Healthcare professionals support referendum

Published 9:39 pm Monday, August 20, 2012

Healthcare officials from across the state are rallying support for the Sept. 18 constitutional amendment, including those locally.

Mike Marshall, CEO at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital in Demopolis, is one of many healthcare professionals to support the referendum.

If the referendeum to divert money from Alabama Trust Fund to the General Fund fails, the subsequent cuts in Medicaid would be crippling, Marshall said.

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“We would be looking at a substantial problem,” he said.

Hospitals are preparing for a 17 percent cut in Medicaid reimbursement if the referendum is voted down. That would amount to about a $2.2 million cut at Whitfield.

Given other recent Medicaid cuts, Marshall said the proverbial belt is about has tight as it can get.

“I don’t have a whole lot more places to cut,” he said.

The Keep Alabama Working PACT, a group made up of hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes and other health providers says if the referendum fails 10,783 jobs will be lost statewide, including 11 percent of all jobs in the private healthcare sector.