Urgent Community Meeting Scheduled Regarding Proposed DHHS Reductions
February 13, 2008
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has proposed sweeping reductions of payments to schools, shelter homes, doctors, hospitals, and community service agencies.
A Summary of How Everyone May be Affected:
- Disabled adults and children with special needs may see reduced services.
- Mentally retarded children and adults cared for in homes and those living at home who receive community services may see less support.
- Federal funding for certain services now provided by schools may diminish although the mandated special services will not abate. The result may be that costs are shifted to either the state or to local towns.
- Some not-for-profit community service organizations will see funding cutback that will threaten the safety net of locally provided services.
- Proposed cuts will endanger medical coverage available for all throughout Maine as large cutbacks threaten medical practices supported by hospitals.
For example, DHHS proposes to cut MaineCare payments by medical practices sponsored by hospitals by about $30 million statewide. This impact will have a terrible result throughout Maine where over half of the doctors in the state are now employed by hospitals. The last thing DHHS should do is to cut doctor coverage throughout Maine. There are presently hundreds of physician openings throughout Maine that are presently unfilled. The proposed DHHS cuts would make this bad situation much worse. To put this in a local perspective, Franklin Memorial Hospital employs the vast majority of doctors in this region, more than 85% of all the doctors in the region. The proposed cuts would threaten medical coverage by reducing our medical practice MaineCare payments- which are already 15% below our costs and 5 to 10 years late when DHHS finally gets around to making final payments to us by another $500,000 to $1 million yearly. These proposed cuts should not happen or they will undermine the entire medical system of Maine.
The Commissioners of the Maine Departments of Health and Human Services and Department of Education estimate all cuts statewide may total $200,000,000 yearly. Federal funding to Maine would diminish by two thirds of this amount.
For more information about the proposed cuts you can go to: http://www.maine.gov/education/medicaid/medicaid013108.pps or to http://www.maine.gov/education/medicaid/.
For information about the importance of hospital-based physician practices see the article I wrote a month ago titled Why Are So Many Doctors Today Employed by Hospitals? in the Health Section of The Daily Bulldog.)
All are welcome to this forum. We encourage the public, agency leaders and board members, school leaders and board members, and town officials to attend as the changes have broad implications for all. We also invite reporters and all media representatives. We will are inviting local state legislative representatives to this forum as well as representatives of Senator Susan Collins, Senator Olympia Snowe and Representative Mike Michaud.
For more information about the February 26 forum call Janis Walker at 645-3136, ext. 5100.
President, Franklin Community Health Network
Subscribe to our RSS news feed