The Hospital Safety Net Assessment Program for SFY 2017, which begins July 1, 2016, is expected to be stable and relatively unchanged compared to 2016. WSHA is working closely with Health Care Authority staff to ensure the program continues to work as designed to provide budget savings to the state and funding for Medicaid hospital services. Based on information shared by HCA with WSHA staff, the assessment rates are expected to be fairly comparable to the levels of the SFY 2016 program. Aggregate payments should be generally in line with the original projections for this year. In aggregate, payments may be lower than this year’s final payments, since this year had a boost from unexpected and more favorable federal match rates. Operationally, the program will function as it has for the last few years, with payments to hospitals through a combination of quarterly direct payments from HCA to hospitals, quarterly payments from managed care plans, small rural DSH payments, and access payments. The timing of assessments under the program is calibrated to minimize cash flow issues for hospitals.
As always, the impact by hospital will vary on a yearly basis as assessed days and distribution of payments among hospitals will be based on HCA’s calculations based on more current cost report and claims and encounter data. Once the state finalizes the program, WSHA will provide Hospital CFOs with reports indicating their assessments and estimated program payments for SFY 2017. (Andrew Busz, email@example.com).