Kliebert: Deal close on hospital financing

Louisiana health secretary Kathy Kliebert said Wednesday the state and federal officials are close to an agreement on an acceptable financing plan for LSU hospital privatizations.

State officials and key decision-makers at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services discussed the agency’s recent rejection of the deals in a telephone conference call.

“CMS … indicated that we are not far off from reaching an agreement for an acceptable reimbursement methodology,” Kliebert said in a statement after the meeting.

Kliebert said the state will have to submit revised plan amendments “that more clearly show the relationship between reimbursement rates and utilization of services for uninsured and Medicaid patients.”

“We look forward to quickly reaching a resolution with CMS and achieving approval of revised state plan amendments,” she said.

CMS notified the state last Friday that it was rejecting the financing plans indicating a problem with advance lease payments that private entities have paid for use of the hospitals. A CMS letter to the state Medicaid director specifically mentioned $265.8 million in such payments involving New Orleans and Lafayette hospitals. CMS cited private hospitals that paid significantly more than the required annual lease payment. That arrangement is not acceptable under federal regulations, CMS said.

“The primary issue was as we thought — with the advance lease payments,” Kliebert said. “CMS stated that the base lease payments are acceptable.”

If a deal is not worked out, state officials have said the state would have to start repaying $200 million in September 2015.