNW) – The current version of the GOP bill would cut Medicaid spending by about 26 percent. About one third of all births in Kansas are funded by Medicaid.

It may be a small facility, but Kearny County Hospital is a birthing hub for southwest Kansas.

“We actually have about 300 births total, and we estimate that we have about 75 to 100 Medicaid births,” said Kody Nelson with Kearny County Hospital. “We have moms that have come over from Dodge City to deliver, so it’s an hour and 15 minutes away. From Ulysses, from Syracuse. We have moms that come from all over.”

Medicaid cuts would hit both the patients and the hospital.

“We’ll make plans to help these people out,” said Nelson, “even if they do get kicked off.”

Those plans could include a payment schedule or, if necessary, the hospital would have to absorb the cost of care.

“Say that bill is $1,000,” said Nelson, “and she can only pay $200, and that’s all we’re going to accept from her, that’s $800 that we would have lost.”

The hospital is owned by Kearny County, so they have limited resources. Every bit of revenue counts as they try to provide care in a rural area, where patients have few options to begin with.

“We do 300 births a year,” said Nelson. “If we had to close that, those 300 moms would have to travel somewhere else, and we don’t want that. We want you to come here in your local areas.”

Because there are many variables, hospital officials are pursuing grant funding to get ahead of any potential Medicaid cuts. The senate has delayed a vote on health care until after the Fourth of July.

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