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As noted earlier in the report, the financial problems cut across all hospitals with varying degrees of severity. The commission believes that the recommendations outlined in the preceding chapter offer some financial relief in the short term with prospects for significant improvement in the longer term. Also, while hospitals may benefit differently (or not at all) from various pieces of the proposal, the package taken together is a comprehensive plan to put the state's hospitals on more sound financial footing.
All hospitals stand to benefit from a reduction in excess capacity, length of stay and costs, which is the primary focus of the Hospital Asset Transformation Program, the Hospital Transition Group, and work of the post-acute care study group. In addition, affordable health insurance programs, improvements in payment practices and protection from insolvencies of managed care companies will help hospitals deal with the financial pressures of today's health care environment. High Medicaid/charity care hospitals will benefit from changes to Medicaid reimbursement and charity care documentation requirements. Other hospitals will benefit from a supplemental minimum charity care funding plan and advocacy efforts to mitigate the effects of the BBA.
Programs that require new funding (affordable insurance programs, minimum charity care, Hospital Asset Transformation Program, etc) probably cannot be implemented until the next state fiscal year which begins July 1, 2000. Since periodic interim payments do not involve new funding, these might be put in place as early as the second quarter of calendar 2000. Other efforts aimed at reducing cost or restructuring the acute care hospital sector can probably begin earlier but their impact may not be felt immediately.