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Sequestration, Medicare & Michigan hospitals

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan hospitals could be among those hardest hit by automatic federal budget cuts this week.

Under the sequestration, Medicare reimbursements to doctors and hospitals would be cut by two percent.

Laura Appel is the vice president for federal policy and advocacy with the Michigan Health and Hospital Association.  She says sequestration would add up to tens of millions of dollars a year in loss reimbursements to Michigan hospitals. 

“It means it will be one more day that Michigan hospitals are trying to take care of ten million people with a few less dollars.   Or in this case, a lot less dollars,” says Appel.

And Appel says that could force some hospitals to cut back on programs that help keep people out of the hospital.

“Sometimes you have to let go of things that are great ideas and actually save money…because you don’t have the day-to-day operating funds to do those things,” says Appel.

Appel says patient care should not be affected immediately if the sequestration cuts go through.  But she says over time patients may have to wait longer for care, as services and personnel are cut back.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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