Medical trust fund bill advances

A state House committee advanced Senate-passed legislation that would divvy up and protect provider fees paid into the Louisiana Medical Assistance Trust Fund.

The House Appropriations Committee quickly signed off on Senate Bill 76 and shipped it to the Louisiana House floor for debate.

The legislation deals with the “bed taxes” levied by nursing homes and intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled and other assessments paid by pharmacies. The dollars currently flow into the trust fund.

SB76 would require sub-accounts to be set up to separate the dollars put into the fund by each group.

The state Department of Health and Hospitals could then use the dollars to draw down federal funds which could only be used for Medicaid reimbursements to the provider groups contributing to the fund. The dollars could not be used to supplant appropriations below the amount appropriated in the current fiscal year.

Stripped from current law is a provision that allowed some of the dollars to go to home and community based care for the elderly and developmentally disabled.

Joe Donchess, executive director for Louisiana Nursing Home Association, said the legislation would “utilize the fund in the manner it was intended for.”